Leg cramps may only be a subtle symptom of the bigger health issues that come from having a magnesium deficiency.
Most magnesium is stored in the tissues, so leg cramps, foot pain or muscle ‘twitches’ are usually the first signs. Insomnia, migraine headaches are also very common magnesium deficiency symptoms. If ignored, some of the other more serious symptoms of a magnesium deficiency, like these, can develop:
- low energy
- hormonal imbalances
- weakening of the bones
- muscle tension
- spasms and cramps,
- abnormal heart rhythm
- kidney stones
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the human body and is essential to good health. It is critical in over 350 essential biochemical reactions in the body including digestion, energy production, muscle function, bone formation, the creation of new cells, activation of B vitamins, relaxation of muscles, and also assists in the proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, adrenals, brain and nervous system.
In fact, Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body—it can be found in human bones, teeth, and red blood cells, and activates more enzyme systems than both iron and zinc combined. After oxygen, water, and basic food, magnesium may be the most important element needed by our bodies. It is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them.
The problem is – Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it does not show up in blood tests – only 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood. Most doctors and laboratories don’t even include magnesium status in routine blood work so they don’t know when their patients are deficient in magnesium, even though studies show that the majority of Americans are deficient. In fact, pretty much every known illness can be associated with a magnesium deficiency.
We need magnesium every day, just like we need water. Much of modern life conspires to help us lose what little magnesium we do get in our diet. Magnesium levels are decreased by excess alcohol, salt, coffee, phosphoric acid in colas, profuse sweating, prolonged or intense stress, chronic diarrhea, excessive menstruation, diuretics (water pills), antibiotics and other drugs, and some intestinal parasites.
The good news is that getting enough magnesium into your body is an easy fix. Here’s are some ways to do that:
Stop Draining Your Body of Magnesium
Limit coffee, colas, salt, sugar, and alcohol. Learn how to practice active relaxation .Check with your doctor if your medication is causing magnesium loss (many high blood pressure drugs or diuretics cause loss of magnesium)
Eat Foods High in Magnesium
Include the following in your diet as often as you can:
Kelp, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse seaweed, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens, and garlic.
Take Magnesium Supplements
The RDA (the minimum amount needed) for magnesium is about 300 mg a day. Most of us get far less than 200 mg but most people benefit from 400 to 1,000 mg a day.
The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate, taurate, or aspartate. The side effects range from too much magnesium include diarrhea, which can be avoided if you switch to magnesium glycinate.
Magnesium is truly a miracle mineral. It is essential for lifelong vibrant health so be sure you are getting enough every day.