Moving forward into the New Year with sufficient energy to do all the things you want to will require attention to your daily intake of magnesium. This mineral is involved in enzyme activity, especially the enzymes involved in energy production in our body. As you’ll remember from last month’s article on vitamin B6, an enzyme is a protein produced in cells that acts as a catalyst or mechanism, speeding up the rate of biological reactions and interactions in the body without itself being used up. Your body’s pH balance also depends on just the right amount of magnesium, as does maintaining a normal body temperature. Magnesium helps the body absorb other important minerals such as potassium and calcium. And because calcium is required in so many functions in the body, having enough magnesium to ensure optimum calcium absorption is crucial. This is why supplements usually contain a blend of calcium and magnesium together. You’re probably now seeing why the right balance of essential minerals in your diet is key to staying energized throughout your day.
RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE:
What Does That Look Like?
|3 oz. canned salmon, with bone
1 cup ice cream
1 cup broccoli, cooked
1 oz. cheddar cheese, hard
1 cup dried figs
8 oz. orange juice, calcium fortified
THE FUNCTIONS OF MAGNESIUM IN THE BODY
Magnesium is one of the “fab four” together with calcium, potassium and sodium, all of which are considered macrominerals (minerals your body needs in larger amounts than trace minerals). These four work together as a team, helping each other in their roles in the body.
In a partnership role, magnesium assists the body with the uptake of calcium and potassium and assists with the breakdown of other minerals. It partners with calcium in the formation and strengthening of bone, regulating the absorption of calcium into the bones. Also in partnership with calcium, magnesium helps regulate the normal contraction and relaxation cycle of muscles (calcium stimulates, magnesium calms). Along with vitamin B6, magnesium helps to break down certain types of kidney stones.
In your cells, calcium (which is normally present on the outside of a cell) floods to the inside as a response to stress. As the stress subsides, the calcium flows back to the outside and magnesium, again, becomes the dominant mineral within the cell (remember, calcium for stimulation, magnesium for relaxation). When there is not enough magnesium present in the first place, the stress response can be triggered easily, leading to irritability, and a reactive mood.
If you have a lot of stress in your life, then it’s likely your blood pressure changes at a moment’s notice, putting strain on the lining of your arteries. Magnesium helps protect the arterial linings during these sudden changes in blood pressure and helps your adrenals run smoothly.
Research has shown that magnesium may help prevent cardiovascular disease by stabilizing the rhythm of the heart and helping to prevent abnormal blood clotting in the heart itself. Elsewhere in the body, calcium helps with blood clotting at the site of a wound, where magnesium promotes the flow of blood to prevent excessive clotting.
When there is too much calcium in the body, magnesium offsets the formation of calcium deposits by stimulating the production of calcitonin, a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland that regulates the level of calcium in the blood and stimulates bone formation, at the same time suppressing parathyroid hormones which takes calcium from the bones to the soft tissue.
Because magnesium and calcium balance each other so delicately, the body needs a ratio of 2:1, calcium to magnesium. This means if you are getting 800mg of calcium per day, you should also be getting at least 400mg of magnesium.
Your daily allowance of both calcium and magnesium might look like this:
8 oz. orange juice, calcium fortified, 300mg calcium
1 packet Quaker Instant Oatmeal, 105mg calcium
½ cup 3.25% milk, 145mg calcium
3oz. canned salmon, with bone, 200mg calcium
1 cup white beans, 134mg magnesium
1 cup spinach, cooked, 157mg magnesium
1 cup broccoli, cooked, 37mg magnesium
1 cup brown rice, 84mg magnesium
1 cup 3.25% milk, 290mg calcium
NOTE: The supper described above is a great source of protein; the salmon goes without saying. But did you know that by combining beans with rice, you have a complete protein as well?
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY?
Possible signs and symptoms of a magnesium deficiency might include:
- poor digestion
- rapid heartbeat
- cardiovascular problems
- muscle weakness and twitching
- unbalanced pH in the body (which itself yields a whole host of symptoms)
- abnormal body temperature
Magnesium deficiency may also be at the root of:
- chronic fatigue
- chronic pain syndromes
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- kidney stones
WHAT CONDITIONS CAN BENEFIT FROM TAKING A MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENT?
Fibromyalgia Magnesium helps maintain proper muscle function as it works to keep muscles properly relaxed. Because of its benefits in relieving stiff muscles, magnesium can be especially beneficial to fibromyalgia patients.
Insomnia According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), almost six out of ten Americans report having insomnia and sleep problems at least a few nights a week. From a nutritional perspective, several research studies have shown certain minerals to be effective natural sleep aids that help people fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep. In magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium, low aluminum diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was proven in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota. The study was titled “Effects of trace element nutrition on sleep patterns in adult women.” It’s important to note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health, and these two minerals should be taken together for best results. 3
Osteoporosis One of the health benefits of magnesium is strong bones. A study on magnesium for bones, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, focused on teen girls whose daily dietary intake of magnesium was less than 220 milligrams. Half of them got a placebo; the other half got 300 milligrams of magnesium oxide for a year. At the end of the study, the girls who took magnesium had significantly higher bone mineral content, especially in the hips, than at the beginning of the study. 2
NUTRITIONAL SOURCES OF MAGNESIUM
- Dairy foods
- Green leafy vegetables
- Brown rice
- Whole grains
Herbs, such as alfalfa, cayenne, chamomile, dandelion, lemongrass, paprika, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf and fennel seed.
NUTTERS CAN SUGGEST…
SISU Cal Mag Wafers are a convenient and tasty way to supplement your diet with those essential nutrients and vitamin D to prevent bone loss and improve bone density.
- High potency formula of calcium citrate and carbonate, magnesium oxide and citrate and vitamin D2
- Calcium citrate is better absorbed in post-menopausal women and calcium carbonate is the highest potency form of calcium, it is less gritty and has a smooth texture
- Magnesium improves vitamin D activity and decreases the risk of developing osteoporosis
- Vitamin D is essential to calcium absorption and helps support bone density and reduce fractures
- Vitamin D2, the vegetarian form of this nutrient, has been proven equally as effective and as well absorbed as the animal-sourced vitamin D3
- Three chewable tablets per day provide 900 mg of elemental calcium and 450 mg of elemental magnesium in a 2:1 ratio
- Available in three natural flavours: vanilla, chocolate malt and berry
- Take in divided doses throughout the day for better absorption
1. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fourth Edition, Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
2. Alternative Medicine Digest
3. Medical News Today
Carol Roy is a Natural Health Practitioner who received her diploma from the Alternative Medicine College of Canada in Montreal, Quebec. With 12 years experience in her area of expertise, natural health and wellness, Carol has also trained to become a fully qualified Reiki Master, Quantum Touch Practitioner, and Reflexologist.
The suggestions by Nutter’s Bulk & Natural Foods and the contents of this article
are recommendations only and not a substitute for any medical advice or a
replacement for any prescriptions. Seek medical advice for any health concerns.
Consult your health care provider before using any recommendations herein.