According to the National Academy of Sciences, most Americans are magnesium deficient, and experts believe that magnesium deficiency causes as much as 50 to 70 percent of chronic illnesses.
If you are experiencing fatigue, migraines, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, decreased exercise capacity, or muscle aches and spasms, you are probably magnesium deficient.
There are two main reasons why magnesium deficiency is so common. First, magnesium is missing from our soil because American farmlands have been overworked for decades, leading to mineral depletion. Second, our calcium intake is excessive, and high calcium levels will deplete magnesium.
Calcium and magnesium share a special relationship because they have opposite functions: calcium contracts muscles while magnesium relaxes muscles.
For optimum health, calcium and magnesium levels must be in balance, but researchers have found that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in America is approaching 6 to 1. I actually started researching magnesium after having health problems from the high amount of calcium in my water.
Magnesium is a crucial mineral and plays an active role in an astounding 700-800 processes in the body including energy production, heart health, and nervous system protection. Some of the many benefits of magnesium include:
The most important function of magnesium is the production and storage of energy. Magnesium is crucial for adenosine triphosphate production (ATP), which are the energy packets inside our cells. Without enough magnesium to produce adequate ATP, we will feel fatigued.
The high pace of modern life produces the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which eats up magnesium. And low magnesium levels will cause our blood vessels to constrict, our heart rate to go up, and our muscles to contract, which produces more adrenaline and cortisol, causing a dangerous cycle of more and more magnesium depletion.
Magnesium deficiency is a common cause of panic attacks. Magnesium calms the nerves, eases muscle tension, promotes relaxation, and helps to produce feel-good hormones like serotonin.
Faster Workout Recovery
Exercise burns magnesium, so if you feel sick or run down after a workout, this is usually a sure sign of magnesium deficiency. Adequate magnesium levels will ease muscle tension and reduce lactic acid buildup that can result in muscle pain after a workout.
Magnesium can ease insomnia because it relaxes your muscles and decreases your heart rate, making it easier to get a good night’s sleep. The muscle-relaxing benefit of magnesium can also ease restless leg syndrome.
Reduced Muscle Aches and Spasms
Since calcium causes muscle contraction and magnesium causes relaxation, when your calcium levels are too high and your magnesium levels are too low, you can get sustained muscle contraction, causing aches, twitching, and spasms. Proper amounts of magnesium will relax the nervous system, easing pain and helping to eliminate muscle spasms and twitches.
Fewer Kidney Stones
One of magnesium’s many roles is to dissolve calcium and keep it from solidifying into crystals. When there is too much calcium in the kidneys and not enough magnesium to dissolve it, kidney stones can form.
Lowered Blood Pressure
Most of our body’s magnesium is found in the heart because it is extremely important for heart health, and magnesium and calcium work together to maintain proper blood pressure. With insufficient magnesium, calcium will cause prolonged contraction of the muscles in the blood vessels, causing constriction and spasms, which elevates your blood pressure. Magnesium relaxes and opens up the muscles in the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.
Relief from Migraine Headaches
Magnesium’s ability to relax and dilate the blood vessels also helps relieve the blood vessel spasms that lead to migraine headaches. Magnesium also releases pain-reducing hormones to fight migraine pain.
Relief from PMS Symptoms
The reason why most of us crave chocolate when we are premenstrual is because magnesium levels dip during this time of the month, and chocolate contains high amounts of magnesium (YES!). Getting your magnesium levels up will ease headaches and muscle aches, low blood sugar, and irritability.
Calcium overload is one of the main causes of inflammation in the body. Magnesium neutralizes calcium, reducing your levels of inflammation.
Because I like to keep these posts short and sweet, this is definitely not an exhaustive list of the many benefits of magnesium. Magnesium has also been proven to be beneficial for diabetes, heart conditions, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, asthma, depression, and more.
If you would like more information, I’d highly recommend that you read “The Magnesium Miracle” by magnesium expert Dr. Carolyn Dean.
In my next post, I will talk to you about magnesium testing, the best magnesium supplements, and optimum magnesium levels.
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