Got Magnesium? A Sneak Peak into the World of Vitamins & Minerals
We are looking forward to having Bari Mandelbaum, CHN, NC, teaching the upcoming Daily Dose: Vitamins & Minerals class on March 3rd & 4th, 2018. Bari has been a longstanding instructor for the Wholistic Nutrition Program at The Wellspring School and is an all around fantastic teacher and practitioner.
We asked Bari to tell us about a favorite vitamin or mineral. Her pick? Magnesium! Below what she had to say about it.
Magnesium is an important mineral required for proper health and function. A cofactor in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, magnesium is required for everything from protein synthesis and muscle function to blood pressure regulation to hormone production. Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body, and is found naturally in many foods. Despite its abundance in our food and environment, magnesium deficiency is very common and can have serious long-term health implications.
Magnesium plays many important roles in the body. The body needs magnesium in order to properly use calcium, making it important for bone health. It helps the body assimilate calcium into bones and activates vitamin D in the kidneys, another important cofactor for bone health. Magnesium intake can help lower osteoporosis risk. Magnesium and calcium balance one another in the body, and magnesium protects the body from risks associated with high calcium intake including atherosclerosis and kidney stones.
Magnesium is important for proper muscle and nerve function, particularly important for maintaining heart health. While calcium helps a muscle to contract, magnesium helps muscles to relax. Magnesium also plays a role in helping manage high blood pressure and keeping blood lipid levels healthy. And because magnesium supports muscle relaxation, it may be an important supportive nutrient for managing conditions related directly or indirectly to muscle tension or dysfunction such as PMS, fibromyalgia, anxiety, and migraine headaches. Magnesium is so important for certain medical conditions it may be provided intravenously or via injection for conditions such as eclampsia during pregnancy and severe asthma attacks.
Magnesium lowers inflammation in the body due to its impact on enzymatic reactions, particularly those related to inflammatory response. Inflammation is implicated in a huge list of conditions from heart disease to diabetes to cancer. And studies have shown that adults who consume less than the recommended daily allowance of magnesium are more likely to have elevated inflammatory markers.
Recommended intake of magnesium varies a fair amount by age, gender, and life stage but most adults need a minimum of approx. 400 mg. per day. Magnesium rich foods include nuts, seeds, legumes, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains. Sunflower seeds, almonds, and spinach are particularly rich sources, with 128 mg per ¼ cup of sunflower seeds, 80 mg per 1 oz of almonds, and 78 mg per ½ cup cooked spinach.
While serious deficiency is rare, conditions that may make it more likely to develop a severe deficiency include history of kidney disease, Crohn’s disease, parathyroid dysfunction, or the use of antibiotics or certain diabetes and cancer medications. Deficiency is more often seen among older adults and people with a history of regular, heavy alcohol consumption. Digestive troubles may inhibit magnesium absorption, and the use of antacids and proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, Prilosec and Protonix are also tied to low magnesium levels. Depending on your age, stage in life, gender, health history, current medication, level of activity, and current health condition, you may need to take in more or less magnesium than other people. Deficiency symptoms may include fatigue, muscle cramps, loss of appetite, or muscle weakness, and more serious symptoms may include numbness and tingling, seizures, personality changes, or heart palpitations. Long term deficiency is also linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Too much magnesium may also be dangerous to your health. Excessive magnesium intake may result in digestive upset such as nausea, cramps, or diarrhea. Some people take magnesium as a laxative as it has a natural stool softening effect, but be careful with finding an appropriate dosage. Magnesium may interact badly with certain medications such as diuretics, heart medicines, or antibiotics, so please check with your health care provider before beginning supplementation. Acute magnesium overdose symptoms may include nausea, diarrhea, weakness, low blood pressure or fatigue, kidney problems, low blood pressure, depression, lethargy, a loss of central nervous system control, or cardiac arrest, and very high doses can be fatal. People with a history of kidney disorders should consult carefully with a healthcare provider before starting magnesium supplementation.
There are many forms of magnesium, and if you are considering supplementation, do consider your form! Magnesium oxide is the most common form found in over the counter supplements, but it is also not very bioavailable. Magnesium oxide is the form of magnesium found in Milk of Magnesia, a laxative, and this is the form that will most likely cause cramping or diarrhea. Good, bioavailable forms of magnesium that may be more gentle on your belly include magnesium citrate and amino acid based magnesium chelates such as magnesium glycinate, orotate, or aspartate. You can also supplement magnesium (especially helpful for sore achy muscles) by taking an Epsom salt bath, as Epsom salts are made from magnesium sulfate. Some companies are also making transdermal magnesium creams and gels to rub into the skin, though absorption will vary, which may make it difficult to decide how much to use.
There’s lots more to know about this and other amazing mineral, vitamins, and nutrients!
If you are interested in learning more about Magnesium and other vitamins and minerals, take Bari’s class.
Daily Dose: Vitamins & Minerals
Saturday & Sunday, March 3rd & 4th, 2018
9-5:30 both days