Okay, well, maybe bored. Maybe you’ll think it’s interesting if you’re of the geek stripe I am. Anyway…
Though many, many, many blogs are currently running around shrieking about magnesium deficiency as being the culprit behind many maladies- particularly in the US, the truth is, magnesium deficiency is a sort of murky area. The FDA has standards for the “recommended daily allowance” of most things: but the FDA sucks. The standards for most vitamins and minerals in the US are not only flawed, but they’re also typically a lot lower than the standards other countries have.
So, while one group may be saying there’s a problem with deficiency- another group is vehemently disagreeing based on current standards. Still, it doesn’t hurt to supplement, or increase the levels of magnesium in your diet. The problem, as I see it, is that most of these blogs don’t tell you about bioavailability- or the dangers inherent in many over the counter vitamins.
Now, there are a few conditions that do cause problems with magnesium. For instance, if you got a stomach bug. There are a few chronic conditions that can cause an imbalance as well- IBS, UC to name two. Additionally, if long periods of stress, overindulging in booze, salt, sodas, or coffee can also cause a hitch in your magnesium giddyup.
I am not a doctor. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I’m not even a certified nutritionist in my state because the red tape made me want to punch nuns. I’m a degree holding nutrition nerd. Take my advice for what it’s worth: someone’s rambling on the internet. Again, though, like I said, correcting this isn’t going to hurt anything- just don’t think I’m saying, “Oh, this’ll cure it all!” because I’m not. That stuff annoys me. Talk to your doctor, if you have ongoing medical concerns and decide to eat a supplement rather than what I suggest.
Possible Signs Of Magnesium Deficiency
One of the big ones is “restless leg syndrome” and other sleep issues. Low blood pressure, weakness, anxiety- those are also common signs of magnesium deficiency. Muscular problems such as weakness and spasms are also a common problem. There is a lot of speculation about other issues it can cause, and I hesitate to start listing- because it’s a big list, but people with Fibromyalgia may find some relief in upping their magnesium levels, too. I recently read a fascinating (To me, anyway) study about the impact of magnesium on NMDA or 5-HT3 receptors- two of the nerve receptors that have been thought to cause fibro pain- and magnesium does inhibit them in a very similar way to the disgusting, damaging, poisonous drug neurontin. (You’re not gonna tell me this crap is a miracle pill. I nearly became one of its many wrongful death cases.)
Anyway. I urge you to seek out actual studies and not just my anecdotes- or anyone else’s anecdotes if you have been being treated for any number of maladies that magnesium may be at play in- and inform yourself, draw your own conclusions. Me? I’m just going to correct some left out information in these screamy fear inducer freakout blogs. Because if you think popping a supplement alone is going to change your life: you need to read what I’m about to say.
Why You’re Not Getting Any Benefit From That Magnesium Supplement
First off, the very best sources of magnesium or any other nutrient you need is eating or drinking. Hands down- food sources rock. Great sources are whole grains, green leafies, nuts like brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pine nuts and walnuts, blackstrap molasses, squash and pumpkin seeds,spinach and beet greens, oatmeal, bananas, and potatoes with the skin on- eat the skin. There are quite a few herbs and spices that you can use that also have a good supply of magnesium- tarragon, poppy, sage, celery, and fennel off the top of my head. Tofu is also a big source- but I can’t recommend eating it or any other soy based product on a regular basis due to its impact on hormones. I just can’t. Sorry. That’s another rant.
There Is a Right Way and a Wrong Way To Do This!
Okay, you can pop a magnesium supplement if you want. That’s fine- it’s really none of my business what you do, but, I can tell you- if you don’t do these things alongside, you’re wasting your money. What annoys the hell out of me about most of these OMG YOU ARE DEFICIENT! blogs is bioavailability issues and concerns they do not address. I saw one about iron that actually did blow my mind- because it was that stupid. I thought, “Why on earth are you trying to sound like an expert? You SUCK.” A little tip- there are some very popular “medical” sites that seem credible. Except they’ve been written by often poorly paid freelance writers. That’s not to say the information is bad, but it can be. Point of fact- even if you supplement, you might only be absorbing about 20% of the magnesium you’re ingesting. Some of this cannot be helped. That’s just the way absorption goes- you’re going to leave some of it in the toilet. Some people claim transdermal is the way to go- but I haven’t seen any real evidence that made me think “Hmmm, time to develop a lotion.” Matter of fact, most of what I read on that made no sense.
The very best way to absorb as much nutrients as you can is in the food you eat. Our bodies are just awesome in their design. The act of chewing something, swallowing it, and the pathways it takes- all of that works in tandem to help the body get what it needs. It can’t if you’re not eating the foods you should be in the first place. This also shows you where a problem with your supplement may be- loads of them are pure crap that don’t break down, and so, they’re pretty much pointless.
As far as magnesium supplements go- if you grab your bottle and it says magnesium oxide, you’ve been had. It’s crap. Magnesium Chloride, on the other hand, has a much better and higher bioavailability. Now, as far as food based helpers- eat your giant dark leafy green salad with a steak. Magnesium+Protein= better absorption. Medium chain triglycerides also help, and if you don’t speak total nerd: coconut oil is a good source as is high quality palm kernel oil, Rocquefort and fetta cheeses, and cow’s milk is a so-so source.
Another thing you can do to help your body absorb magnesium is get outside in the sun. Let your body do its thing- this is by far and away better than attempting to supplement with the so-called “vitamin D” which…isn’t actually a vitamin at all.
I seriously don’t know how some of you guys blog out there- too many rules. Passive voice! Active voice! SEO! Run around your house nude twenty times, jump up and down, and then hit send to expand your reach! Blah blah blah.