The “Silent killer”: Magnesium deficiency: Are you at risks?
Magnesium deficiency has been named as a “silent killer” as it affects most people and they are not aware of it. Diagnosing magnesium deficiency is hard to spot and research has indicated that as much as 75% of the Australian population are deficient in magnesium.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are:
- Twitches, muscle cramps, muscle tension, neck pain and tension headaches. A person that is magnesium deficient often sighs a lot.
- Magnesium has a big role in the contraction of muscles in the body; a person that is magnesium deficient can suffer from urinary spasm, menstrual cramps, and may also be sensitive to light and noise.
- A person who is magnesium deficient can show frequent signs of shortness of breath and palpitations.
- Frequent salt and sugar cravings are evident for example frequent chocolate cravings.
- Numerous research also indicates that magnesium deficiency is a precursor for most diseases. This includes: liver diseases, hypoglycaemia, Raynaud’s Syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, fatigue and even depression.
Role of magnesium in the body
Magnesium has been identified as one of the most important elements that our body requires to function properly. Magnesium aids in:
- Regulation of blood pressure and blood sugar in our body.
- Magnesium is the primary mineral used by the bones and the heart; such as regulating heartbeat rhythms and helping with neurotransmitter functions.
- Helping our metabolism, enzyme function, energy production, and for balancing nitric oxide (NO) in the body.
- Aid in the digestion of fats and synthesis of protein in the body; which aids in muscle growth.
- Production of energy by the activation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate); primary source of energy in all living cells.
Causes of magnesium deficiency?
Most people are magnesium deficient a big causal factor for this is due to their diet; not eating enough magnesium rich foods and therefore are not meeting their body’s magnesium daily requirements. A person on average needs 420mg daily (male) and 320mg (female) for age 31 – 50 years old. Certain food types also can decrease the levels of magnesium in our body. Processed
foods, low fruits and low in vegetable diets can affect the magnesium level in the body. Caffeine consumption and taking certain medications like antibiotics (gentamycin) or diuretic tablet can also decreased the level of magnesium in the body. Consumption
of alcohol; causes the body to eliminate about 50 mg of magnesium through the kidneys.
How to recognise somebody who is magnesium deficient:
The most common way a doctor will diagnose magnesium deficiency is from a blood test. A blood test is ordered in a hospital when a doctor suspects that his patient’s showing obvious signs of magnesium deficiency; e.g. heart arrhythmias, muscle cramping or seizures. However, blood test is the least accurate way of identifying somebody who is magnesium deficient.
Magnesium minerals are mostly found in the bones, tissues and cells of the body. The blood test results of Magnesium levels indicate only 1% of the total magnesium in your body. Blood results may display ‘normal range values’ even though they are deficient.
The most accurate way of recognizing magnesium deficiency is through the symptoms that the person exhibits. Blood tests are often misleading when it comes to determining whether a person is magnesium deficient or not.
How do you correct magnesium deficiency?
There are 3 most common ways that magnesium can be corrected:
* Eating foods that are magnesium rich contents
* Taking magnesium supplements (Tablets) or
* the use of Topical magnesium spray
Magnesium rich foods
Eating magnesium rich foods can assist in maintaining the right level of magnesium in your body, these foods includes:
- Dark Leafy foods – including baby spinach, kale or Swiss chard.
- Fish – e.g. salmon or tuna
- Nuts and seeds – e.g. Cashew nuts, Brazilian nuts, or pecan nuts.
- Soybeans – including chick pea, lentils or beans (Legumes)
- Avocado and bananas
- Low fat yoghurt
- Dark chocolate
Taking magnesium tablets is another way of meeting your body’s daily magnesium requirements. Taking magnesium tablets can assist with correcting magnesium deficiency. A large number of people taking magnesium tablets as a their daily vitamins but unfortunately when taking magnesium tablets only 10% of the magnesium tablets is absorbed by the body; the remaining 90% are either
excreted or passes through the bowel. Magnesium oral supplements taken in large quantity can also have a laxative effect on the body.
Topical Magnesium Spray
Magnesium oil is NOT actual 'oil'; it’s simply called magnesium “oil” because of the oily feel of magnesium chloride suspended in water. (Please note that this is not the same magnesium found in Epsom salt. Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate. This is magnesium chloride and is better suited for topical absorption.)
Magnesium Topical spray use has been identified as the most effective way of taking magnesium. Taking magnesium oil topically (through the skin) can bypass digestion and absorbed directly into the bloodstream where magnesium are mostly required by the body. Magnesium oil can provide effective pain relief from aches, pain and other magnesium deficiency type symptoms within hours or even minutes. Magnesium oil can be applied by spraying to isolated parts of the body such as the thighs, arms, biceps or lower back and rub it onto the skin until the solution is quickly absorbed. Another method would be to apply the magnesium oil all over the body starting from the neckline all the way to your ankles.
One main benefit of topical application of magnesium oil is that; once sprayed onto the skin it is rapidly absorbed. Transdermal magnesium oil application can potentially avoid the side effects associated with taking oral magnesium e.g. stomach upset and laxative effect.
Magnesium Flakes also known as ‘magnesium salts’ or 'magnesium chloride flakes' is also another alternative way of taking magnesium replacement. Magnesium flakes are used for foot spa’s and baths, helps treat skin conditions, replaces the body's levels of magnesium and provides a relaxing home treatment. To use magnesium flakes; simply dissolve approximately (1 scoop) in water for a foot soak or dissolve 250g (2 scoop) into a bath and soak your body for about 30 minutes.
Downunder Oil magnesium flakes for example, is a popular product that is used by massage clinics and health across Australia.