Magnesium deficiency is present in nearly 80% of Americans, which is a scary fact when you realize magnesium plays an important part in the body’s most metabolically active organs such as the brain, heart, liver and kidney. The body needs a 1:1 ratio of calcium vs. magnesium to function correctly. Most multivitamins typically have less magnesium than the body actually requires. Unless you are eating whole, natural foods such as tofu, legumes, seeds and green leafy vegetables you are most likely not gettting enough magnesium from refined and processed foods.
Calcium causes our muscles to contract and magnesium causes them to relax. This means an incorrect ratio of these two can cause your muscles to be tighter, go into spasm and are often the cause of those terrible “charlie horses” in the calves. Although calcium gets all the headlines, magnesium is far more important for many people.
Low levels of magnesium in the diet and in your body increases susceptibility to a variety of diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney stones, insomnia and menstrual cramps. Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency are fatigue, irritability, weakness, muscle cramps, problem in muscle contraction and predisposition to stress. It is recommended the average person consume 300-400mg daily of magnesium.
A supplement I highly recommend to people is CALM made by Natural Vitality. Its a powder form of magnesium that is put into water and ingested typically at the end of the day. It is not a sleep aid, however it does relax the body and sleep is often reported as being improved. Again, that is magnesium working in conjunction with calcium to calm and relax the muscles.
By Dr. Dana Laridaen, D.C.
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