Magnesium Deficiency: Why Diet Alone Won't Fix This Problem

11/28/2016 | 2 min. read

Dr. Drew Sinatra

Dr. Drew Sinatra

magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is a bigger concern than most people realize. Even if you are eating a lot of green leafy veggies, nuts and seeds, legumes, and fish, you are probably not getting enough magnesium through your diet alone.

Yet, magnesium is an extremely important nutrient for good health. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, and is incredibly important for supporting the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, nervous, musculoskeletal, and immune systems.

Conditions like anxiety, muscle cramps, constipation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, fatigue, headaches, and seizures benefit from taking magnesium.

Why Is Magnesium Deficiency So Rampant?

One of the biggest contributors to magnesium deficiency is our soil, which have been robbed of this vital nutrient through modern industrial farming practices.

Excessive fertilizer and pesticide use, and breeding techniques to increase crop yields and resistance to insects, have reduced magnesium levels in our soil. For example, glyphosate, the main active chemical present in weed killers, removes minerals like magnesium from the soil.

Plus, some of these agricultural practices have decreased the ability of plants to absorb magnesium. The result is that many of our foods that should be rich in magnesium don’t contain enough of this important mineral.

Additionally, there are other reasons for magnesium deficiency such as:

  • Diuretics can be a culprit, causing you to excrete important minerals.
  • Intestinal inflammation, celiac disease, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can cause low levels of magnesium in the body.
  • Ingestion of soft water. Treated waters can have reduced mineral content.
  • Overuse of calcium supplements. Calcium can “compete” with magnesium for absorption.
  • Processed foods. Magnesium is often lost when whole grains are processed into flour.

How Do You Know If You Have Enough Magnesium?

To determine if you have a magnesium deficiency, you can ask your physician to order a serum or RBC magnesium test. But these assessments are not particularly accurate in my opinion. Most people can assume they are magnesium deficient if not already taking a supplement.

What type of magnesium should you take? While many forms of magnesium are available as a nutritional supplement, I prefer those that include glycinate, citrate, and malate. I recommend 300-500 mg a day.

Magnesium can also be delivered through dissolvable powders, capsules, liquids, creams, gels, and salts. You can receive this important mineral through an IV, which is an excellent way to get magnesium into the body because it bypasses the gastrointestinal tract. That is especially important for those with intestinal inflammation and dysfunction which can hinder magnesium absorption.

Dr. Drew Sinatra

Meet Dr. Drew Sinatra

Dr. Drew Sinatra is a board-certified naturopathic doctor and self-described “health detective” with a passion for promoting natural healing, wellness, and improving quality of life by addressing the root cause of illness in patients of all ages. His vibrant practice focuses on treating the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) and finding missed connections between symptoms and health issues that are often overlooked by conventional medicine.

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