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A Senate report documented that we are growing our vegetables, grains and fruits in soils that are depleted of the necessary minerals needed to give us the correct balance of nutrients when we eat them. In fact they are so depleted that we are starving for these minerals no matter how much of these foods we eat. Laboratory tests proved the vegetables, eggs, grains and other foods we are eating are not as nutritious as they were generations ago. Scary? You haven’t heard it all….this report was written in 1936!
Six Signs You May Have a Deficiency
One of the most overlooked mineral deficiencies is magnesium. It is estimated that as many as 80% of us are deficient in magnesium. How do you know if you are deficient? There are many symptoms, but these six are some of the most common according to Liz Lipski, nutritionist and author of Digestive Wellness.
- Eyelids twitching
- Muscles twitching
- Menstrual cramps
- Muscles very tense at the end of the day
- Sleep disturbances
- Sensitive to Noise
What Does Magnesium Do?
Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, is probably one of the leading authorities on magnesium deficiency and nutrition. She explains that magnesium is crucial to good health. It is responsible for hundreds of important processes in our body. It activates our muscles and nerves. It creates energy in our cells. It helps digest proteins, carbs and fats. It is a building block for our DNA as well as RNA. It is even part of the process that builds our “feel good” neurotransmitters like serotonin.
What About Calcium?
Everyone has heard about calcium. Lots of people take calcium supplements thinking they are helping their bones. What you may not know is that you need to supplement with equal amounts of magnesium! The two minerals work in balance with each other. In fact they work best in a synergistic balance of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K2. When these four nutrients are in a plentiful balance you will be helping care for your bones, heart, and the rest of your body!
Where Can You Find Magnesium?
Foods plentiful in magnesium include almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, seaweed, dark green leafy vegetables, properly soaked and cooked black beans, avocado, wild caught seafood like salmon, and grassfed beef. Often people think whole grains are a good source of magnesium, but the anti-nutrients in whole grains actually deplete minerals from your body. This is why it is so important to soak, sprout or use sourdough leavening with all of your grains and breads. (For a detailed demonstration and recipes see our Breads DVD.) Juicing fresh vegetables is also a good way to get more of them into your diet.
Homemade bone broth is a great source of many important minerals and nutrients. Including broth in your meal helps you absorb even more of the nutrition from all your other foods! Find recipes here and here to make delicious bone broth at home.
What Depletes Magnesium?
Many prescription and OTC drugs deplete magnesium. The list includes, but isn’t limited to, Zantac, Nexium, Prilosec, Maalox, Tums, Alka-Seltzer, most antibiotics, blood pressure medications, Ritalin, steroid creams and inhalers, HRTs, and oral contraceptives. If you take any of these it would be wise to ask your doctor about a good magnesium supplement.
In addition to those medications, magnesium is also depleted by stress, caffeine, high amounts of calcium supplements, and very loud noises. Eating a diet high in processed foods and soft drinks, as well as having any kind of digestive disorder can also deplete your magnesium.
Also remember that foods treated with herbicides, especially glyphosate (RoundUP), will further deplete the minerals in the soil and in the food. So stick to organic whenever possible, or follow the Dirty Dozen guide when choosing fresh vegetables and fruits to find the ones with the least amount of toxic chemicals.
What About Supplements?
Magnesium glycinate is an easily absorbed form of magnesium that’s good for supplementing a deficiency. Be aware that magnesium has a laxative effect when you first begin taking supplements, so start slowly and work up to the most effective dose for you.
What are your favorite ways to get magnesium? Tell us about it in the comments or visit our Facebook page to share your thoughts.