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Excuse Buster: Magnesium – A powerhouse mineral

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Guess which mineral deficiency makes you twice as likely to die as people with healthy levels?

According to a study published in The Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, the answer is magnesium.

Many people have heard of the benefits of getting enough magnesium to relax muscles (reduce muscle cramps) and promote sleep, but did you know magnesium is responsible for more than 350 essential biochemical reactions, including energy production digestion and elimination, muscle function, bone formation and new cell creation?

Magnesium also assists in the proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, adrenals, brain and nervous system. It helps protect cells from oxidative damage that leads to free radicals and aging.

What a powerhouse mineral – and most of us are not getting enough of it. Recent government-supported studies showed that 68 per cent of Americans don’t consume enough magnesium on a daily basis.

Another study out of the UK revealed two out of three women over 40 are deficient in magnesium.

Why are we not getting enough? Our ancestors weren’t going around popping magnesium pills. The obvious answer is our modern, Western, highly-processed and refined diet is severely lacking in magnesium and under stress our bodies need much more.

Most magnesium is stored in the tissues, so leg cramps, foot pain or muscle ‘twitches’ are usually the first signs. Insomnia, irritability, anxiety, heart palpitations, angina, constipation, headaches, migraines and fibromyalgia are also possible symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Chronic fatigue, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, post menstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, irritable bladder and irritable bowel syndrome could be caused by a lack of magnesium.

Some people severely deficient will benefit from taking a supplement like Magnesium Citrate (avoid the oxide which the body doesn’t assimilate well), but people with kidney disease or severe heart disease should take magnesium only under doctor’s supervision.

The current recommended daily amount (RDA) of magnesium for adults is 300mg to 400mg. The RDAs are general guidelines and do not take into account unique situation like stress levels, which require higher magnesium amounts.

Some people may need two to three times this amount to restore levels to optimal.

For all of us, consuming plenty of magnesium rich foods is critical, so add as many of the following to your daily meals as possible:

1 cup of steamed spinach (or Swiss chard) has roughly 157 milligrams
1 ounce (28 grams) pumpkin seeds 150mg
100 grams of mackerel has about 98mg
1 cup cooked brown rice has about 86mg
1 ounce almonds is 80mg
1 avocado is 65mg
1 ounce dark chocolate is about 60mg

Another option, which I do, is to use magnesium salts such as Dead Sea and Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) in a foot bath or full bath – which most know is a great way to relax and soak up magnesium.

Another point to know is good vitamin D levels are critical for magnesium uptake. Exposure to sunlight is essential in helping the body absorb vitamin D and fortunately there is no shortage of sun here.

Craig Burton is a nutritional expert with more than 15 years of experience at the forefront of the health and well-being field. He offers a high-level of his expertise in functional training and nutrition, focusing on detoxification, food intolerance and nutrient deficiency.

For more information about Craig and his services, visit

— Craig Burton


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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