At least 68% of Americans are deficient in magnesium, you can make matters worse by being an athlete, where it has been found that over 90% of athletes are magnesium deficient.
Why is magnesium so important?
Magnesium is the forth most abundant mineral in the body. It is responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. These reactions range from ATP synthesis (energy production) to cortisol management (stress) to protein synthesis. The majority of magnesium is found in the soft tissues of the body and the bones, less than 1% is found in the blood. Unless ordered properly, blood tests for Magnesium are only slightly accurate at best. The reason for this is that the blood needs to keep a very specific ratio of magnesium in it for the heart to function properly. So a standard magnesium blood test, known as serum magnesium, will not reveal a "true" reading of your overall magnesium level and deficiency. You need to ask your doctor for a specific test known as the Red Blood Cell Magnesium test. This is the most accurate method to determine you level of magnesium.
What conditions can be caused by magnesium deficiency?
Chronic fatigue syndrome, PMS, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disorders, abdominal body fat gain, poor sleep, stress, osteoporosis, and constipation, the list can go on.
What are the benefits?
Besides not developing any of the above conditions, here are some great studies on the benefit of magnesium.
Afraid of osteoporosis? A group of postmenopausal women suffering from osteoporosis received 250/750 mg/day of magnesium a day for 2 years noticed a drop in bone loss by 87% and an increase in bone density by 8%, as opposed to the control group which lost 1% of bone density a year.
Along with Vitamin D, magnesium is just as important at preventing bone loss. Calcium is important, but typically over utilized in relation to these other two supplements at preventing osteoporosis.
Want more energy while you train? A group of elite rowers were given 500 mg of magnesium and significant increases in oxygen uptake were seen in the group using magnesium as opposed to the placebo group.
Sleep improves with magnesium, in a study conducted in England found that those with lower than normal magnesium levels had poorer sleep quality and more frequent disturbances in the night.
This study can go right along with poor cortisol management. Magnesium can lower cortisol, if cortisol remains high, sleep will be disturbed. Typically stressed wired people have poor levels of magnesium.
A classic sign of magnesium deficiency is poor energy levels. Restoring magnesium levels is always associated with increased energy levels. If you take magnesium before bed and you cannot fall asleep, it is a sign that you are extremely deficient in magnesium. If that is the case you need to take magnesium earlier in the day, magnesium should help you fall asleep.
How to supplement with magnesium?
The best sources of magnesium are fish high in omega 3's, nuts, greens, and some whole grains. But most people still will not get adequate levels of magnesium by just diet alone. Too many factors can play a role in poor absorption from poor soil and pesticides lowering the levels in food to poor digestion. Most suggest between 400-1000 mg/day of supplemental magnesium, I typically recommend a slightly higher amount than the US RDA. The Russian RDA for women is 500 to 1200 mg/day, which I feel is more adequate for most Americans.
The best way is to include a supplement of magnesium into your daily routine. The magnesium salts typically are poorly absorbed and it is best to go with a chelated form and typically one bound to glycinate, fumarte, aspartate, or orotate. Also, topical magnesium is another great way to supplement, it is not only absorbed very well, but great for children who are also low in magnesium. From my own personal experience, children who have trouble sleeping or going to sleep this product works great.
As you can see magnesium is a supplement that should be included on you must use list. American's intake of magnesium is very low, and this can lead to a host of conditions, all of which can be prevented or better managed through a supplement that is not only inexpensive but easily available.
Magnesium a "best bang for your buck" supplement!
Waterfall Health and Nutrition Database. Magnesium 2000
Magnesium Deficiency: A Growing Health Crisis, Why this relatively unknown mineral is more important than you think (12/15/2009)
by Charles Poliquin. www.charlespoliquin.com
Seaman, David. Clinical Nutrition for pain, inflammation and tissue healing. 1998, Nutrianalysis Inc. 73-77.
Ebel H. Gunther T. Magnesium metabolism: a review J. Clin. Chem. Biochem. 1980: 18:257-270.
National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium [web page]. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp. Accessed December 13, 2009.