One of the reasons we sometimes crave Chocolate is possibly that we have a Magnesium deficiency! Dark 80% + Cocoa solids would have the highest magnesium content.
On a more serious note, you may have no idea that you are deficient in Magnesium. 65% of patients admitted to Intensive Care Units have a magnesium deficiency and up to 40% of the general population have also been found to be deficient in this very important mineral.
Magnesium is mentioned rarely (certainly not as much as calcium) and yet it is vital to so many functions in the body. Stress depletes the body of magnesium as well as the B vitamins that work with magnesium and therefore if you have been under a lot of stress it will be beneficial to supplement with both of these nutrients for a while. In this stressful era we need more magnesium, it is the mineral of relaxation, but we tend to get less because of our heavier reliance on fast foods and alcohol.
Magnesium – what does it do?
- it aids detoxification
- relaxes the system to diminish – irritability, anxiety, unstable emotions, muscle spasms, insomnia, low back pain, constipation.
- it raises HDL (good) cholesterol and lowers LDL cholesterol
- it lowers blood pressure – if given I/V as soon as possible after a heart attack it improves survival.
- it is a useful treatment in Angina
- helps lower eye pressure in Glaucoma
- improves Insulin production and utilization in Type II diabetes
- lessens headaches and migraines and is useful to aid coffee withdrawal.
- works with calcium to maintain healthy bones
- regulates the absorption of other nutrients and the action of enzymes in our bodies
- is essential in the Krebs cycle (energy)
- helps to regulate body temperature
- it is essential for nerve and muscle function
Here are some of the symptoms that magnesium deficiency can cause:-
- muscle weakness
- abnormal heart rhythms or palpitations
- loss of appetite
- high blood pressure ( magnesium is the natural Calcium channel Blocker)
- sensitivity to loud noises
- difficulty swallowing
Anyone who has any of these symptoms or who suffers from Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Heart disease, Kidney Stones or Attention Deficit Disorder could benefit from taking 400 – 1000mgs magnesium supplement but anyone with heart disease or kidney disease should discuss this with their doctor first. The most absorbable forms are citrate, glycinate or aspartate so avoid the cheaper forms that are not well absorbed. If you take too much magnesium it will cause diarrhoea. I always advocate taking a complete plant-derived mineral supplement because minerals work synergistically and your body needs the full complement of minerals to ensure health.
Low magnesium and high sodium – a recipe for cancer.
Magnesium is essential in moderating the levels of potassium (high) and sodium (low) in all our cells. If you are low on magnesium and eat lots of salty foods then the cells can become poisoned, low on oxygen, low on potassium and produce less energy. The acidity within the cells then goes up which impairs the chemical reactions and reduces the oxygen even further. Cells reproducing in this toxic state are more likely to mutate.
The best sources of magnesium are:-
- cocoa powder and dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids or more
- seaweeds like Kelp, Nori, Dulse, Kombu etc.
- Nuts – Brazil nuts, Pine nuts, Cashew nuts, Hazelnuts, Walnuts and Almonds
- Seeds – sunflower seeds, sesame seeds.
- Soya – mince and beans
- Wheat germ and wheat bran
- Brown rice
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Figs and dates
For a quick fix prior to going to bed try soaking in a hot bath with 2 Tablespoons of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate)added to the water and a few drops of a relaxing essential oil such as Lavender or Chamomile, the magnesium will be absorbed through the skin and you should sleep like a baby!