Could it really be that as much as 75% of the population is magnesium deficient? An American study suggests that’s the case… And just about everyone we know shows some of the signs below! Anecdotal evidence, of course, but it might be that you’re magnesium deficient to some degree if you have:
Poor heart health
Headaches and migraines
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Excessive tiredness or fatigue
Increased sensitivity to pain
Symptoms aside, how much does magnesium matter? Magnesium is the mineral that produces & transports energy in your body, relaxes muscles, facilitates chemical reactions, synthesizes proteins, and transmits nerve signals… Staggeringly, it’s vital to over 300 physiological functions and plays a huge part in everything from heart, lung and digestive operations to pain tolerance and feelings of contentedness!
So what causes magnesium deficiency? One of magnesium’s roles is to help your body combat stress. So anything that causes you to produce adrenaline depletes your reserves… For that reason, many of bad health’s usual suspects turn up on the list of ‘magnesium drains’. This list includes excessive caffeine intake, psychological stress, low blood sugar, poor diet, skipping meals and excessive alcohol consumption; here are some other causes…
Some medical drugs
High sodium diet
Cola and most fizzy drinks
Too much exercise
A high carbohydrate diet
Anything else? Yes – Popeye’s pipe suggests that even his magnesium levels could have been better! If you smoke, you probably don’t need a lecture from us about the downsides of that… Suffice to say – on top of everything else – it depletes magnesium!
Can I do a blood test to see if I’m deficient? Sadly, no! Your blood uses a small but critical amount of your body’s magnesium… In fact, if there were no magnesium in your blood, you’d not be in a position to read this email! For that reason, your body treats your blood like a preferential customer. Even if “stocks are low”, your blood is given a consistent supply, and shows about the same amount of magnesium every time!
Will a magnesium deficiency sort itself out? Almost certainly not. While the body continually absorbs, stores and uses magnesium, it cannot physically produce any. In other words, if you’re a little deficient now and aren’t getting enough, it can only get worse.
So what can I do? There are four easy ways to increase your magnesium intake: tablets, liquid supplements, transdermal solutions and better diet! Just before we look at these options, though, one question that needs addressing is…
Can I take too much magnesium? The recommended daily amount for males and females age over 31 is 420mg & 320mg respectively! Unless you have kidney trouble, your body gets rid of what it doesn’t need through the colon. For that reason, one pretty reliable sign that you’re getting too much magnesium is having diarrhoea or very loose stools. The best bet is to increase your magnesium intake gradually; if diarrhoea develops, cut back.
Visit any online or high street health food store and you’ll find magnesium supplements on sale. Very often, this mineral is combined with calcium, but unless you know you’re deficient there, too, our advice would be to just get the magnesium! The relationship between the two is complicated, but if you’re not deficient in calcium, taking too much can result in heart and bone issues! In any case, it’s always wise to consult a health professional before starting a supplementation program.
Some surprisingly pleasant tasting liquid supplements are now available! These are often made from fruits & vegetables and, as it happens, your body absorbs the magnesium in these liquids more easily than it absorbs the magnesium in pills.
The word ‘transdermal’ sounds like some sort of science-fiction nonsense, but it’s just a posh way of saying “through the skin”. There are a number of transdermal sprays and soaks available! In fact, because of the way the body processes magnesium, we rather prefer these to oral supplements. Some find they get a mild irritation on the skin when using a spray, but this soon passes. Meanwhile, the bath salts have the extra benefit of making your skin feel smooth! A couple of us here at ‘Back in Shape’ also report sleeping incredibly well after a hot magnesium bath.
For those that feel a balanced diet is the only way to go, there are plenty of foods – other than the dark chocolate we wrote about last month – that are magnesium rich. Here’s a list of some of the big hitters! Remember that with something like spinach, you’ll eat more if it’s been boiled! Boiling spinach and the like in no way diminishes the magnesium content.
Peanuts roasted or salted
Whole grain brown rice
Whole meal bread
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach collard greens and parsley
So there you have it! As always, we’re on hand to give you more advice on Pilates and Yoga! You can drop us a line via the usual addresses and numbers: email@example.com and 020 7730 8437. See you soon!