THE MIRACLE MINERAL: MAGNESIUM
Updated: Feb 2
It turns out that this mineral is critical to our health -- so let's talk about it.
Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals in the human body, connected with brain biochemistry and the fluidity of neuronal membrane. According to the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, a deficiency in this mineral makes one twice as likely to die as other people. Yikes!
If you are getting your body's need of magnesium in -- you are helping your body to fight many symptoms and disease states!
Magnesium deficiency is a principle driver in cardiovascular disease and is known as a public health crisis. Wow! One study showed that 75% of women consumed less than the RDA (300 mg/day) and only one out of the eighteen women were in equilibrium. We know the average intake of magnesium in the USA is roughly 230 mg/day in women and 270 mg/day in men, a large percentage of Americans may be at risk of negative magnesium balance.
It is suspected that at least 50% and up to 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient -- if not more.
This is important, since magnesium is a critical relaxation mineral, and it can even help you improve your sleep -- which is also critical to health!
Experts explain magnesium as a relaxation mineral -- meaning that whether a body part or even your mood is crampy or irritable or stiff -- it could be due to a magnesium deficiency!
Magnesium is ESSENTIAL for over 300 enzyme reactions in your body and can be found in each of your tissues. It is especially important in bones, muscles and your brain. We need magnesium in our cells -- to make energy and to help our muscles relax! These reactions include protein production, cardiac excitability, synthesis of nucleic acids, blood pressure dynamics, sleep regulation, brain cell activity and much, much more.
The reason that so many of us are deficient in this is due to the American diet that contains practically no magnesium — a very processed diet of mostly meat, dairy and white flour.
So how can we use food as medicine and get in this miracle mineral? YES.
Pumpkin seeds are a particularly good source, with 150 mg in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving. This amounts to a whopping 37% of the RDI. I put pumpkin seeds on salads, smoothies, soup and in my granola -- so easy to stock up on these guys!
A 1-cup serving of cooked black beans contains an impressive 120 mg of magnesium, which is 30% of the RDI. And a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of cashews contains 82 mg of magnesium, or 20% of the RDI. A lot of these foods are so easy to incorporate into your daily diet and rhythms of life.
What does magnesium support?
Magnesium balance supports: muscle cramps or twitches, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, autism, ADD, palpitations, angina, constipation, headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue, asthma, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, PMS cramps, irritable bladder, irritable bowels, reflux, and on and on. One major area of health that magnesium supports is mood -- aka depression.
A variety of neuromuscular and psychiatric symptoms, including different types of depression, was observed in magnesium deficiency.
Sixty percent of cases of clinical depression are considered to be treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Magnesium-deficiency causes N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) coupled calcium channels to be biased towards opening, causing neuronal injury and neurological dysfunction, which may appear to humans as major depression.
Oral administration of magnesium to animals led to anti-depressant-like effects that were comparable to those of strong anti-depressant drugs.
The RDA (the minimum amount needed) for magnesium is roughly 300 mg a day. Most benefit from 400 to 1,000 mg a day. The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate. I would recommend you avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. These are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest, most common in supplements -- ugh). Most minerals are best taken with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula. Once we find our fav magnesium supplement -- I'll let you know!
We also take hot baths with epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) -- this is a fantastic way to absorb magnesium.
Of note: People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor’s supervision. As always, this is not personalized medical advice.
Are you up for making sure you are getting enough of this miracle mineral? We eat a lot of these foods high in magnesium, but will also be getting our blood tested this year to understand if we need supplements to get us back on track. I like to start with food if possible, and then move to supplements, as needed! What do you think?
Did you know magnesium was a miracle mineral?
Thanks for being here -- join me over on Instagram and comment over there if you have any favorite magnesium rich foods!