Magnesium–“The Relaxer”

If magnesium is removed from a cow’s diet, the cow will stumble.  Could it be because magnesium deficiency can contribute to the deterioration of bones and teeth, irritability of the nervous system, and muscular spasms?  Magnesium is needed by every cell in the body, including the heart, brain, and kidneys.

Nearly 70% of this essential mineral is located in the bones.

Magnesium relaxes muscles, including the heart muscle.

Magnesium activates more than 300 reactions necessary for metabolism, including converting glucose into energy, making proteins, and metabolizing fats.

Magnesium helps the body to absorb calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and potassium, and aids its use of vitamins C, E, and B-complex.  A deficiency of magnesium could lead to deficiencies of other nutrients.

The body will absorb the amount of required magnesium from the small intestine and excrete excess via the kidneys.  Sufficient vitamin D is needed for efficient absorption of magnesium.

Our diets are often lacking in magnesium due to the refining of grains (white flour).  Magnesium is found in the wheat germ, which is removed during refining.

Produce is commonly low in magnesium due to its being grown in magnesium-deficient soil.

The high consumption of nutrient-poor processed sugar takes the place of magnesium-rich foods in our diets.

An imbalance of magnesium can be created by taking calcium supplements without balancing its intake with magnesium.

Low levels of magnesium are often found in the following cases:

blood sugar imbalances

those who take diuretics

chronic alcoholism

autoimmune conditions

kidney/urinary tract problems (oxalate stones and calcium deposits)

bones and skeletal muscle issues (backache, neck pain, tension headaches, cramps, muscle twitches)


cardiovascular problems (spasms, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, low HDL)

low levels of vitamin D

nervous system disorders (depression, hyperactivity, irritability, panic attacks)

tooth decay (magnesium helps form hard tooth enamel that resists decay)

excessive intake of caffeine (diuretic effect)

According to The Nutrition Almanac by John D. Kirschmann and Nutrition Search, Inc. (Sixth Edition, 2007), magnesium has commonly been used to treat fibromyalgia, glaucoma, kidney stones, migraines, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, diabetes, PMS, alcoholism, high blood pressure, preeclampsia and eclampsia in pregnancy, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, osteoporosis, and musculoskeletal disorders.

The average recommended daily amount is 400 milligrams.  The typical American diet is estimated to provide about 120 milligrams per 1,000 calories consumed.  Then, we have to take into account other factors, like absorption, caffeine and sugar intake, stress levels, medications, digestive health, and other nutrient deficiencies.

Magnesium is found in all chlorophyll-rich green plant foods, making it beneficial to include fresh green vegetables in our diets on a daily basis.  Other good sources of magnesium are 100% whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.  Seafood, figs, dates, and garlic are also rich in magnesium.

I don’t often recommend isolated supplements, but if you feel that you have a deficiency of this vital mineral, you might want to consider taking the recommended amount of 400 milligrams a day in a form like magnesium citrate or malate.  Check with your health care provider first.  I take Magnesium Complex from Nature’s Sunshine.

Supplements can never replace the addition of real, whole, nutrient-dense foods in our diets!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.


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