Magnesium is the eighth most abundant mineral on earth, and the third most abundant in sea water. More importantly, it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and it is necessary in over 300 reactions within the body.
Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency. Soft tissue containing the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body include the brain and the heart—two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency.
Proper magnesium ratios are important for the body to correctly use calcium in the cells. Even a small deficiency can lead to a dangerous calcium imbalance and lead to problems like calcification and cell death. This manifests itself with symptoms like heart trouble, migraine headaches, muscle cramps and premenstrual cramping.
Where Has All The Magnesium Gone?
Unfortunately, most modern farming processes tax the soil, depleting it of its natural magnesium. On top of that, many hybrids are selectively bred to survive low levels of magnesium and most conventional fertilizers use nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, and do nothing to replenish magnesium levels.
Water was once a good source of magnesium, but now: Fluoride in drinking water binds with magnesium, creating a nearly insoluble mineral compound that ends up deposited in the bones, where its brittleness increases the risk of fractures. Water, in fact, could be an excellent source of magnesium—if it comes from deep wells that have magnesium at their source, or from mineral-rich glacial runoff. Urban sources of drinking water are usually from surface water, such as rivers and streams, which are low in magnesium. Even many bottled mineral waters are quite low in magnesium, or have a very high concentration of calcium, or both.
These additional dietary factors can also deplete magnesium:
Consumption of caffeine
Consumption of sugar (It takes 287 molecules of magnesium to metabolize a single glucose molecule! source)
Consumption of processed food
Consumption of alcohol
Consumption of produce from depleted soil
Consumption of foods high in phytic acid
Additionally, drugs like birth control pills, hypertension medicine, diuretics, insulin, and certain antibiotics (among others) deplete magnesium levels. Sweating often from exercise or other causes can also deplete magnesium.
What Does Magnesium DO?
Magnesium is necessary for hundreds of functions within the body, but is especially important for:
Gives rigidity AND flexibility to your bones (more important than Calcium in many cases)
Increases bioavailability of calcium
Regulates and normalizes blood pressure
Prevents and reverses kidney stone formation
Promotes restful sleep
Helps prevent congestive heart failure
Eases muscle cramps and spasms
Lowers serum cholesterol levels and triglycerides
Decreases insulin resistance
Can prevent artherosclerosis and stroke
End cluster and migraine headaches
Relieves fibromyalgia and chronic pain
Treats asthma and emphysema
Helps make proteins
Encourages proper elimination
Proper Vitamin D absorption
Helps with weight loss
Lessen or remove ADD or ADHD in children
How To Get Enough Magnesium
Leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, kelp and especially nettle (in herb form available here) are good dietary sources of magnesium, though if you have a deficiency, it will be difficult to raise your levels enough through diet alone.
The best ways to supplement with magnesium are:
In powder form with a product like Natural Calm so that you can vary your dose and work up slowly.
In ionic liquid form so that it can be added to food and drinks and dose can be worked up slowly.
In transdermal form by using Magnesium oil applied to skin. This is often the most effective option for those with damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency.
I’d actually advice at least two of the above forms, including transdermal supplementation, especially if you show multiple symptoms. The easiest way to gauge your dose is to start at half of the recommended dose and work up (even above it) until you experience loose stools and then back off slightly. From this dose, you should be able to gradually increase your dose until your symptoms disappear.