Recently most of the emphasis has been focusing on the miracle vitamin D (especially D3) and let’s not forget there are other trace minerals and vitamins just equally important. In this blog, we will focus on one of the most important trace mineral in the body, Magnesium (Mg).
In the book “The Magnesium Factor: How one simple nutrient can prevent, treat, and reverse high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions” by Mildred S. Seelig and Andrea Rosanoff, they stated “Magnesium is a necessary catalyst for all sorts of life reaction. Amount the enzymes that have been studied intensively, over 350 need magnesium, directly, to do their job properly.” (p.11) What does this mean? That means without adequate Mg in the body, majority of bodily systems (such as heart and muscles to name a few) will not function at the highest level.
Here are some of the potential signs and symptoms if you are Mg deficiency
- High blood pressure
- Angina (chest pain due to heart disease)
- Muscle contraction
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- Low energy
Besides signs and symptoms, how else can we know if we are Mg deficiency?
Serum (blood) magnesium represents only 1% of magnesium stores. Magnesium is homeostatically controlled in the serum and measuring serum magnesium levels provides many false negatives. By the time an individual’s serum magnesium is low, they are very deficient in magnesium, as the body cannot maintain the serum magnesium levels. RBC magnesium is definitely a better choice and the most accurate test out there.
Why are we so Mg deficiency?
The reason lies in our soils. Soils today are very different from 20 years ago. Due to the evolution of farming practices, pesticides and herbicides play a major role of depleting micronutrients in soils. In addition, incomplete grown fruits and vegetables harvested before they are fully ready for transportation purposes hence reduced the vitamins and trace minerals even more. Lastly, refined processed foods such cookies, croissant and others will rob even more Mg from our body.
What food groups contain most Mg? list from most to least in each categories.
Vegetables: butter beans, soy flour, legumes, beet green, red seaweed, chard, spinach and collards.
Fruits: Coconut, dates, dried apricots, and dried figs.
Meat and poultry: Liver, bacon, corned beef, roast beetf, steak, chicken and turkey.
Nuts: Cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts.
How much Mg supplements should we take?
Everyone is different, and a good general rule of thumb in our office is 300 mg of Mg for every 100 pounds of body weight. This might seems a bit over daily recommended dosage and the reason is because majority of population is Mg deficiency. Based in our clinical experience with adults, we started with 300 mg of Mg/day and slowly added 100mg a day after until that dosage cause loose stool then we back off 100mg. For example, we started John with 300 mg of Mg on Monday, 400 mg on Tuesday, 500 mg on Wednesday and 600 mg on Thursday and he reported with loose stool; then we back off to 500mg and that’s the dosage we stay with until further evaluation. This process is called “up to tolerance” which can be apply to vitamin C as well. However, if you are experiencing kidney disorder, Crohn’s disease or taking antibodies it is imperative to work with your physician on this subject.
It is extremely important to know if you have adequate Mg because it tights to so many chemical reactions in your body. However, we don’t recommended blindly start taking Mg supplements and to hope change your current health conditions; it is strongly recommended to work with health care professional certified in functional medicine to perform necessary laboratory testing to determine how much Mg you really need.
Yours in health,
Dr. Wu DC