Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

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Having dangerously low levels of magnesium in the body is classified as hypomagnesemia.

This is caused by an inadequate intake of dietary magnesium or the inability of the body to properly absorb magnesium. How does such an event happen?

80% of the American population are suffering from magnesium deficiency. How is it that so many people aren't getting enough of it from their diets or having trouble absorbing the mineral from what they eat?

If ever a person becomes deficient of magnesium, it can lead to all sorts of serious health issues.

Once you're deficient of the said mineral, you are at risk for several health conditions which includes the following:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke
  • Digestive Maladies
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Heart Disease
  • Arthritis and Joint Pain
  • Stress-Related Illnesses

The top causes of magnesium deficiency

1. Eating the "standard" American diet - The truth is, there are a lot of magnesium-rich foods that you can eat. This includes almonds, spinach, oat bran, brown rice, lima beans, swiss chard, and many others. The foods that were mentioned aren't included in the standard American diet wherein it mostly consists of meat, dairy products, processed foods, and refined grains. These foods don't contain magnesium at all thus the reason for such deficiency.

Even if you consume a lot of the foods that were listed in 'magnesium-rich' category, you can still become deficient from it due to the industrial agricultural system that has led to mineral shortages in majority of the crops.

The modern monoculture farming methods rely mostly on chemical insecticides, fertilizers, and pesticides that are absorbed into the soil which then makes the topsoil become heavily depleted of its mineral content. This causes the magnesium to become missing from the topsoil which will make 80% of the population fail to meet the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) set by the RDA which is 240 to 420 milligrams. It's also worth noting that government RDAs are known to be well below the standard optimum levels. Experts even conclude that we need to take twice the amount of magnesium levels that was originally intended.

2. Drinking soft water - If you're living in a city that distributes soft water or you're using a water softener on your home, the water you're drinking may have a reduced amount of magnesium than it should.

There are parts of the world where people get 50% of their recommended daily intake of magnesium from their drinking water. Some cities replenish the water supply with magnesium after softening it, but it's best to get in touch with city officials just to be sure.

Some brands even sell mineral water that contains significant amounts of magnesium depending on where they get their water source. So, make sure to always check the label to see if what you're drinking is rich in magnesium content.

3. Regular consumption of soda, alcohol, or caffeinated beverages - Sodas contain phosphate wherein it attaches itself to the magnesium inside the body which makes it unavailable for absorption. Your kidneys excrete and filter excess magnesium and other minerals which is all part of its normal function.

The caffeine in coffee has diuretic and mild laxative effects which could result in loss of certain minerals including magnesium. There is also some acid in coffee which wears away at the villi of the small intestine thus reducing its ability to absorb the nutrients. This is the reason why heavy coffee drinkers are suffering from mineral deficiencies.

If you enjoy consuming alcohol or caffeinated beverages on a regular basis, you are making your kidneys excrete more magnesium even before your body has a chance to absorb it. This makes alcoholism a major cause of hypomagnesemia.

4. Experiencing chronic or constant stress - It was revealed in a study that individuals who are chronically stressed had lower magnesium stores compared to those who don't.

On the flip side, people who had enough magnesium levels in their systems only exhibited fewer signs of stress. This means that stress can deplete your magnesium levels while having enough magnesium can protect you against stress.

According to Leo Galland, MD, chronic stress depletes the body's storage of magnesium. If you're more stressed, the greater the loss of magnesium. If your magnesium levels are lower to begin with, the more prone you are to stress, and your adrenaline levels become high during stressful situations. A higher adrenaline can also mean that more magnesium is removed from your cells. So, by administering magnesium as a nutritional supplement, this vicious cycle gets broken since it raises the blood magnesium levels and buffers your response to stress, thus building your resistance in the process.

5. Taking calcium supplements - Women should be careful about the effects of certain supplements on magnesium absorption. If you're taking calcium supplements to treat osteoporosis and prevent bone loss, your magnesium levels can go down.

So, if you're one of those people who needs to take calcium supplements or eats calcium-fortified foods, then magnesium supplements can restore the proper ratio in your body and ensure that your calcium intake is being properly absorbed.

This doesn't mean that you have to stop taking your calcium supplements, especially if you're strictly advised by your doctor to take them. You just have to talk about it to your healthcare team regarding diet and supplementation before making any changes to it. That way, you don't have to compromise the other and you can still get on with the supplementation that your body needs.


Any recommended magnesium supplements?

Even when you're taking magnesium in the form of a pill, most of the mineral isn't absorbed by the body. This scenario also applies to anyone who relies on their diet for their magnesium intake wherein it all depends on the gut health on how much will be absorbed from the food. Magnesium in tablet or pill form is even difficult to absorb regarding of how healthy your digestive system is.

When oral supplements don't seem to work, some people will just increase their dosage to benefit from the effects. Unfortunately, absorbing too many magnesium pills will result in side effects like diarrhea and stomach cramps.

For this instance, try using Epsom salts in your bath to allow magnesium to be absorbed through your skin. In fact, people who tried this on their bathtub have noticed a difference with it. However, the magnesium quality in Epsom salts aren't high enough to fight off deficiency.

Even though Epsom salt soaks can help, you can still find yourself suffering from magnesium deficiency symptoms which could be caused by poor quality salts or your body is just unable to use the magnesium that you're getting.

There are many ways to be supplemented with magnesium, but they're not all the same. It's recommended if you get your magnesium intake from a top-quality topical spray, which experts all agree as a better way of absorbing it. Next time you see Dr. Tam please ask him which magnesium lotion he recommends.

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Absolute Family Chiropractic
1490 Alamo Drive Suite B
Vacaville, CA 95687
(707) 474-5688