It can’t be stressed enough how necessary Magnesium is for a healthy and functioning body. Absence of this important nutrient can result in serious illness and complications. According to a study published in The Journal of Intensive Care Medicine a magnesium deficiency makes you twice as likely to die compared to other people. (1)
Increasing this vital mineral can actually help battle and even cure some diseases. Despite all of this, nearly half of all Americans are deficient in Magnesium completely unaware of it (2).
The Relaxation Mineral
Believe it or not, magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral. Well-known in health circles for it’s ability to combat stress, magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzymes in your brain (3). Not only can the mineral reduce stress, it can also improve sleep by reducing the production of cortisol, the stress hormone.
It’s surprising that considering all of the benefits of Magnesium, it isn’t more discussed or promoted by doctors. In the medical field it’s not uncommon to see Magnesium used, especially on patients in critical condition (4).
Magnesium is a critical element in cardiovascular health, for this reason it is often used on people who have suffered a heart attack or arrhythmia. Magnesium and potassium also help get rid of water retention, making it a natural diuretic in higher doses, and is often used when preparing for a colonoscopy.
That being said, you don’t need to be hospitalized or in an extreme case of emergency to reap the benefits of magnesium. You simply need to start incorporating more magnesium into your daily diet.
Are You Deficient in Magnesium?
Magnesium has earned it’s name as the “ relaxation mineral ” and for good reasons. Achiness, irritability and cramps are all symptoms of magnesium deficiency (5).
Magnesium is involved in a wide variety of systems, including cardiovascular, neural, muscular, bone and hormone health. With it’s primary job being monitoring the flow of calcium to the cell, you really can’t have healthy cells without it (6).
Stress comes into play when the body undergoes rapid change due to anxiety. Each cell in the body responds differently to this change and needs the right kind of hormonal and chemical balance to handle it (7).
Unfortunately the foods high in magnesium, such as seaweed, nuts, greens, and beans, are not commonly eaten in an American diet.
If you think you may be suffering from magnesium deficiency, be aware of the following symptoms:
- Behavioral disturbances
- Increase intracellular calcium
- Calcium Deficiency
- Potassium Deficiency
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Growth retardation or “failure to thrive” (among children)
- Involuntary eye movements and vertigo
- Difficulty swallowing
- Muscle Spasm
- Muscle Cramps
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Anorexia or loss of appetite
- Impaired memory and cognitive function
Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to inflammation, which is considered to be the root cause of many diseases. One study found that “inflammatory indicators in the body such as CRP (C-reactive protein), TNF (tumor necrosis factor alpha), and IL6 (interleukin 6) were all reduced when magnesium intake was increased.” Inflammation that was found within the artery walls was also reduced with magnesium (8).
Here are some tips on how to stop draining your body of Magnesium (10).
- Limit your intake of caffeine, salt, alcohol and sugar.
- Take up relaxing practices such as meditation, journaling, and deep breathing to reduce stress.
- Avoid eating junk food and increase your intake of whole foods.
- Soak up in epsom salt baths.
Making these lifestyle changes isn’t going to be easy but it’s definitely worth it!