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On May 18, 2012, in Natural remedies, Vitamins, by Dr. Tuchinsky

  • 1. The lack of awareness.   Low magnesium or magnesium deficiency is an extremely prevalent condition. In fact, it is estimated that more than half of the US population does not meet required intake levels of magnesium. The problem is due to the widespread depletion of magnesium in our soil, inadequate diet and high consumption of caffeine.

It can present with anxiety, insomnia, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and fatigue. It can also lead to diabetes and irregular heart rate.

 2. The problem with diagnosis.  There are a number of pitfalls when it comes to the diagnosis of magnesium deficiency. Let’s say, you read the symptoms above and they seem to fit. So you go to your doctor and ask them to check magnesium levels. The results come back, the doctor calls you and tells you to relax – your magnesium level was within normal limits.

Should you forget about it? Absolutely not. It’s very likely that your doctor is not familiar with the difference between hypomagnesemia (low serum levels of magnesium) vs magnesium deficiency. The latter may occur despite normal blood levels if your cells have a difficult time absorbing and using this vital element.

A better test would be a micronutrient analysis performed on your leukocyte white blood cells. If you doctor doesn’t know about it, you can get it from “order it yourself” labs but keep in mind that some of the more progressive insurance do now cover this costly test, at least partially.

3. The problem with treatment.  Now, let’s say the micronutrient analysis confirms that your cells are low on magnesium. Ok, that explains the fatigue, muscle cramps, your nervousness and insomnia. Great news. You start taking over the counter magnesium supplements and look forward to quick improvement. Several weeks or months go by and you’re not any better. What should you make out of that? Maybe it wasn’t the real reason after all?

Don’t be too quick to jump to conclusions. Take a look at the supplement bottle that you bought. If you haven’t done a lot of research about it, you might have ended up with magnesium oxide, the most commonly used form of magnesium supplement and the most useless one. The bioavailability of magnesium oxide is very low, which means that your body will get very little out of these pills. Toss these bottle in the trash and get yourself the right kind of supplement: magnesium aspartate, chloride, lactate, citrate or glycinate. I personally found magnesium lactate to be the one with most noticeable results and also easier to on the stomach than other forms but I have to admit that I haven’t tried all of them. However, an even better way to quickly replete deficient magnesium stores in your body is to use a transdermal magnesium chloride oil, such as Ancient Mineral spray. Magnesium has a surprisingly good absorption through the skin and it has been known for a very long time, dating back to old fashioned bath treatment with Epsom salts, which is magnesium sulfate. Be sure to get a high quality spray with a high concentration derived from sea salt minerals, such as Ancient Minerals magnesium oil spray.  The only drawback is that it tends to burn when applied, especially if your skin is dry but you can rinse it off after about twenty minutes. You should aim to get 350-400 mg of magnesium per day.