Did you know that chocolate cravings can indicate a deficiency in Magnesium? It is true! Magnesium deficiency has become almost epidemic in numbers and there are numerous symptoms and effects from being low in this critically needed mineral!
Magnesium is an essential mineral required for the proper function of the nervous, muscular and cardiovascular systems. It is also referred to as the “relaxation mineral” as it helps muscles to relax and has been shown to improve sleep. Do you ever have those nights when you can fall asleep fast but you cannot stay asleep? You continually wake up during the night and sometimes it can be hard to fall back to sleep. Well, this is another symptom of Magnesium deficiency. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, numbness, irritability, muscle spasms, pain, anxiety,heart arrhythmias and constipation. Magnesium deficiency can also lead to decreased bone density.
Magnesium absorption can be decreased by excess alcohol, coffee, salt, soda (aka poison), profuse sweating, stress (Who has that?!?), diarrhea and multiple medications including birth control pills, diuretics, antibiotics and some anti-inflammatories.
I love getting my vitamins and minerals from food but this is one mineral that typically warrants supplementation. With that being said, here are a few great food sources of Magnesium:
• Leafy Green Vegetables (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens)
• Black beans
• Almonds and cashews
• Dark Chocolate
For those looking to supplement Magnesium (which I highly recommend), there are many types of Magnesium supplements and they are not all created equal! Magnesium Citrate, Chloride, Malate and Glycinate have all been shown to have good bioavailability for absorption. However, Magnesium Carbonate, Sulfate, Gluconate and Oxide rank lower on the scale for bioavailability and are not usually recommended. I consider 400mg to be a standard dosage recommendation but testing is available for more accuracy. A standard serum Magnesium is NOT an accurate test but a RBC Magnesium test is a far superior option as it is much more accurate. It is a simple blood draw and is offered at many specialty labs. Dosage recommendations may increase based on test results. It is important to note that Calcium should also be taken along with the Magnesium at a 1:1 or 2:1 (calcium:magnesium) ratio as an imbalance should be avoided. For those suffering from Heart Disease or Kidney problems, consult with a Physician before supplementing with Magnesium.
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Hi, I'm Dr. Heidi!
A mom of 3 and an expert in chiropractic care of babies and kids.