It is estimated that 80-90% of Americans have a magnesium deficiency. Are you one of them? Let me help you figure that out.
Things that contribute to a magnesium Deficiency:
- Eating things containing refined sugar and/or corn syrup (both high fructose and regular)
- Eating refined grains such as white flour, white rice, etc.
- Eating packaged and/or processed food
- Not getting enough sleep
- Consuming 8 or more alcoholic beverages per week (or binge drink)
- Eating a high protein diet
- Not consuming your recommended veggie allowance (especially if you are missing dark leafy greens)
- Being stressed
- Having been sick recently
- Getting sick frequently
- Eating fast food
- Eating non-organic dairy
- Eating a semi-decent diet but don’t supplement with magnesium
- Not eating grains, seeds, nuts, or legumes
- Eating meat that is not pastured/grass-fed (especially lunch meat and hot dogs)
- Drinking a lot of coffee (decaf or regular) or black or green tea
- Drinking soda or juice (pasteurized) Bye Bye juice boxes for kids!!!!
- Using iodized salt
- Drinking water that has with chlorine and/or fluoride in it
As you can see, this list encompasses most of the country. This rampant deficiency is so important to rectify!! If you have been reading my blog, you have probably heard me mention magnesium numerous times. I promised a full post on the benefits of this mineral in my 10 ways to Sneak Nutrients into your Diet without Taking a Pill post and here it finally is!! In preparation for this post, I re-read Carolyn Dean’s The Magnesium Miracle. I highly recommend this book. It is hard to believe that there is 250 pages of information regarding this mineral, but there is and it is well worth reading! There is a section on each disorder/disease with the scientific information on how a magnesium deficiency can be the cause of or exacerbate the disorder. If you have any of the disorders below, or even just a family history, you should read the book, paying special attention to your section.
Problems that Can be caused or exacerbated by a magnesium deficiency:
- Anxiety and Depression
- Migraines and Pain
- Cholesterol and Hypertension
- Heart Disease
- Obesity and Syndrome X
- Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (POS)
- Dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cramps)
- Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
- Cerebral Palsy
- Bladder incontinence (not having full control of your bladder at all times and needing to pee frequently during the night)
- Kidney Stones
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Premature Aging and Alzheimer’s
Why are we magnesium deficient?
Although our poor diet is the largest contributing factor to this problem, it is not the only factor. Despite the fact that Americans eat such a poor diet, with around 25% of our calories coming from junk food and 90% of our food budget on processed food, we also have to contend with soil depletion and erosion. Even if you do eat a great diet by making most of your food at home and eating plenty of fresh veggies, nuts, and seeds, you might still be magnesium deficient because the food you are eating has significantly less magnesium than the food your great-grandma ate. What are we to do?
How should I correct my magnesium Deficiency?
Eat a diet high in magnesium-rich foods:
- Dark leafy greens such as kale
- Wheat germ and bran
- Nuts such as brazil nuts, cashews, and pecans
- Some of your best magnesium providers can be found in your yard or garden such as nettles, cilantro, chickweed, dandelion.
- Kelp powder and Dulse (seaweed) are also a good sources.
- Avoid anything processed, refined, or fried, especially fast food.
- Choose organic pastured meat and dairy.
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
- Manage your stress with exercise, meditation, yoga, or whatever works for you.
- Avoid over-the-counter and prescription medications when there is a viable option.
- Avoid refined sugar and refined sugar products.
- Avoid sodas and pasteurized juices.
Supplement with magnesium oil:
Transdermal (through your skin) supplementation is the safest method. Your skin will only absorb the amount magnesium that you need. This eliminates the possible colon flush that can come with taking oral doses of magnesium. Sprays such as Ancient Minerals have a 25% concentration. This means that each spray has 13-18 mg. The recommended dose is 3-4.5 mg per pound of body weight. So a female weighing 140 pounds would take 420-630 mg a day. She needs to spray 24-36 sprays a day. Be sure to choose the fattiest parts of your body for spraying. When you are deficient, the spray has an uncomfortable tingle. That tingle is worse if you spray it on a bony part of your body such as an ankle. You need to leave the spray on for about 30 minutes to be sure that it absorbs. You could do half of your sprays in the morning when you wake up and then shower after 30 minutes. In the evening, the magnesium helps you sleep if you do it at least a half an hour before sleep. If it is too tingly, wash it off before going to bed. You can also create a magnesium roller for your feet with magnesium oil and essential oils to aid sleep.
Supplement with epsom salt baths and/or magnesium flake baths:
Again, transdermal supplementation is the safest. Enjoy a nice hot bath with magnesium flakes or epsom salts. The flakes have a higher concentration of magnesium (5 times as much), but the epsom salts are detoxifying. I like to combine them. I use Ancient Minerals magnesium flakes and Dr.Teal’s epsom salts (I buy the plain and add my own essential oils). I try to take a magnesium bath a couple of times a week (unless it is summer and too hot).
Supplement with oral magnesium:
If you do choose an oral dose, Dean recommends magnesium citrate. Follow the instructions on the bottle. We supplement with Calm after being sick or engaging in another activity that depletes magnesium.
Do you think you are probably deficient? Do you supplement with magnesium? Did you notice health changes after your started? I would love to hear from you!