Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc, Iron – we’ve all heard about the most commonly used health-boosting vitamins and minerals – but what about magnesium? This multitasking mineral has the ability to positively influence our whole-body health, and is one that you definitely don’t want to forget about!
WHAT IS MAGNESIUM?
Magnesium is a powerhouse mineral that plays a role in more than 300 biochemical processes, including maintaining heart rhythm, stabilizing mood, regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure, maintaining muscle and nerve function, mineral absorption, and detoxification – just to name a few.
This mineral is commonly found in whole foods, but can be consumed as an over-the-counter supplement, as well. Health experts claim that subclinical magnesium deficiency is rampant and one of the leading causes of chronic disease, which is why it is important to ensure that you are getting enough magnesium in your diet.
Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
So what causes this deficiency? Agriculture, diet choices and lifestyle factors are all key players that lead to a magnesium deficiency in Americans.
Poor Quality Soil
Many crops are grown in poor quality soil due to overgrazing, over-tilling, and the use of pesticides, which rapidly degrades our soil. Because topsoil – which is where our food absorbs nutrients – is the fastest to degrade, it yields us with waning nutrients in our produce. It is best to consume foods that are as nutrient-dense as possible, particularly when they are in their most natural, whole state.
The standard American diet (“SAD” Diet) is rich in processed foods, saturated fats and refined sugar, salt and grains. These foods are all deficient in magnesium and actually increase the need for it in the body. It is important to focus on eating a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet with magnesium-rich foods, such as cashews, greens, salmon, black beans, dark chocolate, whole grains and bananas.
Magnesium plays a vital role in regulating the body’s response to stress. Chronic mental or physical stress depletes our magnesium stores, and low magnesium levels trigger stress — creating a vicious cycle. With a focus on healthy and sustainable lifestyle habits that counteract stress triggers, we can maintain our magnesium levels more efficiently and effectively.
SYMPTOMS OF MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY
Have you been feeling burnt out, fatigued and anxious lately? It could be due to a magnesium deficiency! Because magnesium plays a role in a wide range of bodily processes, low levels of magnesium can cause a host of health issues. Evidence has linked insufficient intake to a range of conditions and symptoms, from simple irritability to chronic disease.
COMMON MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS INCLUDE
Muscle spasms or cramps
Abnormal heart rhythm
HOW TO ADDRESS MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY
While the symptoms and situation may seem dire, research shows that a magnesium deficiency is relatively simple for the body to resolve. Increasing your magnesium intake with specific foods, supplements, and self-care practices is a great place to start.
Magnesium can be found in a number of food sources such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, black beans, soybeans, avocados, whole grains, bananas, quinoa, brown rice, figs, dark leafy greens, sea kelp, yogurt, and sesame seeds. Herbs that contain magnesium include dandelion, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, lemongrass, licorice, nettle, parsley, sage, and yarrow.
In addition to eating whole foods, supplementation is a sound option to get back into balance. There are various forms of magnesium, all which play specific physiological roles within the body, therefore working with a professional is the best way to find which form is optimal for you, your health needs and wellness goals.
We’ve all heard that a cultivated self-care practice is key in keeping stress at bay and maintaining a healthy, functioning body! Some activities that can lower stress levels instantly are decluttering your space, deep breathing, stretching, and spending time with friends and family.
To determine if a magnesium deficiency is disrupting your physical or mental health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lana and explore the best protocol for your unique constitution.
Shop Dr. Lana’s dispensary here.