Magnesium deficiency is rampant. Here are some of the reasons for this epidemic of Magnesium deficiency.
- The typical western diet is low in food items that contain Magnesium. According to USDA ( United States Department of Agriculture) (18), only 1 out of 3 Americans consumes the recommended amounts of Magnesium in their diet.
- Phosphates in sodas, processed meats and other foods, combine with Magnesium to produce Magnesium phosphate, which is an insoluble compound and cannot be absorbed.
- Stress, both physical as well as psychological, causes a continuous release of adrenaline, which causes constriction of blood vessels, a rise in heart rate and an increased demand on the heart muscle. The body uses Magnesium to counteract all of these negative effects of excess adrenalin. Consequently, less magnesium is available for the rest of the body.
- Old age is also associated with low Magnesium due to a decrease in the absorption of dietary Magnesium.
- There are a number of medical conditions and drugs that can lower your Magnesium level.
Magnesium Glycinate is one of the best form of Magnesium supplement. because it is high absorption rate and usually dose not cause diarrhea.
Magnesium plays an important role in the normal functioning of each and very cell in our body. In particular, it is involved in energy and carbohydrate metabolism, insulin secretion, insulin action, muscle contraction and nerve conduction. Low levels of Magnesium increases your risk of insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, coronary artery spasms, muscle aches, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, dementia, lupus, menstrual cramping, systemic inflammation, osteoporosis, and kidney stones.
Magnesium Deficiency linked to Type 2 Diabetes
In a long-term, prospective study (15), researchers followed 85,060 women and 42,872 men who had no history of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline. After 18 years of follow-up in women and 12 years in men, the researchers discovered 4,085 and 1,333 cases of Type 2 diabetes, respectively. In their analysis, the researchers found a significant inverse association between magnesium intake and diabetes risk. In other words, the lower the magnesium intake, the higher the risk of developing diabetes.
In a well designed clinical study (16), researchers investigated the relationship between magnesium in the blood and the risk of developing diabetes in 12,128 middle-aged, non-diabetics during a 6 year follow-up. Authors concluded that low magnesium in the blood is a strong predictor of development of Type 2 diabetes, among white but not among black individuals.
Can Magnesium Supplementation Improve Diabetes?
This was a well-designed study (17). A total of 63 Type 2 diabetics, who also had decreased magnesium levels in the blood, received either 50 ml of Magnesium Chloride solution (containing 2.5 g of Magnesium Chloride) or a placebo for 16 weeks.
The researchers found that magnesium supplementation, as compared to placebo, showed a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose levels from 185 (10.3 mmol/l) to 144 mg/dl (8.0 mmol/l). HbA1c also decreased from 10.1% to 8.0%. In addition, magnesium supplementation decreased insulin resistance in these diabetics.
Medical Conditions That Can Cause Magnesium Deficiency:
The following medical conditions can give rise to low Magnesium level.
- Uncontrolled diabetes causes an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
- Chronic malabsorption diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Celiac sprue cause a decrease in the absorption of Magnesium.
- Stomach or intestinal bypass surgery causes a decrease in the absorption of Magnesium
- Chronic pancreatic insufficiency causes a decrease in the absorption of Magnesium
- Alcoholism causes a decrease in the absorption of Magnesium
- Acute kidney injury, called Acute Tubular Necrosis, causes an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine
Drugs That Can Cause Magnesium Deficiency:
Diuretics, especially Lasix (Furosemide) and Hydrochlorthiazide, which are so commonly used in diabetics for their high blood pressure and weak heart. These drugs cause an excessive wasting of Magnesium in the urine.
Heartburn and anti-ulcer medications, if used for prolonged periods (more than one year): These drugs include Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), AcipHex (rabeprazole), Dexilant (dexlansoprazole). Magnesium in diet as well in Magnesium supplements need to be broken down by Hydrochloric acid in the stomach before it can be absorbed. The above-mentioned medicines drastically reduce the amount of Hydrochloric acid in the stomach. That’s how they interfere with the absorption of Magnesium.
Steroids such as Hydrocortisone, Prednisone and Dexamethasone cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
Estrogen, in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
Asthma medications such as epinephrine, isoproterenol and aminophylline, cause more consumption of Magnesium in the cells of the blood vessels to counteract the effects of adrenaline, which creates relative deficiency of Magnesium for the rest of the body.
Antibiotics such as Garamycin (gentamycin), Nebcin (tobramycin), carbenicillin, ticarcillin, and tetracyclines cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
Anti-fungal drugs: amphotericin B, Pentamidine, cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
Certain Anti-cancer drugs cause an increased loss of Magnesium in the urine.
It’s no surprise that we are facing an epidemic of Magnesium deficiency.
Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency
Common symptoms of low Magnesium level include:
- Muscle spasms and cramps
- Irregular heart beat/heart arrhythmias/Atrial fibrillation
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain to spasm of coronary arteries
- Chronic fatigue
- Migraine headaches
- Menstrual cramping
- Menopausal symptoms
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of balance
How To Diagnose Magnesium Deficiency
There is a blood test available for Magnesium level in the blood. However, this test diagnoses only severe cases of Magnesium deficiency, because 99% of Magnesium is inside the cells and only about 1% is present in the blood.
The best way to diagnose Magnesium deficiency is through your symptoms, your eating habits, presence of medical diseases and use of medicine, as mentioned above. If you suspect you have Magnesium deficiency, increase your consumption of foods rich in Magnesium and/or take Magnesium supplements, and see what happens to your symptoms. The good news is that in general, Magnesium supplements are safe in individuals without any kidney disease. However, toxicity can develop in patients with kidney disease. Many Magnesium supplements can also causes loose stools.
Dietary Sources Of Magnesium
The best way to get Magnesium is through foods that are high in Magnesium. Good dietary sources of Magnesium are seeds, nuts, dark leafy green vegetables and fish. These foods are also important for your overall health, especially if you are a diabetic.
Other foods that contain some quantities of Magnesium include beans, lentils, whole grains and figs.
Seeds and Nuts:
Pumpkin and squash seeds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, pecans, walnuts.
Seeds and nuts are highly beneficial for your overall health, especially if you are a diabetic. For example, almonds are loaded with good fats (monounsaturated fatty acids), and can help to increase your HDL (good) cholesterol. Almonds are a good source of Biotin, fiber and Vitamin E. Almonds and other nuts also slow down the emptying of the stomach and consequently, slow down the rise in blood sugar after a meal. Therefore, a handful of nuts after a meal is much better for your health than traditional desserts.
Pumpkin seeds are important for your prostate health. Brazil nuts are a great source of Selenium, which is important for the normal functioning of your thyroid, immune cells and prostate gland. However, too much Selenium can cause toxicity. About 1 or 2 Brazil nuts a day provide enough selenium for your body.
Note: Raw nuts are better than roasted nuts, as roasting decreases the amount of available Magnesium.
Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and kale.
Mackerel, Halibut, Pollock, tuna, and most other fish.
Beans and Lentils
White beans, French beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, chickpeas (garbanzo), soy Beans, and lentils.
Quinoa, millet, wheat, brown rice. However, diabetics should consume whole grains in small quantities, as these foods are rich in carbohydrates and can significantly raise your blood sugars.
If you cannot increase the ingestion of foods that are high in Magnesium, then the alternative is a Magnesium supplement. The daily recommended dose of Magnesium is about 400 mg. In general, Magnesium supplements are safe in individuals without any kidney disease, but toxicity can develop in patients with kidney disease. Oral supplements can sometimes cause loose stools, indicating a need to reduce dosage or change the type of Magnesium supplement.
Types Of Magnesium Supplements:
A number of Magnesium supplements are available. These include:
- Magnesium glycinate
- Magnesium taurate
- Magnesium chloride
- Magnesium lactate
- Magnesium oxide
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium sulfate/ Magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia)
- Magnesium carbonate
- Magnesium threonate
Magnesium glycinate supposedly has the best absorption.
Magnesium taurate is supposed to provide a calming effect on your mind
Magnesium chloride has good absorption, but contains only about 12% of Magnesium. In comparison, Magnesium oxide contains about 60% of Magnesium.
Magnesium citrate and Milk of Magnesia are also stool-softeners.
Magnesium carbonate has antacid properties.
Magnesium threonate is a newer supplement. Supposedly, it works better at the cellular level.
You can choose what type of Magnesium supplement works for you. If you develop loose stools, change to a different preparation and/or lower the dose. In general, Magnesium glycinate does not cause diarrhea.
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