Ask a person if they have any concerns about deficiencies in their diet, and typically one hears about protein, calcium, iron, or even water. Almost never would you hear someone expressing concerns about getting enough magnesium. However, the reality is that 75% of us aren’t getting enough, leading the lack of magnesium to be called the “invisible deficiency.”
Every organ in your body requires magnesium. There are over 3700 magnesium binding sites in your body, indicating the importance of this mineral, and our probable underestimation of it. And even if you had a blood test, chances are it would not be a good indicator of your true magnesium status since only 1% is stored in the blood.
Reasons for deficiency are due in part to modern farming practices and overall depletion in the soil. Another reason is our high consumption of magnesium-depleting foods including all processed foods and soft drinks. In addition, many medications Americans rely upon also deplete the body of magnesium including birth control pills, blood pressure pills, diuretics, and cholesterol-lowering medications.
Why is magnesium so important? In fact, it is important enough that many healthcare providers consider it their secret weapon because it can make such a difference in a patient’s health and outlook. Some of the biggest benefits of adequate magnesium include protection against heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It may also lower your risk of cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Sleep and mood are other big hitters connected with adequate magnesium leading the mineral to be called the “relaxation mineral” or “chill pill.” And if you are someone that suffers from headaches or migraines, magnesium may bring big relief.
To increase your intake of magnesium, focus on rich dietary sources beginning with leafy green vegetables. Seeds are also great sources such as flax, sesame, and sunflower. Almonds and other nuts are another terrific source. Black beans, avocado, yogurt, and bananas round out the top options. Sometimes supplementation helps fill in the gaps. The typical adult dose is 400 to 1000 mg spread throughout the day. You can also improve your magnesium status by taking regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. The magnesium present in the Epsom salt can be absorbed through the skin.
So no matter how you do it, increase the magnesium in your diet and reap its many rewards.