Magnesium: The Miracle Mineral?
Magnesium has been ubiquitously referred to as the miracle mineral. A quick search on google yields results such as, “Get back on task naturally, “ and “Energy support like no other.” So what’s all the hype really about?
What We Know About Magnesium
The human body needs adequate levels of magnesium to function properly. It is an essential mineral that promotes mitochondrial health (energy!), glucose metabolism, bone health, intestinal function, and more. Magnesium is a core component of the Earth’s crust and the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. Additionally, this “miracle” mineral is essential for supporting more than three hundred enzymatic reactions at the cellular level.
How Do We Get Magnesium Anyway?
The answer is twofold. First, you need to be consuming a diet that is rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods and low in refined carbohydrates and processed sugars. There are various foods that contain high levels of magnesium. Here is a list of some foods, in order of concentration:
I Thought You Said the Answer Was Twofold?
Here’s the bad news. Unfortunately, as our food and agricultural system has undergone some change for the worse, minerals like magnesium have been depleted from our soil. A study on cattle conducted over a span of eleven years (2002-2013) showed that over five hundred animals had a mineral deficiency.
What Does This Mean for Us?
Soil that is higher in organic matter and clay does a good job of retaining minerals (like magnesium) and passing those minerals through to the plants. Unfortunately, the soil is not the same as it used to be when our great-grandparents were growing up.
To make things harder, our grocery stores are now stocked with packaged, processed food in addition to highly-sprayed, genetically modified produce. Things like soil depletion, use of chemical-laden fertilizer, and processing of foods have made it harder for plants to retain their nutrients. Critical minerals are being stripped from the soil on a daily basis, which means that even foods that are known to have higher levels of magnesium may not always contain levels that are bioavailable to us.
What else can cause a magnesium deficiency?
Other risk factors for magnesium deficiency may vary, but some can include:
- Calcium supplementation (or prolonged use of calcium supplements) without magnesium supplementation
- Alcohol use
- Diets high in saturated fats and sugar
- High levels of stress
- Drinking water that is depleted of minerals (city water or soft water)