Do You Need To Take Magnesium?

How are insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, constipation, and muscle cramps related? They are all common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency. Whether or not you suffer from any of the above-mentioned symptoms, I’d like to suggest that you keep reading. You’ll understand why soon!

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and a key player in cellular metabolism (all the things our cells do to keep us alive and healthy).

Our cells are the smallest living structural and functional units of our bodies. They form our tissues, then our tissues form our organs, then our organs form our organ systems (e.g. our nervous system, our hormonal system, our digestive system, our cardiovascular system, our immune system, etc.), then our organ systems form us – a human organism!

Understanding this progression of the organization of our body starting from our cells, it’s clear to see that we are only as healthy as the health of our individual cells and their daily activities, which are highly dependent on magnesium.

What Does Magnesium Do?

Magnesium is sometimes referred to as the ‘anti-stress’ mineral as it relaxes nerves and muscles, having an impact on both physical and emotional stress. Have you ever taken an Epsom salt bath to relax or to relieve muscle pain? The bath works because Epsom salt contains magnesium (as magnesium sulfate).

In addition to its anti-stress claim to fame, magnesium is commonly associated with bone health, as it works closely with calcium in this area; however, you may be surprised to learn that magnesium is involved in over 600 biological activities in the body! You could say that magnesium is involved in almost every essential body function, including:

  • proper nerve transmission (which regulates virtually everything that happens in the body)
  • healthy muscles/muscle contraction, including:
    • the myocardium (the muscle of the heart that keeps it beating)
    • the smooth muscles in the walls of our blood vessels (these regulate blood pressure)
    • the smooth muscle of the walls and sphincters of our digestive tract (these regulate the movement of food through, and elimination of waste from, our digestive tract)
  • anti-stress/adrenal support
  • blood sugar regulation
  • immune system health

As magnesium plays a role in numerous important bodily functions, it is critical to overall health. Magnesium is truly magnificent! Unfortunately, almost 50% of us don’t get enough of it.

What Are The Signs/Symptoms Of A Magnesium Deficiency?

Since magnesium has such diverse and widespread functions in the body, deficiency symptoms can also be numerous and varied. Some of the more common deficiency signs include (think back to all of magnesium’s functions!):

  • arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • constipation
  • nervousness
  • insomnia
  • high blood pressure
  • blood sugar imbalances (including Type 2 diabetes)
  • headaches
  • spasms/muscle pain and/or muscle cramps including restless leg syndrome and ‘charley horses’ (muscle spasms that most commonly occur in the legs)

Also note that regular consumption of alcohol, coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks such as colas, prevent the absorption and utilization of magnesium by the body … and if you engage in strenuous exercise regularly, be aware that this increases your muscles’ requirements for magnesium.

How Much Magnesium Do You Need?

Health Canada’s RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for magnesium ranges from 80 mg (children 1-3 years old) to 420 mg (adult males). Many studies have shown that adults need at least 300 mg of magnesium a day in order to lower their risk of health conditions related to deficiency. Many experts recommend 600 mg to 900 mg per day. The amount of daily magnesium you need depends on your age, gender, and individual health situation, so it’s best to sort it out with a health care practitioner, such as a nutritionist (yours truly).  Note that the most common symptom associated with excess magnesium intake is diarrhea.

How Can You Get Enough Magnesium?

While certain foods are good sources of magnesium (a list follows), the most reliable way to get therapeutic levels of magnesium into the body is through a high-quality supplement, such as Biotics Research Canada’s Mg-Zyme. This product contains a combination of different forms of magnesium that are recognized as having excellent absorption and bioavailability (bioavailability is the amount of a substance that enters the blood once it has been taken into the body, and hence able to have an active effect). This is an important consideration as the body’s absorption of magnesium is not very efficient.

You can now order Mg-Zyme through Perfect Resonance. A 100 tab bottle costs $33.00 + HST (price as of March 2020; subject to change). To place an order, email info@perfectresonance.com with MAGNESIUM in the subject line. You will receive an email to coordinate delivery and payment. Note that orders can be picked up at the Marshall Health Centre (2605 Carling Avenue Ottawa ON), or shipped anywhere in Canada for $5.00.

While supplementation is the best way to ensure you are getting enough magnesium, it is still a good idea to get what you can from food (even though there is concern that much of our soil is magnesium-depleted). Good food sources of magnesium include:

  • dark leafy greens, especially spinach and Swiss chard
  • green drinks (including liquid chlorophyll added to your drinking water)
  • summer squash (e.g. most types of zucchini)
  • nuts and seeds
  • broccoli
  • fermented, organic (non-GMO) soy products (e.g. tempeh, miso, natto)
  • legumes, especially black-eyed peas
  • sea vegetables (e.g. dulse, kelp, nori)
  • 70%+ dark chocolate/cacao nibs/cocoa powder

Take control of what you can!