The fastest rising product in the supplement industry is magnesium. But magnesium comes in lots of ways. I always recommend vitamins and minerals in a food matrix which usually means coming from plants (living things) not dead (inorganic rocks and salts). The bioavailability and efficacy of vitamins and minerals delivered in their natural, plant-based state far surpasses anything that can be created in a laboratory. And they are never harmful like synthetic vitamins.

Terry Power asked me to review a book by Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. called The Magnesium Miracle. I recently read it and found it to be an awesome book that supports the tenets of our work in the GRM. I will share some of that information as I know you will find it very enlightening. One of her magnesium products she designed provides therapeutic levels of magnesium in a form that will not cause a laxative effect before it reaches the cells. Supplements containing magnesium can cause diarrhea.

For example, magnesium oxide has only a 4 percent absorption level. If you take 1000 milligrams (mg) of magnesium oxide, your body only gets 40 mg of magnesium. The rest is not absorbed by your cells but goes into your digestive tract before it is eliminated by the body. The body gets rid of surplus magnesium it cannot use by giving you diarrhea (the laxative effect). Almost all of the various inorganic forms of magnesium have this effect.

So, clearly, our bodies prefer magnesium in plant-form. The problem of getting magnesium from our food is that the mineral is often missing in our soil. If the mineral is not in the soil, it doesn’t get into the plant. Plants can create vitamins but they cannot create minerals. Minerals have to be provided in the soil and then the plant creates a food matrix around that mineral that optimizes it for human absorption and use. However, our modern farming practices have depleted this important mineral. Remember, no one assays or measures the nutrition in our food. We reward farmers based on appearance and weight (mostly water weight!). There are no guarantees for nutrition even in organic fields. Organic has to do with pesticide and herbicide application not with nutrition. Researchers estimate that the diet of people in 1920 was about 500 mg/day of magnesium. Today the estimate is only 175-225 mg/day. That equates to a 60 percent loss! I will share with you in a later post how this has contributed to heart disease becoming the number one killer.

Researchers estimate that 80 percent of the public are deficient in magnesium. This vital mineral is used in 700-800 different enzyme functions within our body so a lack of magnesium contributes to an amazing array of disease and health challenges. In my book, I talk about the calcium lie. Dr. Dean supports the belief that we are actually getting too much calcium from inorganic supplements, fortified foods and/or pasteurized dairy products. One of the things calcium does is it depletes magnesium. Calcium and magnesium work together in a dance throughout the body. They work together in opposite directions in perfect rhythm until one gets too out of balance. In today’s world, it turns out that excessive amounts of calcium are causing our bodies to get rid of whatever stores of magnesium we have. This leads to heart disease as calcium gets deposited in our arteries.

In addition to problems of the heart, six of the eight steps in the Krebs cycle necessary to produce energy within our cells require magnesium. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is made in the mitochondria of the cells. Lack of magnesium affects energy levels and leads to many chronic diseases.

Why are doctors missing this? The standard test employed by doctors to check magnesium is a blood test called total serum magnesium. This test is a very poor predictor of magnesium in the tissues and cells. Magnesium exists in two states: a form that is bound with another substance and a free ionized form. It is the free ionized form that participates in the hundreds of biochemical processes within the cell. It can only be measured by a ionized magnesium test which is only available to scientists and not doctors. The best test a doctor can run is called a magnesium RBC blood test. It isn’t standard but it costs less than $50. This test will give you the best indication of true ionic magnesium levels throughout your body (not just in the blood stream). Only one percent of the magnesium is in the blood. This is why a serum magnesium test is not very helpful. 99 percent of stored magnesium is in tissue–the heart is the biggest repository of magnesium. I will discuss the heart and magnesium more in a separate article.

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