What’s so great about Magnesium?
If you’re at all into natural treatments then you undoubtedly have heard about Magnesium. It has been discussed numerous times on shows like Dr. Oz and is pushed big time by natural health doctors like Dr. Hyman and Dr. Mercola. You may be asking yourself is it really worth all of the hype?
Well, I can say that I am officially ON the Magnesium band wagon. And I’m going to tell you why, but first let me tell you a little more about Magnesium.
What exactly is Magnesium?
It is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body. Since it is so abundant in the body you can imagine that it would be pretty important to our overall health and you would be right. It is a cofactor in over 300 reactions in the body. Not only that but we have now identified over 3500 different magnesium binding sites throughout the body including in the brain, gut, heart, and kidneys. Magnesium is critical for:
- Proper muscle contraction and nerve conduction
- Creating ATP (the primary fuel used by the body)
- Production of DNA (as a building block)
Why is Magnesium deficiency so prevalent?
It is estimated that nearly 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium. This is happening for a number of reasons. Our food supply is lacking in Magnesium. It is estimated that the healthy sources of magnesium, such as green vegetables, contain less than half the amount of Magnesium that they did 100 years ago. Eating highly processed foods also greatly decrease our Magnesium levels. For example, for every molecule of sugar we consume, our bodies use 54 molecules of Magnesium to process it. Stress also depletes our Magnesium stores. So, it is no wonder that we are running on fumes when it comes to Magnesium levels.
What happens when one becomes Magnesium deficient?
Multiple symptoms develop when someone becomes Magnesium deficient. Sometimes they are subtle and sometimes when deficiency is severe they become more extreme. Symptoms include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle pain
- Muscle cramps
Why aren’t more doctors recommending Magnesium?
That is a good question because they should. With so many people being deficient and the wide array of symptoms that develop you would think this would be high on the list for doctors to recommend as opposed to turning to their trusty prescription pad. One of the reasons why more doctors aren’t recommending it is because there is not a great test to determine Magnesium deficiency. The standard serum blood test is terrible at picking up Magnesium deficiency since only 1% of Magnesium is stored in the blood. The best way to identify a deficiency is by evaluating symptoms and with so little time the doctor has with each patient it is sometimes difficult to tease this out.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is up to the parent to gauge if their child (or themselves) may be Magnesium deficient. The good news a trial of Magnesium is very safe which I’ll be talking about in my next post.