The detrimental effects of magnesium deficiency
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth and one of the most important for the human body. It is estimated that over 80% of Americans are deficient in it. Magnesium deficiencies cause a myriad of health problems that are very rarely ever diagnosed by most health authorities.
Magnesium is critical for muscle and nervous system activation and intracellular energy production. It is also needed for effective digestion and for building RNA and DNA molecules. The body uses magnesium to neutralize inflammatory proteins in the body and to produce key neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
The most common causes of magnesium deficiencies include:
- Insufficient dietary sources of magnesium
- Pharmaceutical drugs that interfere with magnesium absorption in the body
- Poor blood sugar balance that leads to poor magnesium uptake into the cells.
- Gut dysbiosis and intestinal permeability that leads to poor nutrient absorption in the gut
- Chronic mental, emotional and physical stressors
Many individuals are dealing with magnesium deficiency due to all of the above mechanisms. This is what happens when someone eats processed and highly cooked foods all day long. It takes 54 magnesium molecules to effectively metabolize a molecule of sugar. Insulin is a hormone that is not only critical for sugar metabolism but also key for shuttling magnesium into cells. Poor blood sugar signaling leads to insulin surges and poor magnesium utilization.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiencies:
- Muscle cramps and spasms and eye, facial and muscle twitching
- PMS & menstrual cramping
- Migraines and insomnia
- Constipation and stomach cramping
- Anxiety and depression
- Bad body odor
- Rapid heart beat, arrhythmias and mitral valve disorders
- High blood pressure
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Tooth weakness and osteoporosis/osteomalacia
- Calcium deposits such as osteoporosis, bone spurs, gall stones and kidney stones
- Chronic fatigue syndrome and attention deficit disorder
Magnesium and the immune system:
Magnesium is a powerful and essential immune system modulator. It is known as the master mineral, because it is involved in over 300 very important bodily processes. Magnesium is essential for proper vitamin D3 absorption and utilization in the body. Magnesium deficiencies lead to immune disorders and increase the risk of auto-immune and chronic inflammatory conditions.
Magnesium deficiencies have been shown to mal-coordinate immune function and cause an inflammatory response in the body. This is because it impairs both cellular and humoral immune pathways. This means that the body is unable to form proper Th1 and Th2 cells and suppress the effects of inflammatory cytokines. Deficiencies also weaken the immune system and make the body much more susceptible to infection.
Calcium and magnesium have a vital homeodynamic balance
Calcium and magnesium are in a constant and dynamic dance within our cells and blood stream. These two are critical metabolic minerals that are antagonists in that they have opposing actions. When we lose the delicate balance due to poor diet and improper supplementation, we develop chronic inflammatory problems. Research has revealed that the average ratio of calcium to magnesium in a primal diet that our ancestors ate was close to 1:1. Today’s diet supplies much more calcium and very little magnesium somewhere in the ratio of 5:1 – 15:1.
Calcium levels are regulated and controlled by magnesium. The three critical hormones that control calcium levels, parathyroid hormone, calcitonin and vitamin D, are activated by magnesium. Without adequate magnesium, the body deposits calcium in improper areas such as the gall bladder, joints, kidneys and arterial beds. This leads to gallstones, joint degeneration and bone spurs, kidney stones and arteriosclerosis.
Best sources for magnesium:
The best sources of magnesium include seaweeds, dark green leafy vegetables, raw chocolate (cacao) and fermented vegetables. Raw nuts and seeds are listed as good sources; however, the body is unable to effectively absorb magnesium due to the anti-nutrient phytic acids. When you soak and sprout your nuts and seeds, you remove the phytic acids and make minerals such as magnesium and zinc more bioavailable.
Another outstanding source of magnesium is in raw dairy from grass-fed cows. When the dairy is fermented and made into kefir, amasai or cheese, the magnesium becomes the most bioavailable. Pink salts and Epsom salts also contain highly bioavailable magnesium that can be absorbed through food or through the skin. Epsom salt baths are a great natural magnesium-infusing therapy for the body.
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