“Magnesium is a critical co-factor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body, and many are tied to energy production.”
Magnesium is known for relieving muscle cramps; and because the heart is a muscle, magnesium is also effective for cardiovascular health. What about magnesium and osteoporosis? Most people think of calcium for osteoporosis forgetting the importance of magnesium in balancing calcium. Did you know that magnesium can also have powerful antioxidant qualities? Take a minute with me to learn a little about magnesium.
Magnesium is a critical cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body. Many of them are tied to energy production. Deficiencies in magnesium ultimately yield lower energy states, which means cells can’t maintain balance, which means they are more susceptible to environmental toxins and infections, which causes free radicals to increase.
The typical American diet creates a relative acidic chemistry. Excess acids can also cause free radicals. Magnesium helps buffer excess acid because it is a key alkalizing mineral. If we are deficient in magnesium, this lowered energy state is what causes the nervous system to be compromised which means muscles can’t fire properly and spasms can occur anywhere but especially in the heart and vascular tissue.
Magnesium acts as an antioxidant and protects DNA and intracellular proteins. Over 95% of magnesium is in the cell, so lowered magnesium levels translate into increased levels of inflammation in the cell.
Three major factors push magnesium levels toward deficiency. First: reduced dietary levels. Although we can get magnesium naturally from grains, artichokes, bananas, certain nuts and many different vegetables, we still aren’t getting enough magnesium in the foods we eat. One study by the National Institute of Health shows 68% of Americans are depleted in magnesium, while other experts put the number closer to 80%. Those who are in that 80% are at a cellular disadvantage.
Then comes the next factor: the ratio of calcium to magnesium. One way to reduce a mineral is to increase another mineral that competes with it. For example, if we want to reduce copper, we give zinc. The National Institute of Health now recommends that the optimum calcium intake be raised to 1500 mg/day to prevent osteoporosis. This recommendation disregards the already substandard American magnesium intake, which is less than 300 mg/day. That would bring our Ca/Mg ratio to 5/1 which is higher than Finland’s 4/1 ratio.
Finland has the highest heart disease death rate for young to middle-aged men. On one hand, people take higher amounts of calcium for osteoporosis but they may be setting themselves up for heart disease. Speaking of osteoporosis, bone loss is accelerated in the face of magnesium deficiency. So, excess calcium in magnesium deficient people will further exacerbate the deficiency.
The third factor is the amount of stress that we experience. Dr. Mildred Seelig, formerly one of the world’s authorities on magnesium, stated that stress, both physical and emotional, evokes release of stress hormones. “Stress hormones in excess cause magnesium loss and inactivation and can be implicated in cardiovascular disorders.” Can you see how stress further depletes magnesium?
So how much magnesium do we need? Dr. Seelig suggests a sliding scale based on sex, weight and stress. For “new tissue formation and repair” which includes most people, higher doses may be recommended. With my patients, I suggest Mg-Zyme by Biotics Research. Mg-Zyme provides 100 mg of elemental magnesium in the aspartate, gluconate and glycinate forms.
True prevention is really about making our cells as healthy as possible which allows every cell to utilize its own defense mechanisms. We need a balance of ALL nutrients for energy production and that includes making sure we get enough magnesium.
If you have concerns about muscle cramps, osteoporosis, cardiovascular health or you just need more energy, ask Dr. Godo about the benefits of magnesium. Dr. Godo can help you find the right dosage and put together a plan that will get your body in balance. You may be TRYING to eat healthier; taking vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids as you should; even making better lifestyle choices; but it never hurts to make sure you are getting enough magnesium to energize your cells for optimal muscle function, heart function, bone health and boosting antioxidants to combat free radicals.
Hopefully you are asking yourself. “Am I getting enough magnesium?” Talk to your Dr. Godo and find out.
Dr. Jason Godo