(NaturalNews) Magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, plays a crucial role in activating over 300 chemical responses. It is responsible for the proper formation of bones, maintaining normal muscle function, regulating body temperature, and proper absorption of calcium. Increasingly, medical science is coming to believe that magnesium and other minerals missing from today's diet might prevent cognitive disorders such as ADD, ADHD and bipolar disorder, as well as help prevent Alzheimer's and mental decline as we age.
Eat and supplement wisely to avoid a magnesium deficiency
A deficiency in magnesium affects virtually every area of the body and can present itself with headaches, backaches, muscle spasms, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, PMS, osteoporosis, kidney stones, insomnia, anxiety, depression, tingling and numbness in limbs and extremities, and constipation. Magnesium is also a powerful immune modulator and magnesium deficiency has been linked to immune disorders and deficiencies, such as triggering or worsening the symptoms in such conditions as hyperthyroidism, fibromyalgia, Reynaud's and multiple sclerosis.
Magnesium is essential for the proper absorption of calcium. Many instances of magnesium deficiency are simply due to an excessive intake of calcium. We are told about the benefits of taking calcium but, sadly, magnesium (which is needed for proper calcium absorption) is very seldom mentioned. Too much calcium can actually be responsible for adverse health conditions. Dairy foods, for example, are rich in calcium and it is easy for dairy eaters to consume too much calcium if they do not balance their diet with foods rich in magnesium.
The premise that bone loss is due to a calcium deficiency has been proven to be incorrect. Too much calcium in the body is actually responsible for an increased risk of osteoporosis as well as kidney stones and heart attacks. For proper absorption, one should eat or supplement at a ratio of 2:1 calcium to magnesium.
Our Standard American Diet (SAD) is woefully lacking in proper nutrition such as magnesium. Toxins and additives in our diets often prevent our bodies from properly absorbing what little magnesium and other nutrients that we do consume - as do other culprits such as alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. Because magnesium is not produced by the body, it is important to eat and supplement wisely to make sure that the body receives the amount it needs.
Due to poor eating habits and mineral depleted soils, it is estimated that over 80 percent of the American population is deficient in magnesium. The US minimum RDA for magnesium is 420 mg for adult males and 320 mg for adult females. Clinical nutritionists, however, report mounting evidence that this level, in itself, is too low and contributes to the list of degenerative diseases caused by a magnesium deficiency. The optimum daily amount they recommend is between 500 to 700 mg a day.
It is important to eat healthy foods, focusing on as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible. Foods rich in magnesium include: spinach, avocado, bananas, almonds, cashews, dry roasted peanuts, peanut butter, raisins, oatmeal, crude wheat bran, crude wheat germ, whole wheat bread, halibut, cooked black-eyed peas, baked potato with skin, natural plain yogurt, brown long grained cooked rice, and cooked lentils.
Even with the best of diets, however, mineral depletion in the soil over the last hundred years makes it difficult to get enough magnesium through diet alone. Therefore, it is often important to make sure that the body is getting its required amount of magnesium through supplementation. Two excellent ways to supply your body with magnesium are by using transdermal magnesium oil and Epsom salt baths.