The Importance of Magnesium: It’s Not Just About Calcium!

I must talk about magnesium in some way or another most days. Quite often, it is to explain that magnesium is actually far more important to us than calcium when people are worrying about their calcium levels and taking shed-loads of it, but that is a whole other blog post! (See here, for example).

So, I was pleased to see this great summary about our need for magnesium and the newly-coined phrase, the ‘magnesome’ which really reflects how magnesium binds to proteins and affects our genetic expressions in the body.

As the article points out, as a  result of relatively recent findings:

a deficiency of magnesium may profoundly affect a far wider range of biological structures than previously understood.

When I trained with the fabulous biochemist Lawrence Plaskett, he was always at great pains to make us think about the magnesium status of patients and indeed much of my protocol advice is still based around getting the magnesium level high enough. I spend a lot of time explaining why I want the magnesium generally to be twice as high as calcium in the prescription, which is totally the opposite to most products and other approaches.

Indeed, quite recently, I have been able to start testing the red cell level of magnesium and I am finding most results are low, which rather proves his point.

In this piece, Green Med Info have chosen their seven top magnesium-related conditions from their massive database of research studies. Make sure you read the whole article for more on each of them and for the research links, but here are the top 7 for you:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Diabetes, Type 2
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality
  • Migraine Disorders
  • Aging

You can read the studies for each area that has brought them to this conclusion. I can attest to the importance of magnesium in pretty much all of those clinically and, personally, with migraine and PMS certainly. I wrote about migraine herefibromyalgia here and, PMS here.

They also include some useful info on which foods give good magnesium sources and the best supplemental types to go for. Here are the top 10 foods for you, although my resources show a slightly different list with kelp, almonds and cashews quite high too:

  • Rice bran, crude (781 mg)
  • Seaweed, agar, dried (770 mg)
  • Chives, freeze-dried (640 mg)
  • Spice, coriander leaf, dried (694 mg)
  • Seeds, pumpkin, dried (535 mg)
  • Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened (499 mg)
  • Spices, basil, dried (422 mg)
  • Seeds, flaxseed (392 mg)
  • Spices, cumin seed (366 mg)
  • Nuts, brazilnuts, dried (376 mg)

Nice to see our old friend flaxseed in there and I was pleased to see cocoa powder; now there’s an excuse! Just imagine a smoothie or granola breakfast mix you make with flax, brazils, cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds – a good magnesium booster for you right there.

With regard to supplements, they advise magnesium oxide or citrate for those with a slow gut as that type of magnesium has a gentle laxative effect for most. I like this one generally as my favourite since most people seem to need a bit of extra gut help now and then and this seems to work very gently rather than simple citrates. Don’t forget how flaxseeds help keep you going too.

For non-constipated types, they recommend glycinate like this, although I have to say I have found the above Citrizorb suitable for almost everyone, slow gut or not. I also find the magnesium oil spray works well especially for those who are not absorbing well and for those with pain or restless legs as you can spray it right on the hurty bit.

For more, check out the post I wrote on the Importance of Magnesium here, which itself will take you to a really good video explaining a lot of these links to magnesium.

So, trust me when I say your magnesium level is far more important to you than your calcium one. Honest.

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