One of the most important minerals that our body needs is magnesium. It is used by every organ in our body, and specifically the heart and kidneys must have it to function normally. But although it is known that magnesium as a mineral for the heart and bones, fairly recent research has found that it plays a much greater role in health. Among other things this includes in detoxification, and if you have difficulty with muscle spasms these are often caused by magnesium deficiency.
For as important as this mineral is to us, it is not easy to detect if we have a deficiency, and there are estimates that say 80% of Americans are not getting enough. The blood test alone will not reveal magnesium deficiency, as only about 1% of our total magnesium levels are in the blood. So having an understanding of magnesium's importance and knowing the difficulties in detecting its shortcomings, how do we take sure we are getting enough magnesium? Here we will point out some of the difficulties involved in making sure we get enough of this vital mineral.
1. Our food sources are no longer loaded with magnesium. Obviously soil quality will have a lot to do with the yields of magnesium-rich foods. It is estimated that an average diet from 100 years ago had yields twice as high in magnesium and other minerals as compared to an ordinary diet of today. Magnesium is one mineral that can be farmed out of soil, so eating food that typically yields high amounts of magnesium grown in depleted soil will obviously not yield as many benefits.
2. Herbicides can block absorption. Another excellent reason to buy organic food is because certain herbicides can act as chelators to block minerals such as magnesium from being absorbed into the system. So even if we do consume foods that are magnesium-rich they might be blocked by these chelators. Magnesium can also be effectively eliminated from foods by the way they are cooked or processed.
3. Other foods can inhibit magnesium absorption. Drinking excess amounts of alcohol or eating a lot of sugar can cause the body to pass magnesium through the system before it is absorbed. Also elderly people, especially those that take medications can also have problems absorbing needed magnesium.
4. Supplements are not always the answer. Many people look to supplements as the answer to a mineral-deficient diet, but there are a lot of complications to taking supplements. Not all supplements are absorbed the same way as vitamins and minerals from natural food, plus there is the issue of the synergistic relationships with other vitamins, specifically vitamin K2 and D3. When you supplement you'll know exactly the reasons you're using one, and keep them to a minimum.
5. There must be a good balance between calcium and magnesium. When you get those muscles cramps it could be that you have an imbalance of calcium and not enough magnesium. It is important especially when you exercise to not only drink plenty of water but to keep in mind your calcium, magnesium and potassium ratios. Otherwise you will likely have cramping issues.