DEFICIENCY IN THIS CRITICAL nutrient makes you twice as likely to die as other people, according to a study published in The Journal of Intensive Care Medicine. (i) It also accounts for a long list of symptoms and diseases — which are easily helped and often cured by adding this nutrient. In fact, in my practice, this nutrient is one of my secret weapons against illness. Up to half of Americans are deficient in this nutrient and don’t know it. I’m talking about magnesium, the most powerful relaxation mineral known to man.
It is an antidote to stress, the most powerful relaxation mineral available, and it can help improve your sleep. I find it very funny that more doctors aren’t clued into the benefits of magnesium because we use it all the time in conventional medicine. But we never stop to think about why or how important it is to our general health or why it helps our bodies function better.
I remember using magnesium when I worked in the emergency room. It was a critical “medication” on the crash cart. If someone was dying of a life-threatening arrhythmia (or irregular heartbeat), we used intravenous magnesium. When someone was constipated or needed to prepare for a colonoscopy, we gave them milk of magnesia or a green bottle of liquid magnesium citrate, which emptied their bowels. If pregnant women came in with pre-term labor, or high blood pressure of pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) or seizures, we gave them continuous high doses of intravenous magnesium.
The reason we are so deficient is simple: Many of us eat a diet that contains practically no magnesium — a highly-processed, refined diet that is based mostly on white flour, meat, and dairy (all of which have no magnesium).
When was the last time you had a good dose of sea vegetables (seaweed), nuts, greens, and beans? If you are like most Americans, your nut consumption mostly comes from peanut butter, and mostly in chocolate peanut butter cups.
Much of modern life conspires to help us lose what little magnesium we do get in our diet. Magnesium levels are decreased by excess alcohol, salt, coffee, phosphoric acid in colas, profuse sweating, prolonged or intense stress, chronic diarrhea, excessive menstruation, diuretics (water pills), antibiotics and other drugs, and some intestinal parasites. In fact, in one study in Kosovo, people under chronic war stress lost large amounts of magnesium in their urine.
This is all further complicated by the fact that magnesium is often poorly absorbed and easily lost in our bodies. To properly absorb magnesium we need a lot of it in our diet, plus enough vitamin B6, vitamin D, and selenium to get the job done.
A recent scientific review of magnesium concluded, “It is highly regrettable that the deficiency of such inexpensive, low-toxicity nutrient results in diseases that cause incalculable suffering and expense throughout the world.” (ii) I couldn’t have said it better myself.
It is difficult to measure and hard to study, but magnesium deficiency accounts for untold suffering — and is simple to correct. So if you suffer from any of the symptoms I mentioned or have any of the diseases I noted, don’t worry — it is an easy fix!! Here’s how.
Stop Draining Your Body of Magnesium
Limit coffee, colas, salt, sugar, and alcohol.
Learn how to practice active relaxation.
Check with your doctor if your medication is causing magnesium loss (many high blood pressure drugs or diuretics cause loss of magnesium).
Eat Foods High in Magnesium
Include the following in your diet as often as you can:
Kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, soybeans, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens, and garlic
Take Magnesium Supplements
The RDA (the minimum amount needed) for magnesium is about 300 mg a day. Most of us get far less than 200 mg.
Some may need much more depending on their condition.
Most people benefit from 400 to 1,000 mg a day.
The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good.
Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. Our body absorbs them poorly (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements).
Side effects from too much magnesium include diarrhea. (Avoid it with switching to magnesium glycinate)
Most minerals are best taken as a team with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula.
Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) lets your body absorb and get much-needed magnesium.
People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor’s supervision.
So if you’re coping with the symptoms here, relax! Magnesium is truly a miracle mineral. It is essential for vibrant lifelong health.
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Do you suffer from any of the symptoms I’ve mentioned?
Do you currently take a magnesium supplement? What results have you noticed?
Which of the tips mentioned above do you plan to try?
Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD
- Tong, GM and RK Rude. 2005. Magnesium deficiency in critical illness. J Intensive Care Med 20 (1):3-17. Review.
- Johnson. 2001. The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency. Med Hypotheses 56(2): 163-70
This article (The reason why magnesium is the most powerful relaxation mineral known to man) was created and published by Why Don’t You Try This and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Why Don’t You Try This.
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