When I first start training clients I put them on a supplement regimen. Nothing crazy, but just to make sure their nutritional bases are covered and make sure that muscle building and fat loss is maximized. One of the most important minerals in magnesium. Being deficient in it will not only cause health problems but will also slow down fat loss. The majority of people are also deficient in it.
Typically, when people discuss minerals, calcium is the main focus. Most people have heard that they should increase calcium intake for various health reasons. However, over the last few years, more and more studies have been performed on magnesium. Recently, one report showed that magnesium may be very beneficial to children’s bone health, even more so than calcium.
Magnesium is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the human body, and it is the fourth most abundant mineral. It supports the immune system, nerve function, helps stabilize the heart beat, and as mentioned above, is important in bone health. Other functions of magnesium including regulating blood sugar levels, promoting normal blood pressure, and assisting in protein synthesis and energy metabolism.
Magnesium helps the body breakdown food, including fat and carbohydrates, and use the food breakdown to produce energy. It is also required for important steps involved with DNA and RNA synthesis. Several antioxidants, including glutathione, a very important antioxidant, are protected by magnesium.
Most of magnesium is stored in the bones and tissues of the body, with only 1% of it stored in blood. Because of this low ratio, it is very hard to test magnesium levels, making it hard to diagnose magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency can manifest in many, many symptoms, as it effects so many functions of the body, making it very hard for clinicians to determine. Some of these symptoms may include poor memory, nervousness, anorexia, muscular twitching, fatigue, insomnia, abnormal heartbeat, and more. Deficiency has also been associated with epilepsy and M.S. in some cases – two very serious conditions.
Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency can predict heart disease and diabetes, which shows us that increasing dietary magnesium intake can have long-term protective health benefits.
Studies suggest that insulin resistance can be directly related to depleted magnesium levels, which is the reasoning behind the claims that it can predict diabetes if left untreated. When it comes to cardiovascular health, chronic low-levels of magnesium can lead to hypertension and endothelial dysfunction.
Finally, several studies have shown an increased cancer rate in regions with low magnesium levels in soil and drinking water (the same for selenium). In Egypt, the cancer rate was only about 10% of that in Europe and America. The main difference was an extremely high magnesium intake of 2.5 to 3g in these cancer-free populations, ten times more than in most western countries.
In certain regions, increase cancer rates have been suggested to be caused by low levels of magnesium in drinking water and soil. The cancer rate in Egypt was about 10% lower than that in America and Europe at the time of the study. A major difference was a very high level of magnesium intake in the Egyptian population, 2.5 to 3g on average, which is ten times more than the average intake in most western countries.
Being deficient in magnesium can cause poor sleep. This is why once people start supplementing with it they find that they can get a much better sleep.
With all of these possible results of chronic magnesium deficiency, it is vital that we learn more about how to diagnose it, as well as educate the public on the importance of adequate magnesium intake.