Are You in the 80%? How to Address Magnesium Deficiency

August 28th, 2014 · 4 Comments · Hanna Kroeger, Hanna Remedies, Healthy Living

Pop Quiz! What does your body need in order to support a healthy immune system, regulate blood sugar levels, support regular heart rhythm, maintain normal muscle function and perform about 300 other processes? imgres

Magnesium! It’s the little mineral that can; unfortunately, an estimated 80% of Americans are deficient. Because magnesium is vitally important in all cellular functions and processes, it is important to understand not only its function in the body but also how best to ensure depleted levels aren’t impacting your health.

Aside from the functions listed above, magnesium:

  • Creates energy in the body
  • Promotes proper bowel function
  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Eases the symptoms of fibromyalgia, chronic pain, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, aging and PMS
  • Supports proper formation of bones and teeth
  • Keeps bones and teeth strong

“Wait” you might be thinking… “Isn’t calcium important for the formation of bones and teeth and their strength?” The answer is yes but calcium and magnesium are a dynamic duo your body needs in order to function and these two minerals must be balanced in order to do their jobs. Just taking calcium may actually create an imbalance of magnesium levels. Our bodies prefer every cell to be bathed in calcium and filled inside with magnesium. Deficient magnesium in your system can be caused by a number of factors ranging from a low presence of the mineral in the soil where your vegetables are grown to common diseases (Crohn’s or IBS) or because of some medications you may be taking (proton pump inhibitors like Prevacid, Prilosec, Aciphex and Protonix or diuretic medications used to treat high blood pressure or cirrhosis of the liver). It is unclear as to why but most common chronic conditions cause magnesium to leak from the system and be eliminated from the body by the kidneys and this can include chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or even depression.

Early signs of magnesium deficiency are mild and can include fatigue or weakness, loss of appetite, headaches and nausea or vomiting. As deficiency progresses major symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Muscle cramps, spasms or pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat or palpitations)
  • Poor response to treatments like physical therapy or chiropractic
  • Manual treatments (those listed above) do not last more than a few hours
  • Difficulty with focus, memory or concentration
  • Extreme fatigue, exhaustion, tiredness

Because of the myriad of symptoms and the issues magnesium deficiency can cause, why aren’t more physicians testing the level of magnesium in our bodies? The answer, unfortunately, is that there is no easy or effective test to use. Generally speaking a doctor will use a test (like a blood sample) as a mean of estimating the level of magnesium in the body. The results of this test are then compared to the results of another test (like a urine sample). The results of the tests administered by your doctor will then be compared to symptoms you may be experiencing in order estimate the level of deficiency in your system. Blood tests, urine tests and tissue tests are options to assess deficiency but no one type of test is perfect as magnesium levels in the body continually fluctuate.

Keep in mind, it’s estimated that 80% of Americans are deficient in this important mineral so if you’re looking to play it safe rather than sorry and avoid the symptoms of deficiency (and improve how you feel in general!) then consider these types of magnesium and assess which one is right for you. Take into account: you should not overload your system with magnesium as this will cause diarrhea. Taking magnesium for a few days will not address deficiency nor will taking mass quantities….There’s a reason Milk of Magnesia is so effective as a remedy for constipation and its only active ingredient is magnesium.

4 Common Types of Magnesium  

  1. Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate: Chelate refers to the magnesium being bound to an organic molecule improving its ability to be absorbed in the intestine. Magnesium chelate is absorbed more easily in the body than many other forms. We like Country Life Chelated Magnesium.
  2. Magnesium Oxide: This type of magnesium is what is found in products that are used as over-the-counter laxatives with a high concentration of magnesium with poor levels of bioavailability (the body is not able to absorb this type as well as others, which makes it great for flushing out the bowel, which is where more of it stays rather than entering the blood stream). It can be made more bioavailable by taking it with HCl. Our picks for this type of Magnesium are from NOW and Self-Health Resource Center.
  3. Magnesium Citrate: This type of magnesium has a low concentration of magnesium but a high level of bioavailability and is studied for preventing kidney stones and inducing bowel movements. NOW makes a great magnesium citrate.
  4. Magnesium Orotate: This type of magnesium is considered to be the most absorbable form of magnesium as it is able to penetrate cell membranes and reach the innermost parts of the cell (the mitochondria and nucleus) and is the most readily absorbed. Check out KAL’s Magnesium Orotate.

A combination of magnesium and calcium is something Hanna recommended to many people and her favorite product to share was Nature’s Plus Calcitron 2:1 (magnesium to calcium) Ratio which provides nutritional support for healthy bones, natural energy production and overall well-being.

Because magnesium is critical to all muscle and nerve functions, when our bodies are deficient in it we can experience fatigue, depression, muscle cramps and pain, difficulty with focus or concentration and memory, as well as malaise. Magnesium is critical to hundreds of reactions in and actions of the body from eating food to feeling happy to walking properly or digesting food and sleeping well. Should everyone be taking a magnesium supplement? Possibly. Considering the estimation of Americans who are deficient in this little mineral with the potential to manifest big problems, it’s worth taking a look at. Magnesium is so important to the proper functioning of the body and, because of this, the body will do everything it can to maintain constant levels of magnesium in the blood. If there is a deficiency, the body will pull magnesium from its cells to put it in the blood (making blood tests for magnesium inaccurate) while the level of magnesium inside the cell (where it is meant to be) is depleted.

Check out our recent blog post Health Benefits of Magnesium. Are You Getting Enough? and find out how the depletion of magnesium in the soil has potentially led to the epidemic of deficiency in Americans.


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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Darrell

    What about Magnesium Glycinate?

  • Nancy Bennett

    What is your opinion on Magnesium L-Threonate?
    I read that it is the most absorbable. I take magnesium for leg cramps and A-Fib, but I still have both

    • Star

      Our apologies for the delay in responding to your comment Nancy. Magnesium L-Threonate isn’t necessarily more absorbable, but there is research showing it is the form of magnesium that has the ability to enter the brain and support the brain’s processes. If someone was having issues with the brain, memory and/or learning, this could be a good choice. For leg cramps, you may also want to consider a product to support cleansing lead from the system (see Plumbum: Hanna also recommended eating bananas and trying mullein leaf tea or cabbage compresses.

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