A couple of months after I changed my diet by cutting out grains and sugar, I started getting cramps in my legs and feet - painful! I read that these cramps can be caused by a lack of magnesium, and I also remembered from the Wheat Belly books that wheat consumption over many years impairs intestinal magnesium absorption. Consuming grains can cause some other nutritional deficiencies as well. HERE is some good general information to start with.
So far, this is what I've been learning about magnesium:
Even a mild deficiency of magnesium can cause increased sensitivity to noise, nervousness, irritability, mental depression, confusion, twitching, trembling, apprehension, and insomnia. The modern diet, with an overabundance of refined grains, processed foods and sugars, contains very little magnesium. Even the magnesium inside whole grains and fresh vegetables has been declining steadily in recent years because of depletion of minerals in our soils, making magnesium supplementation necessary for most people. HERE is an article about symptoms of magnesium deficiency and HERE is an article about magnesium deficiency statistics - you can also join this Facebook group for magnesium support.
Adequate magnesium levels are crucial for brain, cardiac and muscle function and it is needed, along with silica and Vitamins D and K to promote bone health. Magnesium deficiency is more common than many people suspect. Some warning signs that could indicate a deficiency in this important mineral are:
- Muscle Cramps. The first symptoms of deficiency can be subtle – as most magnesium is stored in the tissues, leg cramps, foot pain, or muscle ‘twitches’ can be the first sign. Magnesium is crucial to optimum muscle function. Without it, the body would be in a state of convulsion, because it is this mineral that allows the muscles to relax. That is why, for instance, a magnesium oxide drip is used to ease women in labor and why magnesium is found in so many sleep-inducing supplements. A lack of sufficient magnesium, therefore, can lead to facial tics, muscle cramping and twitching or cramping of the feet while trying to sleep.
- Ringing in the Ears or Hearing Loss. Tinnitus, or a constant, high-pitched ringing in the ears is common symptom of magnesium deficiency, as is hearing loss. There are have been a number of studies done on the relationship between ear health and sufficient magnesium levels. In one Chinese study, it was found that magnesium in sufficient quantities will prevent the formation of the free radicals that can lead to hearing loss. In a study at the Mayo Clinic, it was found that treating patients who had experienced hearing loss with magnesium supplementation often helped restore that loss within three months.
- Depression. The link between low magnesium levels and depression was understood over a century ago, when doctors would use it to treat this mental health disorder. Modern science has backed this up, with a study at a psychiatric hospital in Croatia finding that many attempted suicide patients had severely low levels of this important mineral. One advantage of magnesium over traditional antidepressants is the lack of side effects sometimes associated with these medications.
- Abnormal Heart Function. As previously discussed, low magnesium levels can have an effect on muscles throughout the body and this includes the heart muscles. Insufficient magnesium can induce a condition known as a cardiac arrhythmia, in which the heart fails to beat regularly and this, in turn, can cause a greater risk for complications like heart attacks and strokes. That is why, for instance, doctors at the Henry Low Heart Center in Connecticut treat their arrhythmia patients with a medication which contains magnesium.
- Kidney Stones. Many people believe that kidney stones are caused by an excess of calcium, but in fact it is a lack of magnesium that is the culprit. Magnesium prevents the formation of these stones by inhibiting the binding of calcium with oxalate, the two compounds which make up these stones. Kidney stones can be excruciatingly painful, so it is good to know that something as simple as magnesium supplementation can prevent them.
Because magnesium deficiency causes all kinds of havoc with our cell physiology and worsens as we age, appropriate magnesium supplementation will not only help ensure we don’t age so fast but it also may help prevent many of the major diseases we are facing today.
Magnesium is a vital mineral whose lack leaves us open to not only damage from radiation but also damage from heavy metals and the thousands of chemicals to which we are commonly exposed. Without sufficient magnesium, the body accumulates toxins and acid residues, degenerates rapidly, and ages prematurely.
Anything that drives down magnesium levels is going to hurt us. Many pharmaceutical drugs drive magnesium levels into dangerous zones and surgery done without increasing magnesium levels is more dangerous than surgery done when magnesium is administered before, during and after surgery. Almost all the prescription drugs currently taken by millions of people lead to a gradual depletion of vitamins and other essential cellular nutrients in the body. Some drugs and substances that deplete magnesium are Antibiotics, Chelators, Anti-convulsants, Beta-adrenergic agonists (for asthma), Corticosteroids (CS) (for asthma), Theophylline (for asthma), Diuretics, Thiazide, Phosphates (found in cola drinks), Nicotine, Insulin, and Alcohol.
Green vegetables and nuts contain some magnesium. Seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, sesame – are unusually rich in magnesium. Most people, however, do better by supplementing magnesium.
I'm pretty sure I don't get enough magnesium from food sources, so I am taking Magnesium Malate - Source Naturals, 1200 mg (total tablet/capsule weight) in the morning and afternoon as it can be energizing and is good for muscle pain. (The malate form (the malic acid “salt,” an acid from apples and fruit) is well-absorbed and least likely to cause diarrhea.) I take Magnesium Glycinate at night as it is relaxing and has a good absorption rate.
Most other forms of magnesium cause loose stools, especially the oxide form. This is on the recommendation from Dr. William Davis in Wheat Belly, and HERE is a good article about the different types of magnesium that can help you figure out which might be best for you.
So, After researching vitamin and mineral supplements, I have come up with a good supplement plan which is working well for me.
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