Short Read Summary

  • Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body
  • Deficiency is increasingly common for several reasons
  • Deficiency contributes to the cause, symptoms, and/or severity of many health conditions
  • Most people could likely benefit from getting more magnesium in their diet
  • Magnesium should be included with all calcium supplements

Tell me More!

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body - so important that without it, cells quickly die.  

It is the second most abundant electrolyte found inside of the cells and is required for more than 300 different biochemical reactions in the body including the synthesis of the nucleic acids needed to make DNA.1  

Magnesium is also required for the proper utilization of other vitamins and minerals including calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D.2,3

Magnesium and Calcium

Magnesium and calcium have an interesting relationship with one another. They are chemically very similar (divalent cations) yet have different roles in the body. At the same time they are interdependent of one another.

For example, both magnesium and calcium work together to regulate blood pressure and heart rhythms. While both can help blood vessels to relax, an excess of calcium tends to cause hypertension and cardiovascular problems while an excess of magnesium has the opposite effect.24 In fact, excess magnesium appears to have a protective effect against high blood pressure and heart problems.24

The significance of this relates to the way calcium has been recommended for so many years. We have always been told to eat more calcium for stronger bones, yet new research has been showing that calcium supplementation is associated with increased cardiovascular problems.24-26 It is likely that that an imbalance of calcium and magnesium is a major contributing factor.

We learned that Vitamin D helps improve calcium absorption, and now it's almost impossible to find a calcium supplement without Vitamin D. Now we are beginning to understand how important it is to include magnesium in that mix as well.

What does the research say about the importance of Magnesium?

Bone Health:  Over 50% of the body's magnesium is found in the bones and deficiency is associated with osteoporosis.1,3

Cancer:  Increased magnesium intake is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer, especially when combined with Vitamins A, C, D, and E and dietary fiber.5,6

Depression:  Magnesium is important for neurotransmitter function and has been shown to quickly improve mood and assist in treatment-resistant depression.3,7,8

Diabetes:  Low magnesium levels are associated with increased risk of type-II diabetes and insulin resistance.1,3

Heart Health:  Increased magnesium intake is associated with a decreased risk of coronary artery disease.9 Low levels of magnesium are associated with:

  • Elevated "bad" cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides, and blood pressure.1
  • Formation of blood clots and intensified reactions to stress contributing to heart attack and stroke.10,11
  • Elevated levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker that indicates an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. People that do not get the RDI of magnesium have a 40% higher chance of having an elevated CRP.  In 2006, about 35% of the U.S. population (roughly 70 million people) had a CRP level considered high-risk by the American Heart Association.4,12

Migraines:  Magnesium deficiency is associated with migraine headaches and supplementation has been shown to prevent migraines from happening as often.13,14

Muscles:  Approximately 27% of the body's magnesium is found in the muscles. Deficiency is associated with muscle cramps and weakness.15

Sleep: Magnesium deficiency is associated with insomnia while supplementation has been shown to improve the quality of sleep.3,15,16

Magnesium plays a role and may offer some benefits in many more disease states including ADD/ADHD, neurodegenerative diseases, dementia, asthma, headache, agitation, confusion, restless leg syndrome, immune deficiencies, and many more.15,17–23

Deficiency is a Real Problem

If magnesium is so vital to the health of cells and the proper functioning of the human body, you would think we would make sure that we get enough of it on a daily basis.  But why is it that despite being armed with this knowledge, even in our modern times, that so many people are suffering from a deficiency of magnesium?  Studies have estimated that the average daily dietary intake of magnesium has decreased by over 50% in the last century alone.2

Why is Deficiency on the Rise?

The largest contributing factors involve a change in modern agriculture, food industries, water treatment, and diet.1–3 These factors have contributed in the following ways:

  • Food processing removes magnesium leaving only about 3-28% of the original amounts found in cereals and legumes.2
  • Magnesium levels in produce have been declining over the past decades as a result of soil depletion and some modern agricultural methods.1–3
  • "Hard water" used to account for up to 27% of daily magnesium intake, but water softeners and purifiers remove most of the magnesium in bottled and municipal water supplies.1
  • Modern Western diets tend to lack fresh organic produce, relying instead on heavily processed foods.1–3

In addition to decreased dietary intake, there are also a number of factors that can actually deplete magnesium from the body or block it's absorption including:2,3

  • Prolonged or excessive stress
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Sweating
  • Menstruation
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Alcohol
  • Phosphates (in soft-drinks and milk)
  • Refined sugar
  • Excess saturated fats in the diet
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Low stomach acid

Natural Dietary Sources

Natural Dietary Food Sources of Magnesium

Rich dietary sources of magnesium include vegetables (especially dark green leaves), nuts and legumes, grain products, dark chocolate, meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.1 However, because of some of the reasons listed above, you may still need to supplement magnesium, even with a healthy diet.  Studies indicate that only about 22% of people meet the recommended daily intake (RDI) without the use of supplements.4

"But my blood levels came back as normal...."

When getting your magnesium levels tested, it is important to know what kind of test is being performed.  The most commonly used test for determining magnesium levels measures the amount in your blood serum.  While this test may be useful in emergency situations, it is not as useful in determining the overall magnesium status of the entire body.2

Only 0.3% of the body’s magnesium is found in the blood serum while the rest is found inside of cells and in the bones.  When serum levels get too low, the body can "borrow" magnesium from the bones and tissues to keep the blood levels within a normal range.  It is possible that you may have a normal serum magnesium lab result, but have low levels in the rest of your body.  There are less commonly used tests that give a more accurate picture of total body magnesium status by measuring the levels of magnesium inside of cells, or how much is being excreted in the urine.2

Supplementing Magnesium

These Pinnaclife Supplements contain magnesium in the following amounts of magnesium:

D3+ Magnesium (and calcium) 400 mg
Brain Health

60 mg

Mood Support

140mg

Sleep Support 144 mg
Joint Health 17 mg

 

Although it is safe for most people to supplement magnesium, it is always best to check with a trusted and licensed healthcare provider that is familiar with your specific medical history before supplementing. 

Can you take too much magnesium?

One of the best things about supplementing magnesium is that your body gives you a very clear signal if you've taken too much, before causing any harm - and that signal is diarrhea.

In fact, a large dose (several grams) of magnesium citrate is commonly prescribed as part of the bowel prep for colonoscopies. 

It is still best to work with your doctor to determine the amount you should be using, especially if you have kidney or heart problems. The Pinnaclife products use doses that are within a tolerable range (i.e. shouldn't cause diarrhea) that only represent a fraction of what is safely administered as part of bowel preparations for colonoscopies.

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    2. Fawcett WJ, Haxby EJ, Male D a. Magnesium: physiology and pharmacology. Br J Anaesth. 1999;83(2):302–20.
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  • Kyle Hilsabeck, PharmD., is the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Affairs at McCord Holdings and licensed by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.  He completed bachelors degrees in biology and biochemistry at Wartburg College before earning his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, he completed a community pharmacy practice residency through the University of Iowa where he focused primarily on nutritional aspects of care including the use of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements.  He has taught courses for the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy on vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements and given many presentations on the subject as well.  He has a passion for improving patient care specifically with regards to the safety and quality of the nutritional supplements and health information people use.


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