Am I Getting Enough Magnesium?
Learn about the deceptive nature of magnesium deficiency, our government’s daily intake recommendations, magnesium deficiency statistics, and how to see if you’re deficient.
++ Page Overview
Magnesium deficiency can become a serious problem. It starts off as a variety of mild discomforts, but may eventually grow into various life-altering diseases if magnesium is not restored. This guide to assessing your magnesium intake & deficiency covers:
- Why deficiency goes unnoticed and untreated.
- How guidelines for daily intakes are outdated and thus contribute to deficiency.
- How common is deficiency: an accurate look at statistics.
- How to see if you are deficient.
Magnesium deficiency is now an epidemic and affects most people of all ages to some degree. Please share this information with friends and loved ones.
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1. Why deficiency goes unnoticed & untreated:
1. Symptoms are misleading
All our vital organs, muscles and nerves need magnesium to function. This helps us see why magnesium deficiency symptoms are dangerously deceiving:
- They can arise in any part of our body, which is difficult to identify as a nutrient deficiency because western medicine treats our body as separate parts instead of a unified system.
- Symptoms start as minor discomforts and gradually progress to eventually debilitating conditions as our deficiency continues to go untreated.
2. Blood tests don’t work well
The unfortunate reality is that the curriculum of medical doctors pays very little attention to magnesium’s central roles in practically every bodily system. Thus most doctors who don’t pursue additional education are not aware of magnesium deficiency’s large range of symptoms, which leads them to often suspect other less probable and more complex causes. This often results in prescribing harmful pharmaceuticals – which ironically enough, deplete the human body of its magnesium.
This common unfamiliarity with magnesium also means that doctors use ineffective methods of testing to spot magnesium deficiency: Their method relies on a serum magnesium blood test. Unfortunately this standard blood test is unreliable at identifying magnesium deficiency. (Click here to see why, and learn about the more reliable forms of testing.)
We are then faced with a situation of misleading symptoms that grow gradually worse, without our doctors seeing that a nutrient deficiency is at the root of our growing problem.
Symptoms of deficiency can appear in any body part, because they all need magnesium to function. If unresolved, deficiency grows into disease.
Because less than .5% of magnesium is in our blood, and our kidneys keep the level constant, standard blood tests rarely identify a deficiency.
2. The Problem With Current Magnesium Guidelines:
The Canadian and US governments have guidelines called RDAs which tell us how much magnesium we should consume daily to avoid deficiency and disease. Let’s look at how dangerously flawed these guidelines are. A guideline should be established based on a current, accurate assessment of several factors:
- How much magnesium the human body uses and loses every day.
- Our ability to absorb magnesium from food.
- The level of magnesium in our current food supply.
In other words, how much we get versus how much we lose daily. Not only has our modern food supply become severely deficient in magnesium, but our daily magnesium loss has increased substantially because all stress depletes the body’s magnesium, and our levels of environmental stress are now at all-time highs. Furthermore stress also causes inflammation which damages our intestine, where dietary magnesium is absorbed. Here‘s the big problem:
Institutional guidelines for magnesium intake have not been raised to reflect these rises in our daily bodily magnesium losses and agricultural depletion. Even worse, guidelines were set as minimums to avoid debilitating disease, as opposed to guidelines for optimal health.
A final important note, is that the last 5 years of magnesium research have revealed that magnesium in the human body is needed for a far greater variety of biological processes than was once believed. Until recently, it was believed that magnesium was needed for 300+ different processes, but the most recent research points towards 3700+ processes! The guidelines for magnesium RDA have not been increased to reflect these new findings either.
Magnesium experts agree
Our experts agree that our RDAs are far too low. Magnesium expert Dr. Carolyn Dean MD, ND explains that even under healthy conditions, we still need 300 mg of magnesium every day just to replenish daily losses for normal bodily processes. This alone is almost the entire RDA, not accounting for any environmental stress or exercise-induced magnesium losses.
The influential, Real Vitamin & Mineral Book further confirms this view. Instead of bare minimums for preventing debilitating deficiency, their recommendations are geared towards proactive, optimal health: They suggest 500-750 mg of magnesium daily for adults.
Dr. Mark Sircus in his book Transdermal Magnesium Therapy says that daily magnesium intakes should be 600-800 mg for 200lb males and 450-600 mg for 150 lb females.
It is clear that our RDAs for magnesium intake are far too low. This helps us see just how concerning magnesium deficiency statistics really are:
Magnesium intake guidelines are outdated. They have never changed to reflect increases in magnesium-depleting environmental stress, and agricultural depletion of magnesium.
Experts agree that we should aim to get 1.5 to double the amounts suggested in our guidelines.
3. How common is deficiency?
Magnesium deficiency is global with western countries like France showing percentages of up to 80%. In Finland, institutional campaigns to increase magnesium intake have resulted in heart disease falling from #1 to #10 in leading causes of death![8.] In North America magnesium deficiency is practically the norm:
The World Health Organization estimates over 70% of Americans are deficient and that 20% of all americans don’t even get half the recommended 400mg! [9-11] In Canada, between 40-60% of people over 19 years of age are deficient. Here is the problem:
Institutions arrive at these statistics by finding out how many people fail to meet the outdated 400mg daily requirement, when in reality the requirement should be between 600-800mg.
Thus if 70% of people don’t meet the 400mg daily RDA, it means that substantially more people do not meet the 600-800 mg daily which health experts recommend.
In other words, almost all of us are deficient in magnesium to some degree, because due to our modern circumstances, it has become very difficult to get enough magnesium from diet alone.
4. How Do I Know I'm Deficient?
While looking at statistics gives us an idea of just how widespread magnesium deficiency is, taking a logical look at the everyday factors that affect our body’s net magnesium balance can also provide insight into how likely it is that we are deficient:
- It has become very difficult to get enough magnesium from diet alone.
- All stress depletes magnesium.
- Every organ, muscle and nerve uses magnesium every day.
- The human body can’t make its own magnesium.
If our body needs the same amount of magnesium every day, yet we continue to not get that amount from our food, while losing more to stress levels, then simple math tells us that if we are not supplementing, we are deficient to some degree.
Magnesium supplementation should be taken seriously. To get a more accurate idea of your level of deficiency, please look at which kinds of magnesium tests are the most reliable.
- Serum Magnesium Blood Test – WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/magnesium-mg#1
- Health Canada Magnesium Daily Intake Guidelines: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/reference/table/ref_elements_tbl-eng.php
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Magnesium Daily Intake Guidelines: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
- The Magnesium Miracle: https://www.amazon.ca/Magnesium-Miracle-Revised-Updated/dp/034549458X
- The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book, 4th edition: The Definitive Guide to Designing Your Personal Supplement Program. https://www.amazon.ca/Real-Vitamin-Mineral-Book-4th/dp/158333274X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477612925&sr=1-1&keywords=Real+Vitamin+%26+Mineral+Book
- Transdermal Magnesium Therapy: A New Modality for the Maintenance of Health. https://www.amazon.ca/Transdermal-Magnesium-Therapy-Modality-Maintenance/dp/1450283543/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1477613027&sr=1-1&keywords=Transdermal+Magnesium+Therapy
- Dietary magnesium intake in a French adult population. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9513928
- The Magnesium Factor: How One Simple Nutrient Can Prevent, Treat, and Reverse High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Other Chronic Conditions. https://www.amazon.ca/Magnesium-Factor-Nutrient-Pressure-Conditions/dp/1583331565
- Calcium and magnesium in drinking-water: Public health significance. www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/publication_9789241563550/en/
- Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15930481
- Problem nutrients in the United States. agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do;jsessionid=BDCF746DFBCBEF55276ED09B1FB9409E?request_locale=en&recordID=US19820827960&sourceQuery=&query=&sortField=&sortOrder=&agrovocString=&advQuery=¢erString=&enableField=
- Do Canadian Adults Meet Their Nutrient Requirements Through Food Intake Alone? www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/art-nutr-adult-eng.php