Our bodies need a wide range of nutrients to function optimally. Science and research is only just starting to scratch the surface in terms of how individual nutrients affect our health, both mentally as well as physically.
As I talk about in my book “Unhooked: A Holistic Approach to Ending Your Struggle with Food“, in today’s marketing-focused reality, it’s easy to get caught up in single nutrients. Marketers use single nutrients all the time to sell products with statements like: “High in Calcium!” and “Great Source of Omega 3’s!”
I normally don’t recommend staying focused on individual nutrients. I prefer to take a broader perspective because nothing can really be considered in isolation. No nutrient is a miracle on it’s own—it’s how it operates and functions with the millions of other processes in the body.
That being said the research coming out about specific nutrients is nothing short of amazing. There are direct correlations being made between different mental and physical disorders and nutritional deficiencies. Considering the way the average American diet has been heading over the last several decades, nutritional deficiencies have become more and more commonplace and one very overlooked nutrient is magnesium.
As of late, there’s more buzz around the importance of magnesium and for good reason. According to the USDA, about one third of the population gets less than 65% of the recommended daily intake of this essential mineral and surveys in the US consistently show that most people aren’t getting enough.
Considering all the incredibly important functions that magnesium has, this is quite alarming news.
Here are 8 ways that topping up on Magnesium can Literally Change Your Life
1. Feeling Low on Energy? Magnesium Can Help Boost Your Energy Levels
Feeling tired, cranky and generally low in energy? Feeling chronic fatigue could be one of the first signs that you’re low in magnesium. Magnesium is a very important mineral when it comes to energy. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions, many of them related to the production of energy.
Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar, think instead about reaching for magnesium-rich foods, like dark leafy greens, avocados and bananas.
As I mentioned, nothing can be looked at in isolation —this is what it means to take a holistic approach to health and wellness. So if you’re experiencing chronic fatigue and you’re tired all the time, being deficient in magnesium is a possibility but it could also mean you’re over-worked, exhausted and in need of a vacation!
2. Having Trouble Sleeping? Magnesium Can Help Improve Your Sleep
Magnesium plays an essential role in helping you to sleep well at night. One of the key hormones that helps regulate sleep is called melatonin and this hormone is disrupted when magnesium is deficient. Supplementing with specific kinds of magnesium qualifies as one of my Top 5 All-Natural Sleep Aids worth looking into. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, also be sure to check out my article on the Top 7 Natural Ways to Improve Quality of Sleep and Have More Energy.
3. Feeling Anxious? Magnesium Can Help You Relax
Dr. Mark Hyman calls magnesium the most powerful relaxation mineral available. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant which helps in the sleeping process as well. If you’re feeling anxiety, it’s also worth looking at how you’re coping with and managing stress.
4. Feeling Constipated? Magnesium Can Help
Magnesium was originally used as a laxative and is still found in many commercially produced laxatives. Constipation is usually a symptom of a processed diet devoid of water and fiber. If you’re experiencing constipation, magnesium can help but it’s also worth looking at the underlying cause and trying to remedy the core underlying issue.
5. Feeling Stiff and Sore? Magnesium Can Help You Restore Flexibility
It’s no fun to feel sore and stiff in your body. That’s one of the reasons why regular yoga practice comes so highly recommended. Magnesium can also play a role in helping you to gain greater flexibility. When you’re deficient in magnesium, this can result in a buildup of lactic acid which directly contributes to feeling tight and sore in your muscles. If you’re feeling constant soreness, especially in combination with some of the other symptoms mentioned, it could be worth consulting a holistic doctor and looking into your magnesium levels.
6. Feeling Down in the Dumps? Magnesium Can Help Relieve Depression
Low magnesium levels have been shown to influence and reduce serotonin levels. Interestingly, some studies have shown that taking magnesium supplementation (consult your doctor first!) have helped relieve symptoms of depression.
7. Struggling with PMS? Magnesium Can Help Ease Cramps and More…
Studies have shown that there is indeed a link between premenstrual syndrome and magnesium deficiency. Magnesium levels of people with PMS tend to be significantly lower than in the “normal” population. One of the ways that magnesium can help is due to it’s ability to promote muscle relaxation, which can help ease cramping. One study found (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208934/) that supplementing magnesium with B6 offered the best results.
8. Feeling Fragile? Magnesium Can Help Maintain Strong Bones
About 65% of magnesium in the body is stored in the bones and teeth. Similar to calcium, magnesium is stored as a “back up reserve” in the bones in case blood levels get low –it acts sort of like an emergency fund in times of need. That’s why we need a daily supply of magnesium so that blood levels stay topped up and never need to draw upon magnesium levels in the bones. Over time, if magnesium stores are depleted in the bones, it can cause bone weakness and even osteoporosis.
The other part of the problem is that there’s been so much “hype” around calcium that all sorts of people excessively supplement with calcium, causing a major disruption in the ratio of magnesium to calcium. Because they act synergistically, increasing intake of calcium without increasing intake of magnesium along side it can actually cause a greater loss in magnesium.
Can you imagine how the quality of your life might be improved if you no longer struggled with any of these ongoing unpleasant symptoms from low energy to anxiety to PMS?
Some of the other symptoms that may occur as a result of magnesium deficiency include, irritability, heart palpitations, hypertension, insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, IBS, diabetes, kidney stones, asthma, muscle weakness —so it’s definitely worth looking into your magnesium levels, especially if you’re consistently experience one ore more of these symptoms.
I highly recommend starting off by trying to up your intake of foods rich in magnesium, especially including dark leafy greens into your diet on a daily basis.
Be sure to check with your health practitioner before taking any supplements. If you are considering taking a supplement, I recommend magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate as they are better absorbed by the body.
Try to keep a holistic approach in mind and use supplementation as a secondary resort, working with whole foods as a first measure.
Be happy, be well!
Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii!