Magnesium is a basic but significant mineral that is involved with over 320 biochemical reactions in the body. Because it’s such a critical nutrient, it’s a serious problem that over 60% of Americans are deficient in this key nutrient. Some of the reasons for deficiency include the fact that our food has lower magnesium content due to poor quality soil, we lose magnesium when stressed, and sweating causes magnesium depletion.
You probably don’t want to read a list of the 325 biochemical reactions that rely on magnesium, so let’s just stick with the three “I” s: Insomnia, Inflammation, and Insulin resistance.
Insomnia can be caused by many reasons, with magnesium deficiency being at the top. Magnesium calms the nervous system, relaxes muscles and counters stress. Replenishing magnesium can lead to a longer, uninterrupted sleep pattern.
Insulin resistance is when cells don’t respond adequately to insulin’s attempt to shuttle glucose into the cell after eating, resulting in elevated blood sugar and increased fat storage. It is the hallmark of pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Research shows that people with adequate magnesium levels have improved insulin sensitivity. People with the highest magnesium levels have a lower risk of developing diabetes, even if they have the risk factors such as smoking, low activity level and excessive weight.
Inflammation is at the root cause of so many health problems, such as arthritis, heart disease and obesity. Magnesium has been shown to act as an anti-inflammatory. More than one study has shown that as magnesium levels decrease, CRP (a marker for inflammation) increases. Elevated CRP is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Magnesium comes in many forms, but be sure to avoid the oxide form. To determine the appropriate dosage, start with one or two pills, and increase the dosage over the course of a few days, until it has a laxative effect, then decrease the dosage slightly. This method determines the appropriate dosage for your individual body, based on your level of deficiency. Magnesium is a simple nutrient, but it can make a huge impact on your health!