Minerals, just like vitamins, are essential to good health. They help build tissues and bones, transport and regulate our hormones, allow us to fight off infections and strengthen our immune systems. When we have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, it plays havoc with our bodies and our health.
The master mineral Magnesium is no exception – and, sadly, a LOT of people are deficient, without even knowing it.
What does Magnesium do?
Every tissue and organ in our body, including our heart, kidneys, pancreas and muscles need magnesium. It aids in the production of energy, contributes to the formation of our teeth and bones, helps activate essential enzymes, regulates the levels of insulin, calcium and other essential nutrients, such as Zinc, Copper, Potassium and Vitamin D, and much more.
Despite eating foods high in Magnesium, such as nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables, it is difficult to get enough Magnesium from dietary sources alone. Even if you do get enough from your diet, many things can deplete your body of this vital mineral – such as stress, menstrual periods, excessive use of coffee, salt, alcohol, soda, diarrhoea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis and kidney disease.
What are the signs of Magnesium deficiency?
A magnesium deficiency can present itself with various symptoms, such as:
- Depression – A study by the George Eby Research Institute reported that Magnesium deficiency can cause neurological dysfunction and “neuronal injury” in the brain, which can lead to depression. Studies from as early as 1921 support this conclusion. A more recent clinical trial, conducted in 2008, proved that Magnesium was as effective as antidepressants in treating diabetic patients with depression, without any of the harsh side effects of drug treatments.
- Restless leg syndrome – Restless leg syndrome has only recently been recognized by the medical community, but those who suffer from it know how real it actually is. The condition causes a feeling of jitteriness and muscle tension in the legs, and sometimes the arms as well. The feeling is usually described as a constant, irresistible need to move the affected limb. Since the symptoms are usually worse at night, it can make sleep nearly impossible.
- Abnormal heart rhythms – Also known as palpitations, or arrhythmia, abnormal heart rhythms are often experienced as a “flip flop” sensation in the chest or a feeling of the heart skipping a beat. Often unnoticed, it can also be a frightening sensation that may last for just a few seconds or for a minute or more. According to an article published by the University of Maryland Medical Center, women with the highest level of dietary Magnesium had the lowest risk of cardiac death. Men with an increased Magnesium intake had a lower incidence of coronary heart disease. In fact, intravenous magnesium is used in hospitals to reduce the chances of cardiac arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation.
- Muscle spasms – A deficiency in magnesium can cause muscles anywhere in the body to spasm when under tension — as when reaching for something, standing, or even sneezing. Ironically, the muscles can also spasm when they have been at rest. This can cause sufferers to have frightening muscle spasms in the middle of the night, which can often only be relieved by standing or walking.
- Migraine headaches – An article, “Headache, Migraine – In-Depth Report,” posted by The New York Times, cites Magnesium supplementation as a non-drug treatment for migraines. Some studies, the article states, have shown a link between a Magnesium deficiency and an increased risk for migraines, especially with patients who have migraines associated with their menstrual cycle. Magnesium is also known to relax blood vessels, and many headaches are caused by muscle contraction and uneven blood flow. Anything that helps address these problems is likely to help with migraines, and various other types of headaches.
- Insulin Resistance – Magnesium and insulin need each other. Without Magnesium, our pancreas cannot secrete enough insulin, or the insulin it secretes will not be efficient enough to control our blood sugar.
Checking your Magnesium level in serum is useless, it MUST be checked in red blood cells or through tissue analysis. If your doctor cannot perform these tests and you are experiencing any of above symptoms, you may want to supplement.
The best way of supplementing Magnesium is topically with Magnesium oil in the armpits and on foot soles, and through daily hot baths with Magnesium chloride flakes (to which I love to add essential oils, such as peppermint, sage, lavender or frankincense for a true home-spa experience).
I also often recommend adding Magnesium chloride or hydroxide to drinking water.
In any case, make sure you have enough!
Much Love, Light & Healing,