There’s a lot of talk about the importance of magnesium these days. But what really is it, do you need it and how do you know if you’re deficient?
Magnesium is an important mineral that the body uses in over 300 physiological processes. Because it’s deeply tied to so many biochemical processes, magnesium deficiency is connected with a number of health challenges and diseases. Magnesium insufficiency is becoming commonplace because it’s not as prevalent in our farm soil (so our food doesn’t carry as much as it used to), the standard American diets are filled with processed foods which lack nutrient and mineral density and lack of getting nutrients into the cells even if you eat enough due to low stomach acid, leaky gut or other health challenges.
Magnesium Deficient Symptoms
So what does being deficient in magnesium feel like? Here are just a few common symptoms:
- Headaches & migranes
- Chronic pain
- Sleep challenges
Individuals who have Type 2 Diabetes (or prediabetes, insulin resistance) and those who take Proton Pump Inhibitors and diuretic medications can be more susceptible to magnesium deficiency.
Which magnesium is right for me?
Eating a diet rich in magnesium-boosting foods is a great place to start: Swiss chard, wild-caught fish, avocado, sea vegetables, nuts and of course dark chocolate.
Supplementation-wise there are a few different forms so it can easily be confusing. Magnesium can be found in pill, powder, oil, liquid and salt forms. An epsom salt bath is a great place to start and it’s a wonderful ritual before bed to set the body up for sleep. Here’s a short round up of the other magnesium options:
- Magnesium Citrate: Great option for constipation.
- Magnesium Glycinate: Good for spasm, tension, tightness and headaches.
- Magnesium Taurate: Can be helpful for depression, anxiety, and attention deficit it’s both an amino acid and a neurotransmiter which can help rebalance calming GABA.
- Magnesium Threonate: Threonate actually penetrates the blood-brain barrier and provides calming to the nervous system, so helpful with anxiety and sleep.
- Magnesium Oxide: this a cheap, poorly absorbed form; much better options are available to choose from.
What to do
Ask your doctor to test it. It’s a very simple blood test called RBC magnesium. Note that’s very typical to run a ‘serum magnesium’ test, but this marker reflects magnesium status from the past couple of days (which could be inaccurate based on what you ate yesterday) while the RBC maker will reflect the past few months. Insist on the RBC magnesium marker.
Reach out if you need help with getting this blood marker, or with supplementation help.
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