When gym rats and supposed health freaks sit around and talk supplements one that rarely comes up is magnesium. But it should. In fact, just about everyone should be supplementing with it. You don't hear much about it, yet it's estimated that 80% of North Americans are deficient in this important mineral and health consequences of this deficiency are significant. Long vastly understated, it's role in human health serves so many functions and it's benefits may be more far-reaching than we've ever imagined.
Admittedly, I'm a relatively new convert to magnesium, but since beginning to supplement with it it holds a spot in my top three most necessary supplements both for myself and most others. (The others in contention are fish oil, carnitine, and vitamin D.) I've found magnesium has done wonders for my sleep -- something I've always sucked at. I fall asleep faster, stay asleep and sleep longer and deeper.
In the past I've talked with conventional physicians about my inability to sleep and was prescribed a sleeping pill -- with all the side affects that comes with. It put me to sleep alright but my house could have burnt down around me and I'd still be out cold.
Assessing magnesium status in an individual is difficult because most magnesium is inside cells or in the bones, so there's no fool-proof test for it. But given its importance in virtually every metabolic process in the body, and the fact that most people are deficient, it makes sense to supplement with it.
It may be of special importance to athletes (if you workout regularly you are an athlete) as it plays an important role in energy production and athletic performance and it's lost in sweat.
Yes, we should be able to get all the magnesium we need from eating a well-balanced diet. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, are good sources, as are avocados. However, most modern farming practises deplete the soil of its natural magnesium, as do the fertilizers. The food grown there is likewise depleted. Further, our clever bio-engineers have created a mono-culture and selectively breed hybrids best able to flourish in these vancant soils.
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If only this was all organic[/caption]
And other modern human practices add to the need to supplement, such as:
- Consumption of caffeine
- Consumption of sugar
- Consumption of processed food
- Consumption of alcohol
- Consumption of foods high in phytic acid
- Some prescription drugs
Magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every organ and system of the body and its effects are so far-reaching it's hard to tabulate. But this informative short video lists the top eight.
Most impressively, to me, proper magnesium intake may help prevent and/or help cases hypertension and cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, migraine headaches, and in my case aid sleep and regularity. It also plays a role in your body's detoxification processes and therefore is important for helping to prevent damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins. Magnesium is also very important for the assimilation of vitamin D and calcium. If you are taking one of these and not magnesium you are selling yourself short. And if that isn't enough, many studies also demonstrate it's ability to help you lose weight.
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Magnesium comes in several different forms from which includes magnesium glycinate, magnesium carbonate, and magnesium citrate, among others. Different forms may be more suitable for certain people and cases and bioavailability differs from one to the other.
Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency and the form I myself am currently taking.
As with all supplements, ensure you are buying a quality product from a respected manufacturer and not just the cheapest one at the pharmacy. You should always talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement routine. Read about my quality supplements rant here
I hope this article has made you consider supplementing with magnesium.
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