According to Dr Carolyn Dean MD, ND and bestselling author, 80% of North Americans are magnesium deficient and have an unhealthy balance of 10 calcium to 1 magnesium in our roughly 70 trillion cells.
This imbalance has dramatically affected our health, leading to the rise of chronic diseases.
CONDITIONS LINKED TO MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Hardening and narrowing of the arteries
- Fatigue/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Kidney stones/gall stones
- Blood clots
- Bowel disease
- Restless legs
- Nerve problems
- PMS, Menstrual cramps
- Hormonal imbalance
- And more
Balancing mineral intake can treat or relieve many of these conditions.
WHAT CAUSES THIS IMBALANCE?
Much of it comes down to the standard North American diet:
- All dairy contains a ratio of 10 calcium to 1 magnesium
- All animal protein contains 5 calcium to 1 magnesium
- Most processed foods are fortified with calcium and little or no magnesium
Foods such as leafy greens and unrefined nuts, grains and seeds are good sources of magnesium, but today, contain less magnesium than ever before. Industrial farming leeches magnesium from the soil. Even with a healthy diet, it’s difficult to get a balance of magnesium and calcium in our diets.
Consistency is key, too. Magnesium is water-soluble and depleted from the body every 12 hours. To stay healthy, we need a steady source in our diets, or via supplements.
Beyond diet, many lifestyle factors lead to a magnesium-calcium imbalance. The following all deplete magnesium:
- Processed foods
- Too much calcium
WHY IS THIS IMBALANCE SO DANGEROUS?
It really comes down to the opposite functions of calcium and magnesium. These essential minerals are like two sides of a coin.
- Tenses and excites muscles and nerves
- Helps to build strong bones, but only when in balance
- Thickens blood
- Builds up in the body and causes calcification
- Relaxes and calms muscles and nerves
- Activates Vitamin D and Vitamin K to help absorb calcium
- Makes bones more flexible
- Acts as a natural laxative
- Thins the blood
HOW DO YOU DETERMINE IF YOU ARE MAGNESIUM DEFICIENT?
Only 1% of total body magnesium is found in the blood. The remainder is found in the bones and inside the cells of the muscles, heart and liver. That’s why a standard blood serum test will not accurately identify a magnesium deficiency.
What are some tests we recommend?
People should specifically request a Red Blood Cell or Ionic magnesium blood test. These are typically paid for by the patient or via your benefits. Many naturopathic doctors will perform a hair or saliva analysis to determine magnesium deficiency, but Dr. Dean suggests we first look at symptoms.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY:
- Do you have problems with stress, irritability, tension, eye twitches, anxiety or panic attacks?
- Are you having trouble sleeping?
- Are you experiencing muscle cramps, poor muscle recovery, restless legs syndrome?
- Are you having irregular heart beats or racing heart?
- Do you have constipation or IBS?
WHAT IS THE RDA FOR MAGNESIUM?
Dr. Dean advises that adults aim for 3-4 mg per kg of body weight. Children and pregnant women need 4-5 mg/kg of body weight.