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On the podcast, I mention Dr. Russell Blaylock’s podcast about magnesium – check it out here: http://www.blaylockhealthchannel.com/
What would the result of magnesium deficiency be?
Magnesium inside cells works with calcium outside the cells to ensure the steady, smooth conduction of nerve impulses. If an imbalance occurs, symptoms may show. Because this impacts on muscle activity, magnesium deficiency is most often detected when people have twitching or flickering muscles or cramp. Extreme deficiency leads to tetany, a permanent severe cramping of legs and arms.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, low magnesium levels in pregnant women raises the risk of birth defects by 70%.
Magnesium is an intra-cellular ion. 70% of the body’s magnesium is found in bones and teeth. It exists mainly in body tissues, and less so in blood. So a consequence of that is that whereas a blood test might show normal magnesium levels, elsewhere in the body magnesium levels might be significantly different. That’s why magnesium deficiency is hard to detect, and therefore treat. If you are worried about your levels of magnesium, scroll down to the bottom of the page and see how many of the foods listed as being high in magnesium you eat regularly.
As we said, magnesium, along with calcium, is used in the transmission of the nerve impulse, so a deficiency of magnesium is signalled by mental impairment, such as irritability, aggression and nervousness, as well as depression, dizziness, brain fog, forgetfulness and premenstrual syndrome. In neurological illness such as alzheimer, parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease there is a significantly low quantity of magnesium in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid, which causes inflammation. In recent Japanese and Australian studies, trial subjects who were supplemented with magnesium over 12 years had significantly less dementia and memory loss than other subjects in the trial groups.
Magnesium is also needed to maintain correct ph values in the body and normal body temperature.
It is estimated that half the population of the US is significantly deficient in magnesium.
What leads to magnesium deficiency?
Some nutrients, such as vitamin D and phosphorous increase the body’s requirements of magnesium in order to maintain a balance with calcium. Foods high in phosphorous ironically also contain significant amounts of magnesium: nuts, seeds and seafood, for example. High levels of phosphates are found in infant formula, and lead to magnesium deficiency in early infancy, a key stage in the development of the brain. Phytates, found in cereals, especially in whole grains, possibly inhibit the absorption of magnesium. Big meat eaters also need more magnesium.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) intake alongside magnesium deficiency has been shown to result in metabolic syndrome such as heart disease, obesity and type two diabetes. Some of the brands that use HFCS include Heinz, Kellogg’s, Starbucks, Ben and Jerry’s, Capri-Sun, Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
What this all shows us is that people who regularly or mainly eat junk food and ready-made food, processed food and sodas, and generally food which is low in magnesium (see below) are at serious risk of a whole raft of health issues.
In what conditions can magnesium be of real value?
As an anti-inflammatory, and because it is an intra-cellular ion, it is particularly effective in reducing inflammation. Inflammatory illnesses range from meningitis, allergies and influenza to cancer. Because it is a strong anti-inflammatory, it might also be helpful in combatting conditions such as sensitivity to insect stings and other allergies. The following article from Lynne McTaggart explains the link between inflammation and major diseases.
Magnesium is an anti-oxidant and raises levels of glutathione, the primary detoxification molecule. As we are now bombarded with toxins, in air, water and in food, and the food that we eat is depleted in antioxidants and essential nutrients, anything we can do to boost glutathione can have significant effects on lowering our risk of illness, especially inflammatory diseases, such as cancer and possibly even AIDS, according to Mark Hyman’s article in the Huffington Post.
It is also an anti-spasmodic and is helpful in treating cramping, such as muscle cramping in gastro-enteritis, as well as the spasms caused by Crohn’s disease and IBS, for example.
Magnesium is a powerful inhibitor of kidney stones and is a significant help in the treatment of kidney stones, because it stops the spasms of muscle cramp, and helps in the passing of the stones.
Because magnesium and calcium work in tandem, and because magnesium is mainly stored in bones, boosting depleted magnesium levels along with calcium helps in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Animal sources of magnesium in food:
Dairy products, fish / seafood, especially shrimp and canned fish.
Vegetable sources of magnesium in food:
With 520mg per 100g, the number one highest ranking food, both in the animal and vegetable categories in terms of magnesium content is cocoa powder! Hurray! The best way to make sure you eat the right quality of cocoa powder, or cacao, as it’s known in the U.S., is to drink organic, raw cocoa powder diluted in hot water, and topped up with milk of your choice.
Plain chocolate does not contain as much magnesium as other magnesium-rich foods, but it still has a significant 100mg per 100g. What is great about cocoa powder is that it doesn’t contain phosphorous, which depletes magnesium levels, as do some other magnesium-rich foods. Other kinds of chocolate, with milk and sugar, actually act to reduce the amount of magnesium, especially if it contains HFCS, as noted above.
Next are: whole cereals, most nuts and seeds, pulses, unsulphurated organic blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, tomato purée, green leafy vegetables, okra, dried fruit such as apricots, peaches, raisins and figs, coconut and bananas.
Slow-release magnesium malate tablets are easier to take than magnesium oxide, which can cause diarrhea. To combat alzheimer’s, it is recommended to take L-threonate, which is very low dosage but is said to be very effective at penetrating the brain tissue. Magnesium malate citrate does cause diarrhea but ironically has been shown to be highly efficient in treating gastroenteritis and kidney stones.
Overly high doses of magnesium produce a tranquillising effect, and ultimately narcosis and loss of consciousness. Magnesium stupor can be immediately remedied with calcium injections. This is because magnesium and calcium compete for absorption pathways, as I learned when researching the Calcium podcast. Listen to it HERE.
Have you been helped by magnesium supplements? Do you suffer from magnesium deficiency, and how has it impacted you? Please leave your comments on the show below.