This is the second article in our series of key nutritional deficiencies.
Dr. Norman Shealy says, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency and it’s the missing cure to many diseases.” It is estimated that 80% of Americans, for example, are magnesium deficient. This mineral is essential for hundreds of biochemical functions in the body. Medical studies have shown that magnesium is effective for decreasing the risk of stroke and heart attack, as well as Type 2 diabetes, it slows the progression of osteoporosis, reduces the frequency of migraines, and improves fibromyalgia. There are many other illnesses and symptoms that are also believed to be caused by a deficiency such as PMS, insomnia, fatigue, and muscle problems. Magnesium is also critical for the absorption of calcium, iron, and potassium.
Foods that are high in magnesium:
• dark leafy green vegetables
• pumpkin and sunflower seeds
• almonds and cashews
• yogurt, kefir
• goat cheese
• black beans
• dark chocolate
In general, foods do not contain the levels of magnesium that they used to, as the minerals in soil have become so depleted. However, it may be that organic foods and smaller farms which still allow fields to lie fallow for a time and practice crop rotation may still provide reasonable levels of magnesium.
In supplements, look for magnesium citrate and dimagnesium malate, although these forms can cause diarrhea for some people. Alternate forms are pico-ionic magnesium or magnesium oil which is used on the skin. I personally take Natural Calm brand, which is in a powder form that I add to my smoothies.