If you are experiencing headaches, high blood pressure, stress, muscle spasms and fatigue, magnesium insufficiency may be a factor. Magnesium is crucial to hundreds of biochemical processes in your body, and the typical “Western” diet does not provide adequate magnesium. There is no standard clinical test to determine magnesium levels; serum levels of magnesium in the blood may be low even when levels are sufficient. This is because about 98% of magnesium in the body is being used in intracellular functions, where it can’t be measured through blood tests.
If you suspect that your magnesium levels might be low, however, they most likely are. The highly processed and profit-driven “Occidental” diet does not offer much in the way of bioavailable magnesium, and other factors such as ingestion of coffee and alcohol rob your body of magnesium and other valuable nutrients. Low magnesium levels are often asymptomatic and go unnoticed. More severe clinical deficiencies of magnesium have very noticeable and serious symptoms:
- seizures and parasthesias
- general muscle weakness
- ventricular arrhythmias/increased susceptibility to digoxin related arrhythmias
Insufficient Magnesium levels are also a factor in premature aging and the onset of diseases which are generally regarded as a normal part of getting older, such as increased blood pressure and inflammation. Low magnesium also has an effect on the aging nervous system; age-related memory loss and neurodegenerative diseases are associated with long-term magnesium deficiencies.
These chronic conditions that arise later in life also happen to account for a great deal of the money spent on health care in the United States. A great deal of these conditions are preventable, and a widespread correction of magnesium deficiency in the population would likely result in a significant lessening in these kinds of conditions, much like the addition of vitamin D to dairy products in the early part of the century practically eradicated childhood rickets.
Swiss chard and spinach are both rich in magnesium. Other dietary sources include mustard greens, summer squash, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, halibut, turnip greens, pumpkin seeds and peppermint. Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms, the most effective, well-tolerated and easily absorbed of which consist of magnesium bonded to an amino acid. These forms of magnesium are known as “magnesium chelates.” Magnesium Plus by Seeking Health uses magnesium glycinate chelate, with an active form of vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5-phosphate) added to aid the body in absorbing and using this essential mineral.
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