We all know that there are 4 macro nutrients; carbohydrates, proteins and fat. But there are also micronutrients which consist of several trace minerals that the body requires in minute amounts. Deficiency of any such trace mineral can lead to innumerable health problems. Lets learn about one such trace mineral, what health issues they can potentially cause and how can we replenish it in out body.
Magnesium controls and is required for over 300 different biochemical reactions and functions in the human body. In fact the human body has over 3,500 magnesium binding sites. Binding sites in the body show how much of magnesium is required in the human body in different areas. They are present in the brain, in your body, into your central nervous system, into your organs like kidney and the heart, into your cells, into the nucleus of your cells. This shows how important Magnesium is. Today we have diets deficient in magnesium and just adding magnesium rich foods or supplements to our diet is not enough.
In holistic alternative medicine we aim at the following points
1.) Why are you deficient in magnesium?
2.) What are those lifestyles or medicines that are depleting your body of magnesium?
Magnesium plays an important role in ailments related to hormonal issues like PCOS, the inability to conceive, struggle through menopause, falling hair, quality of skin, the inability to lose weight or the reason why you’re putting on so much of weight, cardiovascular problems, heart attacks, repair of your cells, diabetes, immunity and many more.
Depletion & Replenishment
Let’s understand why we are depleting magnesium. I see cramps in marathon runners every single year. They get these cramps in their calf muscles and in their stomach and it’s not only because of lack of training. It’s because of a simple deficiency of magnesium and eighty percent of the runners who come to me for consulting and training throughout the year, we just correct their magnesium deficiency and the cramps disappear. The over consumption of sugar, phosphates, synthetic calcium, vitamin d3, coffee, alcohol, aerated makes us deficient in magnesium. When you have a diet that’s rich in junk food or your kids are eating too much of junk food, the saturated and Trans fats in junk food does not allow absorption of magnesium in your intestines. Sugar basically accelerates excretion of magnesium from your kidneys. So the more sugar you have your kidneys actually start excreting more magnesium. Phosphates are found in almost all aerated drinks. They basically bind with magnesium making it unsuitable and unusable by the body and then it’s excreted out of the system. Then of course there’s a direct correlation between cortisol which is your stress hormone. When you have elevated levels of cortisol, it depletes magnesium from your body. So again it’s your lifestyle that is making you deficient in magnesium.
Today people just supplement calcium because the doctor say calcium is good for you, Calcium prevents osteoporosis you need for your bones. India and the US are the highest consumers of calcium and vitamin d3 supplements. And India and the US have the highest amount of cases when it comes to osteoporosis and poor bone health. There is no direct correlation between calcium and osteoporosis. We need calcium for good bone health but we need the right quality of calcium and we need the right amount of d3 and magnesium to absorb calcium from the foods that you eat. So just taking more and more calcium actually depletes you of magnesium because calcium requires magnesium for absorption. We actually look at getting calcium naturally from food sources like sesame or til seeds, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. If you have a balanced diet you get sufficient calcium. We do supplement with calcium when you’re going through pregnancy or you’re starting menopause at certain stages in your life if you’re deficient in calcium but it’s a myth thinking that you need more calcium in order to prevent osteoporosis and bone diseases
In India if a patient has oedema or water retention he is advised to take elastics. It’s required for some time but if you take elastics without replenishing magnesium your kidneys are basically flushing out all your magnesium from the body and then you have more issues because of the magnesium deficiency.
If you need to take a diuretic, you should also be supplementing with magnesium or eating foods which are rich in magnesium.
If you’re on a pill or an oral contraceptive, high oestrogen levels deplete magnesium from your system. Be sure that you take the right amount of magnesium in your diet.
Most anti-cancer drugs, chemo, radiation, surgeries, burns, liver diseases, hormonal disorders deplete you of magnesium. So if you’re going through any of these treatments it is absolutely critical to replenish magnesium. Every patient of mine who goes through either surgery, radiation or chemo or heavy drug prescriptions have to be on magnesium because if they’re not a magnesium, even the best diet plan in the world is not going to work and then your medicine is going to create side effects and the patient is going to suffer from the collateral damage of the primary medication taken.
Magnesium also plays an important role in protein synthesis. if you don’t have the right amount of magnesium, the amino acids that actually contributes towards the building of lean mass and muscles it doesn’t get transported. Magnesium acts as a transporter for amino acids to your muscles. All these protein powders have a high protein diet but being deficient in magnesium actually causes more harm in your body right from nerve function. So sometimes that constant fatigue or brain fog that you feel in your head could be a magnesium deficiency. You suffer from migraines or headaches. So make sure you don’t have a magnesium deficiency.
Your central nervous system requires magnesium for all of its functions, so if you have a deficiency of magnesium you are impacting the efficiency of your central nervous system. So all those constant pains that you have and you keep taking a painkiller which basically depletes you of magnesium can be fixed or possibly made better by looking at your magnesium intake in your diet. The deficiency of magnesium also causes issues with your blood pressure.
Magnesium plays a role in energy metabolism. Everything is about energy. You could be eating carbohydrates, proteins and fats but if you don’t have the right micronutrients in your system to metabolise or break down those carbs, proteins and fats, the energy is useless.
You need magnesium in the right amounts to produce the antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione is required for cellular health. Right from DNA repair, cell division, cell repair and cell growth everything that someone going through cancer is looking for because we all know cancer and most diseases originate from a cell which makes cellular health the most important part of healing, recovery and prevention.
Magnesium is needed for enzymatic functions. Everything in your body requires an enzyme to break it down right from your saliva, right from digestion in your stomach right from assimilation of the food that you eat into nutrients and making it absorbed into your cells and reaching your cells require enzymes and the production of enzymes, the health of enzymes and the generation of enzymes require magnesium. So sometimes you have indigestion problems and you do everything to fix it but all you need to do sometimes make sure that your body has the right micronutrient or a trace mineral which is magnesium in order to produce the right amount of digestive enzymes which if your body has you don’t have indigestion. This one trace mineral could be possible solution to multiple ailments that you may be facing in your body, right now.
Sources of Magnesium
The foods rich in magnesium are spinach, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, entire green leafy vegetables, avocado and bananas. Most doctors tell diabetic patients not to eat banana. But banana contains magnesium and magnesium is required in the healing of diabetes. Most diabetic patients are deficient in magnesium. You need magnesium if you have osteoporosis, cardiovascular issues, triglycerides, cholesterol issues, type1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, cancer, liver problem. You need magnesium for every single function in the human body. So when we cut out good foods like fruits and bananas thinking that my levels look better on paper you are not healing, you are only suppressing your symptom and you will suffer from the side effects of suppressing your symptom. Dark chocolate contains high amounts of magnesium. Black beans, yogurt, caffeine, contains magnesium.
So if you have the right amount of calcium, magnesium and d3 you ensure a hundred percent bioavailability. Make sure that you are getting these little sources of magnesium rich food every single day and listen to bio feedback from your body. Supplement it with the right food, the right supplement and then you help your body get the nutrition it needs to keep you healthy.