April 1, 2013

210 Magnesium – Getting Enough [1 April 2013]

Last week I discussed the many roles of magnesium in the body, signs of deficiency, and factors that could lead to a deficiency. I also mentioned that an estimated 80% of Americans (and likely similar ratio of Canadians) have a deficiency in this vital mineral. How then can we be sure we are getting enough?

First, since blood tests are inaccurate, refer to the list of deficiency symptoms; if you have more than a few consider increasing magnesium rich foods and supplementation.

Magnesium is the key mineral in chlorophyll (like iron is in hemoglobin) so all leafy green veggies are a good source. Green drinks are a concentrated source of chlorophyll and hence of magnesium. Other food sources are whole grains (rice, wheat & oat bran), flax & sunflower seeds, nuts (almonds and our friend Brazil nuts again), and artichokes.

Our diets should ideally contain a total calcium to magnesium ratio of less than 2:1 but because of our high use of dairy (which has little magnesium) it is closer to 3.5:1. Finland with the world’s highest rate of heart disease, has a dietary calcium to magnesium ratio of 4:1. Most calcium supplements come in a 2:1 ratio with magnesium, which is fine if your diet is already high in magnesium. A 1:1 ratio Cal-Mag supplement would be better to improve the overall ratio. If your calcium does not contain magnesium then you need to take a magnesium supplement as well.

Magnesium supplements come in several forms. Magnesium oxide is the cheapest and is absorbed fairly well. Magnesium citrate and chelate are somewhat better. Magnesium in liquid ionic form has the highest and fastest absorption rate, and is the one I recommend to prevent night-time muscle cramps, but comes at a higher price. Whatever form you choose, I think magnesium supplementation, along with a good green drink, is a wise investment in your health. It plays so many critical roles in our health that we can’t afford to allow ourselves to become deficient.

Source: Carolyn Dean, MD ND The Miracle of Magnesium on mercola.com.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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