The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 3/4 of Americans are magnesium deficient which creates many health symptoms that we all deal with on a daily basis. A deficiency in magnesium can be linked to a variety of health problems from simple irritability to chronic fatigue.
Symptoms of Magesium deficiency:
- Tics, Muscle spasms and Cramps
- Irregular Heart Rhythm
- Bone Health
- ADD / ADHD
- Foggy Brain
- Carbohydrate Cravings
- Panic attacks
- Breast tenderness during menstrual cycles
- Leg cramping - including restless leg symdrome
- Foot pain
Due to many farming practices these days, the soil is deficient in minerals and our bodies are suffering. When our bodies are deficient in magnesium, Vitamin D and calcium have a hard time being assimilated. If your Vitamin D level is not at optimum levels your immune system is hurting. When calcium isn't being absorbed then bone and joint health suffers. Magnesium is so very important to keep balanced in our bodies.
What can cause magnesium deficiency?
- Caffeine will allow the kidneys to release magnesium. Reduce your caffeine to 1-2 cups/day
- Many medications such as diuretics, blood pressure medications, asthma medications, birth control, estrogen replacements and others will reduce magnesium
- Stress - when your cortisol levels are running high and you have adrenal burnout you use up copious amounts of magnesium
- Eating sugar. Not only is sugar just not good for us, it also consumes the magnesium in our body
- Soda, especially dark colored sodas are filled with phosphates. Phosphates bind to magnesium in our digestive tracts and pull it out with our elimination
- Muscle spasms, may be caused by a deficiency but when spasming they use up more of our magnesium so its a double edged sword.
- As we age, especially over 55 our bodies naturally become more deficient.
So what can we do to increase our magnesium naturally?
Let's begin by talking diet, then supplementing with both supplements and herbs.
Diet: eating lots of dark green leafy vegetables - kale, spinach, bok choy, collard greens and more. One of the keys to absorbing not only the magnesium but also the calcium from these greens is to make sure you cook them with both an oil and an acid. So think about salad dressing, olive oil and vinegar, an oil and an acid. Cooking your greens for a long time with some oil (olive, coconut, avocado) adding some apple cider vinegar over it at the end, lemon juice or tomato sauce are all acids. They are very important in order for you to make the nutrients in these foods bio-available to your body.
What makes me sad is when I see people eating salad with either no dressing, or fat free dressing, because they might as well just eat sawdust to get the fiber in their bodies since none of the other nutrients in the salad will be absorbed. Fat will not make you fat, excess sugar and carbohydrates will.
Other foods to consider - quinoa, brown rice, lentils, oatmeal and bananas
Nuts are filled with magnesium- however nuts and seeds have an enzyme inhibitor on them (that's why you can sprout 1000 year old seeds). This enzyme inhibitor has phytic acid in it. Phytic acid can interfere with both calcium and vitamin D absorption. Just by soaking these nuts overnight in cold water and then rinsing them you can remove the phytic acid. Then either dehydrate the nuts or put them in a low heat oven to dry them. You will then have a wonderful snack filled with magnesium and other minerals
Organic Blackstrap Molasses is filled with both magnesium and calcium. A great way to take this is to make a mix known as Body Balance+, a recipe taught to me by naturopath Ian Shillington. Take equal parts Organic apple cider vinegar and organic blackstrap molasses for every quart total you add 3 droppers of Black Walnut tincture. So an easy thing to do would be to take a quart jar, add 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 1 cup blackstrap molasses and 1 1/2 droppers black walnut tincture. Shake up and take 1-2 tablespoons per day. You will feel great with it.
Another way of increasing your magnesium is an amazing recipe I learned from Paul Bergner, herbalist. I've had a lot of success with clients using this who shortly seee a drop in spasming and many of magnesium deficiency symptoms.
It's a very simple Ionic Magnesium recipe:
1 part original milk of magnesia
3 1/2 parts organic apple cider vinegar
(so if you use 1/4 cup milk of magnesia and 7/8 cup apple cider vinegar, mix it together)
begin by taking 1 teaspoon either by itself or in some water - do not mix it with anything else.
Ever 2 days increase your intake by another teaspoon. As you keep increasing you will find that one day you will get loose bowels. Reduce your intake down 1 teaspoon from what you took that day and this is the level you should stay at.. Most people find that 1-2 T are where they top off.
Begin drinking nettles and or oatstraw infusions.
How to do this:
Purchase a lb of nettles and oatstraw. Click here for my page of resources where you can purchase
Get a quart or half gallon mason jar (canning jar)
Put 1/2 - 1 cup of herb in the bottom of the one quart jar (use double for the half gallon jar)
fill it with boiling water
come back 5 minutes later and top it off
cover and leave on your counter overnight or at least 4-8 hours.
strain and store in refrigerator
drink 2-4 cups per day either hot or cold.
many times i strain it into a pot in the morning, heat it up and put it in a thermos for the day.