The importance of magnesium

Magnesium is the forth most abudant mineral in the body and is involved in over 300 chemical reactions from energy production to protein synthesis to the prouction of cortisol or serotoin. Magnesium is considered a relaxing mineral, it helps relax and widen the arteries to lower blood pressure, it helps to relax the bowel and aid constipation, it calms the mind and aids sleep. Magnesium is also very important for cardiac muscle function helping to regulate the heart beat.

From doing metabolic tests on athletes and the general population alike magnesium is the most commonly deficient mineral I see. This is supported by scientific research. Volume 5 of The National Diet and Nutrition Survey conducted by the Department of Health in 2004 reported the average daily intake of vitamins and minerals for adults in the UK. Over the years these reports have demonstrated the proportion of men and women with low intakes of vitamins and minerals from food sources. Dietary analysis demonstrated there were low intakes of many vitamins and minerals including magnesium. The reasons for this are twofold, 1) not many people eat an abundance of food containing magnesium such as green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, and 2) the foods we do eat are deficient in magnesium as there is less magnesium in the soil.

In 2005, the independent Food Commission’s Food Magazine reported that fruits and vegetables were 20% lower in mineral content in 1980 compared to 1930. More specifically it suggested vegetables contained 24% less magnesium. In 2006 the Food Commission reported 10% less magnesium when comparing mineral content of meat from the 1930s to food tables published by the Government in 2002. There was also 25% less magnesium in dairy products.

It’s always a good idea to establish you magnesium levels before you embark on a high dose magnesium supplementation programme to boost your body stores. Most doctors will order a serum magnesium test, however this tells you nothing as serum levels of magnesium are tightly controlled and a deviance outside of this level would cause death. It’s much more pertinent to look at red cell magnesium as red cell levels can be low even if serum levels are normal – which would reflect a magnesium deficiency.

To restore magnesium Charles Poliquin recommends that women need to take 1200mg of magnesium and men need to take 2000mg per day, 60% of it should be oral and 40% of it should be topical.

Here is how to do that:

• Take 2-4 capsules of magnesium with dinner
• Take 2-4 capsules of magnesium before bed
• Put 2 squirts of Topical Mag behind each knee just before you sleep

I have used this protocol in clinical practice to help people lose weight and can report the patients report much better and deeper sleep once ramping up their magnesium levels.

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