There are many articles floating around talking about the need and benefits of why our body needs magnesium. Truth be told most of the patient’s I see are magnesium deficient and just connect the symptoms to other health issues.
Along with calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and chloride, ,magnesium is one of the 6 essential minerals required by our body in significant quantities. It is involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions in the body. and we need magnesium for healthy bone formation, our muscular activity, our nerve transmission, our energy production, and even blood pressure regulation (how many folks are dealing with high blood pressure issues today?) .
It also plays a super important role in blood sugar balance, as well as the metabolism of any carbohydrates, fats and proteins we happen to eat. Low magnesium status is directly associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome, called type 2 diabetes, and connected to cardiovascular disease too.
The functions of magnesium are so diverse that nearly every body system depends on it to operate and yet, it is not monitored as frequently as other minerals. Blood levels of magnesium are typically measured only when someone displays symptoms of magnesium deficiency, or when a malabsorptive disorder is suspect.
The fact really is that most Americans do not consume near enough magnesium from the foods eaten. Coupled with the American standard dietary choices which are high in refined sugar and saturated fats, which yield very little magnesium. Therefore, a magnesium test should be considered for a comprehensive metabolic assessment. Normal ranges for serum blood magnesium, which is measured in milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L), are:
- Adults Normal range: 1.8 to 2.6 mEq/L
- child (2-18) Normal range: 1.7 to 2.1 mEq/L
- infants Normal range: 1.5 to 2.2 mEq/L
Although these are the ranges that are accepted as normal, serum magnesium is NOT reflective of total body stores. So that means you may test in normal range for serum magnesium but still show signs of functional deficiency. According to some experts, by the time your serum magnesium hits the low or mid-low range, your body already has a significant cellular magnesium deficiency. The reason for this is that your bloodstream needs magnesium in order to buffer its Ph. If the magnesium supply in the blood is low, the body must “steal” from the bones and tissues is order to keep the bloods buffer system intact. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.
What causes High Magnesium?
In most cases, high levels in the blood are caused by underlying kidney issues or excessive consumption of the mineral through supplements or magnesium containing laxatives. More specifically, high magnesium can be due to:
- Adrenal disorders like Addison’s disease
- Electrolyte imbalance caused by chemotherapy
- kidney failure
- overuse of medications like antacids, thyroid meds, lithium, and certain antibiotics.
What are the symptoms of high magnesium?
Most common symptom associated is diarrhea, especially when the cause is excessive intake through supplements. Other signs of hypermagnesemia include confusion, muscle weakness and reduced reflex response.
What are some lifestyle changes that can help?
- Cut out simple carbohydrates like refined sugars and grains to balance your blood sugar and insulin levels.
- drink approx. 2 to 3 liters of filtered water daily.
- eat foods that promote kidney detoxification, such as artichokes, asparagus, melons, and parsley
- increase your intake of foods that contain calcium, which is the main mineral that interact with magnesium and blocks its absorption in the body.
So moving on… What causes LOW magnesium?
- chronic stress, especially when it is due to surgery or physical injury especially severe burns.
- diabetes or insulin resistance
- diet high in sugar and saturated fats
- excessive alcohol consumption
- excessive sweating or urination
- gastrointestinal disorders, like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease
- high calcium levels
- high intake of coffee, tea or carbonated drinks
- kidney disease
- low dietary intake
- prolonged diarrhea
- uncontrolled diabetes
- the use of corticosteroids, loop and thiazide diuretics, estrogen replacement therapy, oral contraceptives ad tetracycline antibiotics
- weight gain
Also as we age, or are recovering from illness, and even alcohol addiction raise your risk of magnesium depletion. Lower levels are also seen in pregnant women and folks who exercise regularly. In fact, folks who exercise all or most days need about 20% more then those who are sedentary.
What are symptoms of low magnesium?
- muscular and neurological symptoms like:
- muscle spasms
- restless leg
- weakness of muscles.
- irregular heartbeat
- loss of appetite
- vomitting can also be signs of magnesium deficiency.
In addition, folks with low levels may experience anxiety, depression, decreased cognitive abilities, bone loss, insomnia, constipation, blood sugar disorders, high blood pressure and kidney stones.
Not all magnesium supplements are created equal. You want to choose one that is bioavailable, has the greatest solubility and absorption, and will be well tolerated by your body.
But typically 250-500 mg. twice a day is sufficient for most folks. Use magnesium asparatate, glycinate (my favorite) or amino acid chelate. Supporting bone building one should balance magnesium with calcium by a 2 to 1.
My favorite Calcium brand that work well with my patients:
Magnesium Complex: (click link):
Contributes to energy production
Promotes musculoskeletal health
How It Works:
Magnesium is an essential mineral. It is present in more than 300 enzymatic systems where it is crucial for energy production and other metabolic functions. The heart, brain and kidneys cannot function without adequate levels of this nutrient. Magnesium is used in reaction to form Tri Carboxylic Acid (TCA), which aids in the cells’ energy-producing cycle. It is also involved in smooth muscle contractions, affecting the heart, gastrointestinal, urinary and female reproductive tracts.
Magnesium citrate and magnesium malate.
Take 2 capsules twice daily with meals.
Provides nutrients that support the structural system.
Vital nutrients for bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and skin.
May offer benefits to the circulatory system.
How It Works:
Calcium and magnesium depend on each other for proper assimilation in the body. Calcium is essential to the health of bones, teeth and muscles, and it plays an essential role in blood clotting, nerve conduction and many cellular functions. Magnesium is an integral part of more than 300 enzymes in the body and, with calcium, affects nerve and muscle functions.
100 IU Vitamin D3, 400 mg calcium, 250 mg phosphorus, 200 mg magnesium, 7.5 mg zinc, 1 mg copper, plus boron, broccoli flower, cabbage leaf, carrot root, red beet root, rosemary leaf, tomato fruit, turmeric root, grapefruit bioflavonoid, hesperidin and orange bioflavonoid.
Take 2 tablets with a meal twice daily.
Many want to reach for Magnesium Citrate and IF you struggle with inflammatory issues, you may find the citrate version gives much bowel distress.
Also, might I recommend if you have a headache try taking some magnesium before over the counter pain relievers, the headache may be caused from low magnesium, also if you have trouble sleeping also try adding 2 Magnesium capsules about 1 hour prior to wanting to go to sleep. Magnesium helps to relax the body.
- Eat foods low in calcium, which interfere with proper magnesium absorption. So asparagus, beets, cantaloupe, chicken, cottage cheese, eggplant, grapes, pineapple and strawberries, are great choices.
- consume green veggies, like chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens. Pumpkin seeds are the single richest source of magnesium. Other good food sources include halibut, salmon, celery and bell peppers.
- Reach for organic, free range meats as they lack chemical additives, hormones, and antibiotics. Legumes like beans are also a good source.
- limit or cut out soft drinks, especially dark colored soft drinks. The high levels of phosphates (phosphoric acid), which inhibit absorption of essential minerals. It’s also a great idea to reduce caffeine.
- reduce stress as cortisol which is the stress hormone increases the excretion of magnesium from the body adding to lower levels.
- If you don’t exercise think about starting…exercise prevents bone loss which decreases your need for calcium supplements.
- Homocysteine, CRP, vitamin D, and magnesium are not typically included in traditional blood panels, they are of equal value when it comes to assessing a total health pictures. Homocysteine and CRP can provide a more accurate picture of your cardiovascular risk, as well as indicate the presence of more generalized conditions, these blood tests can play a key role in the prevention and proper diagnosis of common conditions ranging from blood sugar imbalance to osteoporosis.
If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with me you can go to http://www.jodibarnett758.com and click on services. These consults can be in office or as a phone consultation, ( I have patients all over the United States).
As always thank you for taking the time to read my blog!
Dr. Jodi Barnett N.D.
Harvested Health LLC
P.S. Be sure to check out my products/supplement website as well.
www.harvestedhealth.mynsp.com (high quality affordable herbs/supplements)