BY TAWNYA RITCO, RHN
Is feeling anxious, nervous, or irritated – or all three! — becoming your new norm? If so, you’re not alone. These feelings are shared by many of us today as we’re bombarded by digital connections in all aspects of our lives, not to mention additional professional, personal and environmental stressors.
Research suggests that stress is among the factors contributing to mineral and vitamin deficiencies. These deficiencies in turn are believed to be among the key underlying causes of anxiety and other health problems, including heart conditions. The relationship between essential minerals and good health is one that has been recognized for decades. What is new is the science that we have around just how important many of these minerals are to fundamental body processes and key organs.
Among those to get considerably more attention in recent years is magnesium, which is crucial for the normal function of our cells, nerves, muscles, bones and heart. In fact, magnesium is a co-factor in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. Yet over 40 percent of Canadians are deficient. That’s two in every five of us! When we lack essential vitamins or minerals, it can throw us off balance. This is especially true with chronic magnesium deficiency. Unlike trace minerals, magnesium is a macro mineral that your body needs significant amounts of. Your health literally depends on it.
In an ideal world, we would get everything we need from a balanced, nutritious diet. While incorporating magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens and unrefined whole grains is a smart idea, many of us are still falling short. The soil is the foundation for the nutrients we consume, but sadly it is often depleted of minerals; which in turn makes it difficult for us to take in adequate levels of magnesium. As we mentioned off the top, another factor impacting our magnesium levels is chronic stress. When we are stressed, adrenaline kicks in and triggers several metabolic processes. They in turn deplete the magnesium supplies in our body. The lower your magnesium level, the more reactive to stress we become. It’s a vicious circle.
Magnesium is central to the development and maintenance of our bones and teeth. It is essential for regulating our muscle functions and contractions, blood pressure, nerve transmission and helps us metabolize our food. Adequate levels of magnesium allow our body to naturally produce enough serotonin to maintain balanced mental function. Serotonin is a key factor in regulating our mood, appetite and sleep as well as cognitive functions such as memory and learning. Significantly, magnesium has also been used intravenously in hospital settings to reduce the risk of death after an acute heart attack as well as for acute asthma. Yet this only touches on some of the higher profile roles magnesium plays; it is that important.
So given how mightily important magnesium is, it’s equally important to know if you are magnesium deficient. Yet how can we know? Your healthcare practitioner is always the go-to to confirm such concerns, although you can look for the signs of magnesium deficiency. They could include symptoms such as nervousness, muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, chest pain, impaired memory, dizziness, confusion, anger, muscle weakness and abnormal heart rhythm to name a few. These symptoms can mirror other conditions, so checking in with your healthcare practitioner is always recommended.
The bottom line is that magnesium is one of the most essential minerals in our body and low levels of magnesium over protracted periods of time can have a serious negative impact on our overall health. That’s why many people supplement to ensure they obtain optimal levels. For adults, that is supplementing with 350g daily. On this front, I recommend one teaspoon daily of PURICA Effervescent Magnesium Glycine as it is a highly absorbable form of magnesium. It dissolves completely in water and is gentle on the stomach. The bonus is that it tastes delicious!
It’s a good way to ensure you have sufficient access to the “Mighty Magnesium”, which your health depends on, across so many different body functions and processes.
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