Happy Healthy YOU

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Kelly Spencer - Happy Healthy YOU

(A wellness column by Kelly Spencer: writer, life coach, yoga & meditation teacher, holistic healer and a mindful life enthusiast!)

Feeling stressed, foggy and fatigued are common attributes of many overworked, overburdened folks. But could there be a reason that is being missed and overlooked?

Magnesium deficiency is very common and many say that almost all of us have some adversities from the lack of this powerful and important electrolyte in our body. Many researchers are saying that the care of our magnesium levels is crucial to living an optimally healthy life.

What are signs of magnesium deficiency?

More seriously chronic fatigue syndrome, adrenal fatigue and cardiovascular disease such as congestive heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), atrial fibrillation and palpitations can be signs of deficiency.

Extreme thirst and hunger, frequent urination, sores or bruises that heal slowly, blurry vision and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet can indicate a severe deficiency of magnesium.

Less severe yet intensely impactful on our everyday living are the following symptoms: constipation, muscle cramping, tension in neck, shoulders and upper back, leg cramping, muscle twitching including under the eyes, foggy brain, difficulty concentrating, behavioral disturbances, emotional shifts such as anxiety and depression, tension and sleep disturbances. This list is not complete and some say that basically chronic disease and chronic tension in general can often lead to a magnesium deficiency diagnosis.

How is magnesium deficiency diagnosed?

Dr. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is a neurosurgeon and one of the world's leading experts in stress and pain management. Dr. Shealy says, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency,” and that, “magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient.”

“Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it does not show up in blood tests – only 1% of the body's magnesium is stored in the blood.” - Dr. Mark Sircus, Director International Medical Veritas Association.

Dr. Sircus shares that few people are aware of the enormous number one mineral importance the roll magnesium plays.

“After oxygen, water, and basic food, magnesium may be the most important element needed by our bodies, vitally important yet hardly known. It is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them. Millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it.”

So the short answer of how is it diagnosed... it’s usually not. But we don’t need a diagnoses to take responsibility for taking care of ourselves.

What can we do about it? With a world that operates on busy, quick and fast fixes, our stress levels are elevated and our diets are nutrient diminished. We’re running our engines at high speed with a crappy fuel and this leaves us with some big internal engine problems. Taking care of our bodies and minds will make a difference.

Decrease stress! Stress hormone production requires high levels of magnesium and stressful experiences lead to depletion of magnesium stores. The first step to dealing with stress held in the cellular memory of your body is to know when you are stressed. Develop a mind-body connection that encourages you to check in with yourself, take inventory and scan your body and mind. Are you feeling tension in your neck, back, muscles? Are you muscles relaxed and if not, are you able to relax them? Have you been thinking clearly, concentrating easily and effectively task managing? Are you able to shut off the mind and enjoy down time? Are you able to fall asleep at night without self-medicating?

The more you know about how you are feeling in your body and mind in this moment as it is, the more you can effectively take action.

If you find that you are holding on to stress in the body, mind or heart and carrying tension around with you like a weighted back pack, find ways to let it go! Nature, exercise, yoga, meditation, laughter, family, friends, alone time, whatever is right for you to bring your body back to an aligned relaxed place, do it!

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, so decrease unneeded stress and take action to increase your levels. Check your intake! Processed, high sugar, fast food diets are often depleted in magnesium. It has been said that every molecule of sugar we consume, our bodies use 54 molecules of magnesium to process it.

Other areas in our intake eco-structure that have shown magnesium depletion is our modern farming techniques, low levels in soil linked to pesticide use and some pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, cortisones, contraceptives and blood pressure medication.

Diuretics, both prescribed (to decrease edema or fluid retention) or natural diuretics (such as coffee, tea, pop or other high caffeine drink or food), can deplete levels due to higher excretion levels. Refined and processed foods during processing are stripped of their mineral, vitamin, and fiber content. Not only do they lack nutrients they actually steal from existing sources by robbing magnesium in order to be metabolized.

Eat foods rich in magnesium! Eating whole foods farmed in organic soil that are rich in magnesium can boost your levels. Here are just a few of my favorites:

1. Green and leafy - spinach, kale, swiss chard and collard greens.

2. Nuts and seeds - pumpkin and squash are highest but sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds and cashews are high as well.

3. Beans and lentils - white bean and soya are high on the list. Make sure organic though, as most likely genetic modified if not (GMO).

4. Whole grains: Quinoa tops the magnesium levels but millet, wild and brown rice also high.

5. Dark chocolate - this is one of the best sources of magnesium we can get. This might explain our craving for chocolate when feeling sluggish?

Supplements provide other ways to get our magnesium levels up.

1. Magnesium citrate is the most popular as it is easily absorbed and inexpensive. I checked with both the Health Supply Centre and Sangster’s in Tillsonburg and they both carry supplemental forms in capsule and liquid. Also The Bulk Barn.

2. Magnesium oil - apply directly on the skin.

3. Magnesium rich salts - soaking in an epsom salts bath or sea salts bath will promote magnesium absorption as well as assist to relax and rejuvenate you.

Magnesium is a magnificent part of our body. By checking our lifestyle and increasing magnesium levels we can not only decrease chronic illness or symptoms, but promote a happier and healthier body and mind.

(If you would like to see an article on a specific topic, please email kelly@indigolounge.ca

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