Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 400 physiological processes, therefor if you are deficient in magnesium there will be over 400 physiological processes that will be compromised! That is why magnesium is such an important mineral; in fact magnesium can play a positive role in the treatment of many conditions, for example:
- Heart disease
- Sudden cardiac death
- Kidney disease
- Parkinson’s disease
Is magnesium deficiency common?
The CSIRO conducted a study of Australian adults, and found that 50% of males and 40% of female’s daily intake of magnesium was below the recommended daily intake!
This study was done on the general population in Australia; my clinical experience would suggest that if we looked at a specific population, like anxiety sufferers (but really anyone with increased stress, mental health problems, other neurological conditions or an ageing population), these figures would be much higher!!
Signs of Magnesium deficiency
As the above statistic show almost one in two people are magnesium deficient, with this statistic being much higher in specific populations (like anxiety sufferers), but lets look at the common signs of deficiency anyway. Signs of magnesium deficiency are many and varied, (as magnesium is involved in over 400 physiological, we can understand why this list is so long and varied):
- Nervousness and Anxiety
- Muscle cramps (especially tight calf or a twitching eye)
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Tingling in the hands or feet
Causes of magnesium deficiency
As with any nutritional deficiency there are many causes, the common causes with magnesium deficiency include:
- poor soil quality and farming practices (lowing magnesium in food)
- not eating enough magnesium rich foods (Magnesium rich foods include: dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, whole grains, avocados, and bananas)
- impaired absorption (which can be caused by gastrointestinal tract problems or genetic abnormalities)
- increased excretion by the body (caused by genetic abnormalities, alcohol, laxatives, acidosis and all diuretics)
Magnesium supplementation can be used as an adjunct treatment for many different nervous system conditions and works best as part of a holistic treatment plan, these conditions include:
- Anxiety of any type
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle pain and cramps
- Supporting brain function as we age
As I have stated in my previous posts on nutrition, the type of supplement and quality is critical. Magnesium is no different, especially as there are several type of magnesium used in nutritional preparations.
We only use two at our clinic Diasporal, the gold standard of magnesium’s (did you know there was such a thing!) from Germany, very high quality, lots of research on it, and easy to take. However it’s only down side is that it is over $1 a server! We also use a product called MagOpti from Orthoplex that is very good also.