It’s terribly tragic when someone suffers major deterioration over something that is easily prevented, such as Vitamin B12 deficiency.  I’m sure there are tens of thousands of people in this country being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or other form of dementia, when what they are really suffering with is a severe Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Well, magnesium deficiency falls into that category too because magnesium is cheap, safe, and widely available, yet, the lack of it is doing a lot of harm.

Magnesium is extremely versatile. On the one hand, it is the second-most abundant mineral in bone, after calcium, and it puts the finishing touches on making your bones hard, strong and dense. The same goes for your teeth. But, besides its structural role in bones, magnesium is involved in a vast array of biochemical reactions. It serves as a “co-factor” in these reactions, and the includes hormonal activation for thyroid, parathyroid, and more.

It includes the proper activation of insulin, such that magnesium deficiency leads to diabetes. You know that there is an epidemic of diabetes among the elderly. To what extent is it due to magnesium deficiency?  It’s significant, for sure.

Magnesium is involved in maintaining normal blood pressure. It has a relaxing effect on smooth muscle, and that helps to keep your blood pressure low. It can even be used therapeutically. If a person has high blood pressure, and they load up on magnesium, they can drop their systolic pressure 5 to 10 points.  That’s what I’ve found.

Magnesium has a relaxing effect overall, such that taking it at night may help with sleep.

Magnesium has been shown to fight heart disease, and since it’s also known to fight diabetes, that’s 2 out of the 3 major killers.

So, where do you get magnesium? You get it from unrefined plant foods, particularly green vegetables, but also legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Magnesium is at the center of the chlorophyll molecule, so when you see the green color of spinach and other leafy greens, you are looking at the magnesium. Of course, magnesium is white, but chlorophyll is like a prism that absorbs the red and blue spectra of light, so that all you see is the green.

There is little magnesium in animal foods. Of course, milk has some, since babies need it, but I hope you know that you shouldn’t be drinking milk. Cow’s milk is for calves, goat milk is for “kids” (goat kids, not human kids) etc.  There is some magnesium in the white of an egg, but you’d have to eat a heck of a lot of them to amount to anything, and who wants to stuff oneself on egg whites? What fun is that?

So really, plant foods are where it’s at for magnesium. And, it is possible to get all you need from food alone if you really hone in on the kale and other greens.  And I do eat those foods and often. However, I do take a magnesium supplement, in addition, because it’s cheap and safe, and I would rather err on the side of more than less. With magnesium, the only thing that can happen if you take too much is that you might get some loose stools.  It’s the whole mechanism behind “Milk of Magnesia” for constipation. I take Klaire Lab’s MAG COMPLETE because it has several highly absorbable forms of magnesium, and it avoids the magnesium oxide that other companies use, which is poorly absorbed. Each capsule provides 120 mgs magnesium, and I typically take 2 a day in divided doses.

You might find it interesting that I don’t take any supplemental calcium at all, and I have my reasons, which I’ll explain next time.