(Health Secrets Newsletter) Magnesium is essential for the proper formation and maintenance of bones, maintaining normal muscle function, regulating body temperature, and proper absorption of calcium. It is one of the five most abundant minerals in the human body, and it is required for more than 300 biochemical responses that take place in the body on a daily basis. Medical science is slowly coming to believe that magnesium and other minerals may be instrumental in preventing cognitive disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and bipolar disorder. Research is also showing that magnesium helps prevent Alzheimer’s and mental decline as we age.
How to avoid magnesium deficiency
Magnesium deficiency affects virtually every area of the body. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include headaches, backaches, muscle spasms and cramps, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, PMS, osteoporosis, kidney stones, insomnia, anxiety, depression, tingling and numbness in limbs and extremities, and constipation. Magnesium is a powerful immune modulator, and magnesium deficiency has been linked to immune disorders and deficiencies, and to triggering or worsening the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, fibromyalgia, Reynaud’s and multiple sclerosis.
Without magnesium, calcium cannot be properly absorbed and used by the body, and magnesium/calcium balance is essential for good health. Many instances of magnesium deficiency are simply due to our excessive intake of calcium from the typical Western calcium-rich diet coupled with the low level of magnesium in the soil in which our produce is grown. We are told about the benefits of taking calcium but, sadly, magnesium is very seldom mentioned. Too much calcium can actually be responsible for adverse health conditions. Dairy foods, for example, are rich in calcium and it is easy for dairy eaters to consume too much calcium if they do not balance their diet with foods rich in magnesium.
The premise that bone loss is due to a calcium deficiency has been proven to be incorrect. Too much calcium in the body is actually responsible for an increased risk of osteoporosis as well as kidney stones and heart attacks. For optimal absorption of calcium, the ratio of calcium to magnesium that you should eat or supplement is 2:1.
Our Western diet is woefully lacking in proper nutrition and this includes magnesium. Toxins and additives from food often prevent our bodies from properly absorbing what little magnesium and other nutrients that we do consume – as do other culprits such as alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. Because magnesium is not produced by the body, it is important to eat and supplement wisely to make sure that the body receives the amount it needs.
It is estimated that over 80 percent of the American population is deficient in magnesium. The US minimum RDA for magnesium is 420 mg for adult males and 320 mg for adult females. Clinical nutritionists, however, report mounting evidence that this level is too low and contributes to the list of degenerative diseases caused by a magnesium deficiency. The optimum daily amount they recommend is between 500 to 700 mg a day.
It is important to eat healthy foods, focusing on as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible, because fruits and vegetables is where what little magnesium remains in our food is found. Foods rich in magnesium include spinach, avocado, bananas, almonds, cashews, peanuts, raisins, oatmeal, crude wheat bran, crude wheat germ, black strap molasses, most fish, black-eyed peas, baked potato with skin, yogurt, brown long grained rice, and lentils.
Even with the best of diets, however, mineral depletion in the soil over the last hundred years makes it difficult to get enough magnesium through diet alone. Therefore, it is often important to make sure that the body is getting its required amount of magnesium through supplementation. Two excellent ways to supply your body with magnesium are by using transdermal magnesium oil and Epsom salt baths.
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