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Magnesium: The relaxation mineral

Magnesium is a nutrient that is vital for human functioning. Magnesium is known for over 300 biochemical processes in the body. Magnesium is a nutrient that can help with cellular function and protein synthesis. Magnesium assists with muscle and nerve function and is beneficial with blood sugar and blood pressure control. Magnesium is known as the “relaxation” mineral. If you feel tightness, stiffness, pain, irritability from physical to mood, think magnesium deficiency. Below are signs and symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

​• Muscle cramps or twitches

• Muscle pain, tightness

• Insomnia

• Irritability

• Anxiety


• Palpitations

• Angina

​• Constipation

• Anal spasms

• Headaches

• Migraines

• Fibromyalgia

• Chronic fatigue

• Kidney stones

• Diabetes

• Trouble swallowing

​• Osteoporosis

• High blood pressure


• Menstrual cramps

• Irritable bladder

• Irritable bowel syndrome

• Reflux

• Insulin resistance

Reason for Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is common because of our current farming practice with topsoil erosion that decreases magnesium in our foods. A reliance on processed foods decreases intake of magnesium. An intake of alcohol and sodas actually deplete magnesium in our body. Poor gut health affects digestion and absorption of magnesium.

A myriad of vitamins and minerals are needed to aid the absorption and utilization of magnesium, such as Vitamin B6, selenium and Vitamin D. A high dose intake of Vitamin D supplement is a catch-22 and can develop a magnesium deficiency. Many of us are deficient in Vitamin D and need magnesium to convert vitamin D into its final and useful form in the body. Other reasons for magnesium deficiency are calcium supplementation (competition in absorption), high sugar intake, strenuous exercise, heavy menses, medications (diuretics, antacids, PPIs) and high stress lives.

Lab test

Magnesium deficiency is hard to assess through traditional lab blood best. Magnesium is predominantly found in cells and bones. A serum blood test is available but does not account for the cellular magnesium levels. A more accurate test is a RBC (red blood cell) magnesium test that measures the level of magnesium in red blood cells.

Magnesium-Rich Foods

Magnesium is found in many foods, from vegetables, fruits, fiber rich whole grains, legumes and nuts and seeds. In today's society, people are not reaching the recommended dietary intake of magnesium of 400-420mg for men and 310-320mg for women.

Listed below are magnesium-rich foods. The overall message is to eat a diverse, whole food diet to maximize intake of nutrient-dense foods.

Nuts and Seeds

  • Chia seeds

  • Flaxseeds

  • Cashew

  • Almonds

Fiber-rich whole grains

  • Quinoa


  • Black Beans

  • Edamame

Dark Chocolate Green leafy vegetables Avocado Yogurt

Stop Draining Your Body of Magnesium

• Limit coffee, colas, salt, sugar, and alcohol

• Learn how to practice active relaxation

• Ask your doctor if your medication causes magnesium loss (many hypertension or diuretic drugs can cause this)

Magnesium Supplements

Not all forms of magnesium supplements are created equal. Depending on the symptom or concern, then one magnesium supplement would be better than another. One thing to note is that the most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate, malate, or taurate. Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. These magnesium formulations are poorly absorbed (and are the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements). A common side effect from too much magnesium includes diarrhea (often avoided if you switch to magnesium glycinate. Most minerals are best taken as a team with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula. Another effective way to obtain magnesium is through Epsom salt baths (magnesium sulfate) without GI effects. A consideration is for people with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under a doctor's supervision. Lastly, starting a supplement would be advised to discuss with your primary care physician.

Magnesium is a mineral that has many wonderful functions in the body. Eating a variety of nutritious whole foods is beneficial in obtaining the vitamins and minerals needed for daily functioning.

Remember to maximize nutrition over crap food.
Minimize stress.
Prioritize rest, mindfulness, and joy.


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