IN­SIDE SCOOP

Mag­ne­sium: Su­per­star Sup­ple­ment Find out why this once-un­der­rated min­eral is cru­cial to health.

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Vera Tweed

In

the U.S. Na­tional Li­brary of Medicine’s on­line data­base at pubmed.gov, there are more than ve times as many sci­en­tific ar­ti­cles about cal­cium as there are about mag­ne­sium. Yet both are equally es­sen­tial for the func­tion of the hu­man body.

CAL­CIUM-MAG­NE­SIUM PART­NER­SHIP

ese two min­er­als are some­what like the op­po­site ends of a dimmer switch. Cal­cium gives bones their hard­ness and makes things hap­pen by ex­cit­ing nerves, con­tract­ing mus­cles, and con­tribut­ing to the in­flam­ma­tion nec­es­sary to fight in­vaders or in­jury. Mag­ne­sium gives bones some

flex­i­bil­ity, keeps them from be­com­ing brit­tle, and has a “chill­ing out” e ect, re­lax­ing nerves and mus­cles and re­duc­ing in­flam­ma­tion. Cal­cium is nec­es­sary for blood to clot so that wounds can heal, while mag­ne­sium pre­vents harm­ful clots and keeps blood fl ow­ing.

When we ex­pe­ri­ence a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion, whether it’s an ir­ri­ta­ble boss, a traf­fic jam, or a work­out at the gym, cal­cium con­trib­utes to the

fight-or-flight re­sponse that kicks in, and if there isn’t enough mag­ne­sium to calm things down, we stay stressed. And with­out enough mag­ne­sium, high cal­cium lev­els can lead to sti ar­ter­ies and heart dis­ease. The U.S. gov­ern­ment didn’t start rec­om­mend­ing min­i­mum in­takes of mag­ne­sium un­til 1968—27 years af­ter is­su­ing cal­cium rec­om­men­da­tions.

MORE REA­SONS IT’S ES­SEN­TIAL

A nat­u­ral com­po­nent of ev­ery cell in the hu­man body, mag­ne­sium is es­sen­tial for more than 300 in­ter­nal pro­cesses that go on all the time to sus­tain life, in­clud­ing en­ergy pro­duc­tion. A study of post­menopausal women tested per­for­mance on a sta­tion­ary bike, be­fore and af­ter eat­ing a low-mag­ne­sium diet, and found that lack of the min­eral made a sig­nif­i­cant di er­ence. With low mag­ne­sium, women used 10–15 per­cent more en­ergy, and their heart rate in­creased by 10 beats per minute while do­ing the same amount of cy­cling. Mag­ne­sium can also im­prove sleep. In stud­ies, other ben­e­fits of mag­ne­sium have in­cluded:

Less risk of asthma Pro­tec­tion against type 2 di­a­betes Less de­pres­sion Re­lief from symp­toms of

bromyal­gia Pro­tec­tion against hear­ing loss from very loud noise Lower blood pres­sure Fewer and shorter mi­graine headaches Re­lief from PMS Lower odds of ir­reg­u­lar heart rhythm Less risk for os­teo­poro­sis

CAL­CIUM-MAG­NE­SIUM IM­BAL­ANCE

While lack of ei­ther min­eral is bad for health, mag­ne­sium is the one likely to fall short be­cause:

Cal­cium is widely ad­ver­tised as an es­sen­tial nu­tri­ent. Cal­cium sup­ple­ments are rec­om­mended by doc­tors. Cal­cium is added to many foods and drinks.

In com­par­i­son, mag­ne­sium doesn’t have a voice. ink about it: When was the last time you saw a TV com­mer­cial

tout­ing a food be­cause it con­tains lots of mag­ne­sium?

e op­ti­mum ra­tio of cal­cium to mag­ne­sium is es­ti­mated to be 2:1 from all sources, in­clud­ing food and sup­ple­ments, but in the av­er­age U.S. diet, it’s es­ti­mated to be 3:1, mean­ing too much cal­cium and too lit­tle mag­ne­sium.

Good sources of mag­ne­sium in­clude leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, and legumes. As an ex­am­ple, a half-cup of cooked spinach or 1 ounce of dry-roasted al­monds con­tains about 80 mg of mag­ne­sium, which is around 20 per­cent of the daily min­i­mum rec­om­mended amount.

DE­FI­CIENCY RISK

A grow­ing num­ber of re­searchers, in­te­gra­tive physi­cians, and nu­tri­tion­ists con­sider the U.S. gov­ern­ment-rec­om­mended amounts of mag­ne­sium to be too low. e cur­rent RDIs are 400–420 mg for most men and 320–360 mg for most women. How­ever, many ex­perts rec­om­mend up to 650 mg for women and 850 mg for men—and even as much as 1,000 mg for a man weigh­ing 200 lb. or more.

SUP­PLE­MENT FORMS

Some forms of mag­ne­sium are more eas­ily ab­sorbed, in­clud­ing those la­beled as “chelated,” and mag­ne­sium gly­ci­nate, malate, cit­rate, tau­rate, thre­onate, and oro­tate. Mag­ne­sium malate is of­ten rec­om­mended to re­lieve symp­toms of bromyal­gia, and mag­ne­sium thre­onate is some­times for­mu­lated for brain health.

Mag­ne­sium can also be ap­plied top­i­cally, as it is eas­ily ab­sorbed through the skin, such as with an Ep­som salt bath or in a mag­ne­sium cream.

Be aware that tak­ing more mag­ne­sium than the body can ab­sorb can re­sult in loose stools, and is more likely with the mag­ne­sium ox­ide form (the form used in lax­a­tives).

is prob­lem is eas­ily solved by re­duc­ing the dosage.

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