Health – Magnesium – Why You Need It

Researchers have found magnesium to be a vital mineral that can lower blood pressure, protects the heart, and prevents stroke.

It has been shown to boost everything from heart health to bone density, and it can lower the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. It even improves memory, eases anxiety, treats headaches, and targets depression.

Magnesium is an inexpensive, readily available essential nutrient that many health experts are calling a “miracle mineral.”

But chances are that you, like most people, don’t get enough of it. Carolyn Dean, M.D., author of The Magnesium Miracle tells Newsmax that it is the most beneficial health-boosting mineral available. Yet most people have never heard of it … .

“Magnesium affects every organ, tissue, and cell in the body,” said Dean, a Hawaii-based physician and holistic specialist. “Magnesium deficiency is killing people, and it’s a simple solution to many of our chronic diseases.” Government studies going back more than two decades have found the standard American diet fails to meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily allowance of magnesium, which is 400–420 mg per day for men, and 310–320 for women. Dean believes health officials and the mainstream medical establishment need to do more to raise the public awareness of magnesium’s many benefits.

“A hundred years ago we were getting 500 mg in our daily diet,” she said. “Today we are fortunate to get 200 mg. Most people think that their doctors would have warned them about this problem. But doctors are as ignorant as the public about magnesium’s health effects.”

Nature’s Disease Fighter

Magnesium is one of the body’s most common essential minerals. It is found in the body’s muscles, bones, blood, and tissues. It is involved in regulating everything from blood pressure to heart activity, energy production, nervous system function, cell growth, bone density, muscle strength, and metabolism.

Magnesium is present in a range of foods, including spinach, wheat germ, bran cereals, brown rice, beans, tofu, soybeans, and nuts. But the problem is that decades of commercial agricultural processes have depleted the levels of magnesium and other nutrients in farm soils. This has resulted in less of the nutrients being in fruits and vegetables.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found the levels of nutrients in American-grown produce were as much as 38 percent higher in 1950 than they are today. A growing body of scientific evidence has shown that magnesium deficiency can raise the risk of a range of diseases.

Blood pressure: Over a four-year period, men with sufficient magnesium had a lower risk of hypertension than men consuming lower levels, according to a study of 30,000 men. A second survey of 8,000 women also found that the risk of hypertension decreased as dietary magnesium intake increased.

Heart disease, stroke: Magnesium helps regulate heart rate, says Chauncey Crandall, M.D., director of preventive medicine at the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic. “The mineral is particularly important for people who have had an irregular heartbeat,” he told Newsmax. “Magnesium helps suppress extra heartbeats.”

A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a 40 percent greater risk of sudden cardiac death among women with low levels of magnesium.

Several other studies have linked higher blood levels of magnesium to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

Diabetes: Magnesium is a key regulator of carbohydrate metabolism. It influences the release and activity of insulin, the hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. Low blood levels of magnesium are often seen in Type 2 diabetes patients.

Two major research projects, the “Nurses’ Health Study” and the “Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study,” that followed more than 170,000 people, have found the risk for Type 2 diabetes is greater in people with lower magnesium.

Osteoporosis: Calcium and vitamin D are important for bone health. But studies also show magnesium deficiency is a risk factor for postmenopausal osteoporosis. This is probably because magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and the hormones that regulate calcium absorption. Several studies have found that magnesium supplements and diets that meet the recommended daily allowances for the mineral improve bone mineral density.

In addition, Dean noted dozens of other studies have linked magnesium to a host of mental health benefits – in treating migraines, tension headaches, insomnia, depression, panic attacks, stress, and anxiety.

She said research has also found that adequate intake of magnesium can help in the prevention and treatment of such conditions as pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea, kidney stones, fibromyalgia, blood clots, fibrositis, tooth decay, insomnia, and muscle and nerve problems.

Are You At Risk?

One of the major problems with magnesium is that current diagnostic tests do not provide an accurate indication of whether a patient has a deficiency. “Doctors don’t have the tools to measure magnesium levels properly,” Dean explains. The best way to tell if you’re getting enough is to consider the long list of symptoms deficiency can cause.

Here are the most common: muscle cramps, twitching, heart palpitations, migraines, angina, irregular heartbeat, asthma, anxiety, fatigue, poor concentration, depression, numbness of hands or feet, back pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, PMS, and seizures. If you suffer from any of these problems regularly, you may have low levels of magnesium.

Finding the right supplement: However, not all magnesium supplements are the same. The primary side effects of taking the mineral are digestion problems and possible diarrhea. Cheaper supplements have a laxative effect. The solution is to take a quality, time-released supplement that allows your body to absorb the mineral slowly.

Seek out also pesticide free magnesium rich foods in the diet, which include seeds, whole grains, avocados, bananas, dried fruit, figs, artichokes, potatoes and especially leafy green vegetables. Add to these a high quality magnesium supplement, assuring the body of obtaining the level of magnesium it needs for highest function.