Here’s why you may have a magnesium deficiency without even knowing it – and how to tell…
Despite the fact that studies show that most Americans are deficient in magnesium, it’s still a mineral that isn’t regularly included in routine blood tests. Even if it were, since only about 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in blood cells, it would be very hard to detect a deficiency. However, magnesium deficiency is not only common, but it can also be quite serious and is linked to many common illnesses and diseases.
According to Dr. Norman Shealy, “magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient.” This article states, “After oxygen, water, and basic food, magnesium may be the most important element needed by our bodies…” Magnesium is so important to our health that some doctors theorize that magnesium supplementation may actually be able to “cure” many common maladies.
So how can you know if you are deficient in magnesium? Here are a few early warning signs:
- Physical and mental fatigue
- Persistent under-eye twitch
- Tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck
- Pre-menstrual fluid retention and/or breast tenderness
Other possible manifestations of magnesium deficiency include:
- Low energy
- Seizures (and tantrums)
- Poor digestion
- PMS and hormonal imbalances
- Inability to sleep
- Muscle tension, spasm and cramps
- Calcification of organs
- Weakening of the bones
- Abnormal heart rhythm
Severe magnesium deficiency can result in low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). Magnesium deficiency is also associated with low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia). Magnesium levels drop at night, leading to poor REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycles and unrefreshed sleep. Headaches, blurred vision, mouth ulcers, fatigue and anxiety are also early signs of depletion.
Signs of severe magnesium deficiency include:
- Extreme thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Frequent urination
- Sores or bruises that heal slowly
- Dry, itchy skin
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurry vision that changes from day to day
- Unusual tiredness or drowsiness
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Frequent or recurring skin, gum, bladder or vaginal yeast infections
Magnesium deficiency is a predictor of diabetes and heart disease both; diabetics both need more magnesium and lose more magnesium than most people. In two new studies, in both men and women, those who consumed the most magnesium in their diet were least likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a report in the January 2006 issue of the journal Diabetes Care. Until now, very few large studies have directly examined the long-term effects of dietary magnesium on diabetes. Dr. Simin Liu of the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health in Boston says, “Our studies provided some direct evidence that greater intake of dietary magnesium may have a long-term protective effect on lowering risk,” said Liu, who was involved in both studies.
Magnesium supplements are cheap and widely available, so there is no need to suffer! If you think you may be deficient, consult with your doctor about beginning supplementation right away.