Without Magnesium You Can’t Build Hormones or Clear Toxins
Magnesium deficiency is one of the most overlooked nutrient deficiencies in our modern-day world. Magnesium is not included on nutrition facts labels and is rarely tested for in routine blood work, literally leaving this important mineral “out of sight, out of mind.”
However, shocking new research indicates that up to 50 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium! (1) This has significant health implications because magnesium is needed to carry out over 300 different biochemical reactions in the body, including those involved in hormone production and detoxification. In fact, the health benefits of magnesium are endless.
Read on to learn about the importance of magnesium for managing stress, building hormones, and promoting detoxification, and which type of magnesium is the most bioavailable in the body.
Why are We So Deficient in Magnesium?
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body; without it, life would not exist!
However, magnesium deficiency currently afflicts a record number of people in our population. Why have we collectively become so deficient in this critical nutrient? There are five main reasons why many of us are suffering from magnesium deficiency nowadays.
Chronic gut problems
Medications that deplete magnesium
Our bodies rapidly use up magnesium during times of stress to rev up our nervous systems. Unfortunately, modern-day life is full of stressful activities, many of which we experience daily, such as working and commuting.
To make matters worse, drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages to help our bodies manage stress and keep up with the daily grind further depletes magnesium.
Given the amount of stress many of us face and the amount of coffee we drink as a nation, it's no wonder we are magnesium deficient!
The Standard American Diet (SAD) is rich in refined flours and junk food that has had most, if not all, of their magnesium removed during processing. In fact, the three “staple foods” of the SAD diet – refined grains, vegetable oils, and sugar – typically have had between 80 and 100 percent of their magnesium removed!
This means that many people are eating a diet that is very low in magnesium. To make matters worse, very few people consume the food sources of magnesium that are naturally rich in magnesium, such as dark leafy greens, legumes, and nuts.
Research indicates that magnesium content in vegetables has declined between 25-80% over the past 60 years due to increasing nutrient depletion of our soils.
Pesticides used in industrial agriculture kill soil organisms that provide nutrients to plants, and synthetic fertilizers diminish mineral absorption by fruits and vegetables. This leaves us with a product that may look healthy, but is quite nutrient-poor.
Chronic Gut Problems
Chronic gut problems, such as small intestinal bacterial growth (SIBO) and leaky gut, compromise magnesium absorption and may lead to magnesium deficiency.
On the flip side, leaky gut can impair magnesium absorption by compromising cell membrane integrity, further exacerbating magnesium deficiency. Unfortunately, leaky gut syndrome is one of the most overlooked health problems.
Medications that Deplete Magnesium
Antibiotics, diuretics, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, antacids, and corticosteroids all deplete magnesium. Considering that 55 percent of Americans regularly take at least one prescription medication, it is no wonder we are magnesium-depleted (2)!
It is abundantly clear that Americans need more magnesium. Without adequate magnesium, the 300 biochemical processes in the body that rely on this nutrient cannot function properly.
Magnesium deficiency has especially significant implications in the management of stress, hormone production, and detoxification.
reduce stress, improve insulin sensitivity, and balance hormones
Always rushing, stressing, and feeling overwhelmed?
Then your body may be using up magnesium at a rapid rate! When the body is under stress, cells dump magnesium into the bloodstream. Prolonged stress thus depletes magnesium, resulting in a deficiency of this critical nutrient. Maybe that’s why magnesium supplements are on demand nowadays.
Fortunately, magnesium supplementation not only replenishes magnesium stores that have been depleted by stress but also helps reduce anxiety in the first place!
Magnesium beneficially modulates a structure called the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, the body’s primary stress response system. When stress is high, the HPA axis is overactive, resulting in high cortisol and anxiety. Magnesium, on the other hand, reduces over-reactivity of the HPA axis, lowering cortisol and promoting relaxation (3)(4).
Magnesium regulates insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. Insulin resistance is a condition in which continuous exposure to high blood sugar causes cells to become less responsive to insulin. Magnesium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance (5).
Magnesium supplementation, on the other hand, normalizes insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar, helping to improve insulin sensitivity (6). Improved insulin sensitivity may, in turn, reduce food cravings and promote sustainable weight loss. In fact, magnesium is so effective at lowering blood sugar that it is often referred to as "nature's metformin!"
Produce steroid hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
It also helps prevent estrogen dominance by regulating Phase II liver detoxification, a process by which estrogen metabolites are made water-soluble so that the body can excrete them in urine or stool.
A lack of magnesium makes the liver unable to complete Phase II detox, potentially causing estrogen dominance and associated symptoms such as PMS, weight gain, and fluid retention. Magnesium deficiency is linked to PMS, and supplementation may help alleviate PMS symptoms (7)(8)(9).
Make Thyroid Hormones
Finally, magnesium is required for the production of thyroid hormone (10). If you are struggling with hypothyroidism despite adequate intake of iodine, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin D, it may be time to try a magnesium supplement!
Magnesium plays a crucial role in your body's detoxification processes. It helps in the whole body detoxification that is supported through several mechanisms:
Magnesium is involved in the production of ATP, the cellular energy currency that fuels biochemical processes that modify and remove toxins from the body.
Optimal magnesium status prevents the accumulation of heavy metals in the body.
Magnesium is needed to produce glutathione, the body’s most powerful detoxifier.
High levels of energy are needed for the function of sodium/potassium ATPase, an enzyme that uses ATP to pump sodium ions from cells and potassium ions into cells. This movement of sodium and potassium is coupled to the movement of nutrients, minerals, and toxins in and out of cells. A lack of magnesium inhibits ATP formation, thus reducing the activity of the ATPase and the processing and removal of toxins.
Research indicates that we are exposed to heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, in ever-increasing amounts due to industrial pollution, contaminated seafood, and dental amalgams. Due to their structural similarity to magnesium, heavy metals preferentially bind to receptors and are incorporated into tissues that generally have an affinity for magnesium.
A deficiency of magnesium leaves you susceptible to heavy metal toxicity and its associated adverse health effects, including fatigue, neurological damage, digestive problems, allergies, depression, and anxiety. This makes it all the more critical that you flood your body with magnesium! An optimal magnesium status will leave less room in your body for heavy metals and prevent the development of heavy metal toxicity.
Finally, glutathione, the body's most potent natural detoxifier, relies on magnesium for its synthesis. A lack of magnesium lowers glutathione production and inhibits Phase II liver detoxification, the process by which toxins are made water-soluble and prepared for excretion from the body.
How Do I Know if I’m Deficient in Magnesium?
If you struggle with chronic stress, eat a diet high in processed foods, take pharmaceutical drugs, or have chronic gut issues, it is fair to say that you may suffer from magnesium deficiency.
However, the best way to clinically confirm magnesium deficiency is with a red blood cell (RBC) magnesium test. Only 1 percent of total body magnesium is extracellular, and it is tightly regulated by many factors, including parathyroid hormone.
RBC magnesium is a better index of magnesium status than serum magnesium because RBCs contain appreciable amounts of magnesium.
How Much Magnesium Do I Need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for magnesium is 320 mg per day for women; however, many women may need more magnesium, especially if they have gut health issues or are on medications that deplete magnesium. Finding the right dose of magnesium for your body may require a bit of self-experimentation.
What Type of Magnesium Should I Take?
There are many types of magnesium supplements available on the market; however, many of them are very poorly absorbed and thus ineffective for rectifying magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium citrate, commonly recommended for those with constipation, and magnesium oxide have very low bioavailability and are not suitable for correcting a deficiency.
The most bioavailable form of magnesium is magnesium bisglycinate, a chelated form that is ideal for those looking to correct a deficiency. We are very excited to offer this product in the form of a magnesium chelate powder that is highly bioavailable, tastes great, and doesn’t cause digestive upset.
You can also boost your magnesium level by increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy), almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, dark chocolate, swiss chard, buckwheat, fish, okra, and bananas.
Chelated Magnesium Powder
Make extra magnesium a part of your daily routine. I drink mine while making dinner so that it's a habit.
Many women need 600 mg of magnesium a day, which is more than your multivitamin contains. Magnesium helps in preventing headaches, menstrual cramps and more.
I have tried many brands and types of magnesium and this powdered, chelated form is the most absorbable. This powder absorbs so well that it can quickly calm cramps and frayed nerves. I wanted to call this product ‘magical magnesium powder,’ but that’s probably against FDA recommendations.
Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.