What does magnesium do, and why do we need it?
Hearing the word magnesium might take you back to learning about the periodic table in 8th grade science class. Or, perhaps you think of mineral supplements that come in capsules. The truth is our bodies need magnesium from food to help with our overall wellbeing on a cellular level.1 Magnesium also helps our body store and metabolize protein and produce energy.2
Unfortunately mineral deficiencies are very common in North America, and should be taken seriously, as over time these mineral deficiencies can manifest into terminal, chronic illnesses.1,3,4 These mineral deficiencies could be linked to the SAD (Standard American Diet) as well as the increased stress our bodies and minds face due to the fast paced 21st century lifestyle that’s pushed on us. Additionally the increase in environmental pollution and hormone disruptors in household cleaners and beauty products should also be considered.
Learn more about how our environmental conditions are increasing our body’s need for more vitamins and minerals from food, by reading our eBook Healthy People Healthy Planet.
The silent mineral deficiency
Magnesium deficiencies often don’t have prevalent side effects, meaning there aren’t clear indications of a deficiency as there are with other minerals like Iron. (Learn more about the iron deficiency symptoms to watch out for here). Thus making this deficiency a sneaky, silent foe.
To make matters worse, according to Health Canada, many adults have inadequate intakes of magnesium, calcium, Vitamin A and Vitamin D.3 We see the same pattern in the US. Just like in Canada, many adults in the US also fail to get the recommended amounts of magnesium from foods in their diet.1
Overtime, deficiencies in magnesium can lead to neurological and cardiac problems.4 Constant low magnesium stores have been linked to many chronic diseases which include diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.4
Why the trend in mineral & vitamin deficiencies?
As noted above, Health Canada reports show that a lot of us Canadian adults are not only lacking in food based magnesium, but also calcium, Vitamin A and Vitamin D.3 This could be because these nutrients all work together.
Vitamin D and calcium work together to help strengthen your bones.5 So, if you are deficient in one of these two nutrients, it could lead to malabsorption of the other. Additionally, one study found giving elderly folks a combination of Vitamin D and magnesium helped reduce bone fractures, increase life expectancy and even lower the occurrence of dementia.6 These are examples of nutritional synergy; multiple compounds or nutrients working together to achieve more as a group than they could have alone.
Knowing this information about synergy, it’s important to get all of your essential vitamins and minerals from whole foods. Because of the way isolated vitamin and mineral capsules are made, they will not provide you with the naturally occurring co-factors needed for ingredient synergy.7,10,11
For example our Women’s PureFood A to Z makes it easy to get plant based calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A and Vitamin D, all from food! Food is the most natural source of nutrients. Synthetically isolated vitamins and minerals in pill form are much less absorbable when compared to nutrients in their whole food state. Learn more about this by reading our Vitamin Shopping Guide.
Mineral rich plant foods
Make sure you’re getting the necessary nutrients in your diet by eating organic, plant foods rich in magnesium, and rich in complementary nutrients.
Raw cacao powder that has been minimally refined and processed under temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius, can be a great food source of magnesium.That’s because raw cacao powder is extracted from cocoa beans, which are a great source of magnesium, potassium, calcium and copper. Needless to say, this little bean passes our synergy test!8
Shiitake mushrooms are a great source of Vitamin D. They also happen to be the only mushroom that doesn’t need its gills exposed to sunlight in order to convert its vitamin D into an absorbable form.12 Learn more about mushrooms and vitamin D by reading magical mushrooms for vegan Vitamin D.
Sweet potatoes are packed with the fat soluble retinoids; Vitamin A.9 One baked sweet potato with the skin left on contains over 500% of your daily value of vitamin A!9
Now you can avoid being apart of the statistic outlined above by Health Canada.
Don’t forget about a whole food nutritional powder
Don’t forget to invest in a whole food nutritional booster to fill in any missed nutrient gaps. Our Raw Cacao Smoothie Boosters, PureFood A to Z and PureFood Women’s A to Z only contain organically grown fruits, veggies and superfoods. Our powders make it easy to get vitamins, minerals and the nutritional cofactors needed to keep your body healthy and thriving. Finding a whole food powder is superior to a capsule form as capsule can inhibit absorption and are often heavily refined; containing or being produced with nasty chemicals.
Read more about why you likely need a multivitamin and what to look for when buying one, here.
1 http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2156587211401746 – “Magnesium is an essential mineral necessary for optimal cellular health and well-being.” “Many adults in the United States fail to get recommended amounts of magnesium from their diets” “..symptoms of magnesium deficiency are rarely seen.”
2 Stipanuk M. Biochemical and Physiological Aspects of Human Nutrition. Philadelphia: Saunders Company; 2000.
3 https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-nutrition-surveillance/health-nutrition-surveys/canadian-community-health-survey-cchs/canadian-adults-meet-their-nutrient-requirements-through-food-intake-alone-health-canada-2012.html#b1 “Many adults have inadequate intakes of magnesium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D”
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1855626/ ‘Magnesium deficiency can cause a wide variety of features including hypocalcaemia, hypokalaemia and cardiac and neurological manifestations. Chronic low magnesium state has been associated with a number of chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and osteoporosis.’
5 http://www.jabfm.org/content/22/6/698.full ‘..it is well known that the combination of vitamin D and calcium is necessary to maintain bone density as people age..’
6 https://journals.lww.com/americantherapeutics/Abstract/publishahead/Magnesium_Supplementation_in_Vitamin_D_Deficiency_.98763.aspx ‘Vitamin D and Mg replacement therapy in elderly patients is known to reduce the nonvertebral fractures, overall mortality and the incidence of Alzheimer dementia.’’
7 Thiel R. The Truth About Vitamins In Supplements ANMA Monitor, 2003; 6(2)
9 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/ ‘See table for sweet potato units -> 561% of DV for 1 sweet potato with skin on.
10 Vinson JA, Bose P. Bioavailability of Synthetic Ascorbic Acid and a Citrus Extract. Ann New York Academy of Sciences, 1987;498:525-526
11 Vinson JA. Human Supplementation with Different Forms of Vitamin C. University of Scranton, Scranton (PA)
12 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov ‘Shiitake mushrooms not only produce vitamin D2 but also produce vitamin D3 and vitamin D4.’ ‘Therefore, mushrooms are a rich source of vitamin D2 that when consumed can increase and maintain blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in a healthy range. Ingestion of mushrooms may also provide the consumer with a source of vitamin D3 and vitamin D4.’
‘The cocoa bean contains several minerals necessary for vascular function. Dietary magnesium, copper, potassium, and calcium all reduce risk of hypertension and atherosclerosis (248).’
‘Dark chocolate (70%–85% cacao) provides 36?mg of magnesium per 100?kcal serving, which is 9% of the U.S. recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for middle-aged men—more than three times the amount provided by milk chocolate (11?mg) (1, 184). Magnesium is a cofactor in protein synthesis, muscle relaxation, and energy production (249). Magnesium is an antiarrhythmic and hypotensive hypotensive (4, 36, 53, 87, 237, 260).’