The Scoop on Magnesium Deficiency from Radiant Life

Wed, May 21, 2014

The Scoop on Magnesium Deficiency

Why is it estimated that 68% of North Americans are low in the RDA for magnesium (a pitifully low dietary suggestion to begin with) and that a projected 200 million North Americans suffer the consequences of magnesium deficiency? For starters, we know that the nutrient profile our food and soil has changed over time. 

While some vitamins are produced within plants during growth, foods containing magnesium absorb their mineral content from the soil. Foods that are traditionally high in dietary magnesium include legumes, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. However, through years of agricultural abuse and environmental change, the vital composition of the soils across the globe has been tragically drained. Modern fertilization, used as an alternative for traditional crop-rotation practices, has eradicated vitamin-fixing bacteria and naturally aerating earthworms from the soil, and overused fields to the point of barrenness. Resulting produce has high yield, but is free radical containing, nutrient deficient and bulked with carbohydrates and water. Studies from The Journal of the American College of Nutrition have revealed a startling 40% drop in the nutrient content of vegetables since 1950 alone. Thus, even if we work hard to follow whole food diets using organic practices, isolated efforts are just not enough to restore ancient minerals like magnesium into diets at a sufficient level. While scientists are optimistic that returning to respectful organic processes can save the nourishing stability of our soils, this process will take many years and unified global efforts to have any success.

Additional factors in magnesium deficiencies are:

1.            Synthetic Supplements & Fortification - Some vitamins and minerals are consumed at overwhelmingly high rates while others are neglected. A tragic example of this asymmetry is the ignored physiological relationship of calcium and magnesium. Calcium is responsible for signaling muscle contraction, whereas magnesium is required for muscle relaxation. While research has confirmed that calcium to magnesium ratios in the paleolithic diet were 1:1, our “bone building calcium-craze” has left modern individuals with a warped exposure, reaching anywhere from a 5:1 to 15:1 ratio! Studies have clearly demonstrated that excess calcium destroys magnesium, while magnesium supplementation significantly improves the body’s use of calcium.


2.            Caffeine, Alcohol & Carbonation - Caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, tea and soda are all stimulants that have a diuretic effect. Once ingested, they have been found to cause an accelerated flushing of magnesium through the kidneys, regardless of whether or not your body needs the magnesium. The body's physiological need for magnesium is secondary to the diuretic effects! Coupled with high caffeine content, dark-colored sodas contain phosphates which bind magnesium in the digestive tract, preventing any gastric mineral assimilation. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant, but through suppression of anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), it also causes increased magnesium loss through the kidneys. Moreover, alcohol contributes to Vitamin D deficiency as well as digestive malfunction, further minimizing the body’s ability to absorb magnesium effectively. 


3.            Chronic Stress - Research has found that the frequent release of adrenaline and cortisol involved in an unresolved stress response is strongly correlated with decreased magnesium. What’s worse is that it all works in a vicious cycle: since magnesium is an integral part of nerve conduction and electrolyte balance, low levels can confound sensations of anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression.


4.            Refined Sugars - During the process of refinement, sugar cane is completely stripped of molasses content and consequently plundered of all traces of potential magnesium content. Yet beyond this singular deficiency, refined sweets in general are what some specialists call "anti-nutrients." Not only do sugars greedily take the place of nutrient-dense whole foods in the diet to sacrifice any chances at grasping dietary magnesium, but they gobble up already low supplies of energy and minerals for the process of digestion. The consequences of excessive consumption of pleasantly wrapped bon-bons and seemingly innocent processed granola bars thus include digestive strain, hormonal dysregulation, mood disruption and weight gain, as well as chronic mineral depletion. Furthermore, with an inflamed system ravaged by sugars, the organs' capacity to capture delicate magnesium and other vital nutrients is significantly diminished.

Why Topical Magnesium? 

While ideally all vitamins and minerals would come from the beautiful healing powers of our foods, the integration of many factors makes supplementing with magnesium important in our modern world. Because oral magnesium can cause significant gastric discomfort, topical magnesium chloride has proven to be a highly effective way to correct magnesium deficiency, and can actually be an enjoyable experience as well. Topical magnesium is rubbed or sprayed onto the skin, and absorbed very efficiently. It is conveniently available as an oil, bath flakes, gel and lotion for your preference. Why not give it a try?



Posted by Heather on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 06:05 PM

Tags: BalanceDietLife-stylenaturalwell-being




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