Magnesium: An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health

Vitamin D3, vitamin K2 and calcium must be balanced with magnesium

It may seem like you could eliminate the risks of low magnesium in your body simply by taking food supplements, but it’s not quite that simple. When you’re taking magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically with one another.

Excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to a heart attack and sudden death, for instance. Research on the Paleolithic or caveman diet has shown that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet that our bodies evolved to eat is 1-to-1.

The Americans, however, tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1.

If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium in your diet, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences, for your heart in particular.

“What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,” Dr. Dean explains.

When balancing calcium and magnesium, keep in mind that vitamins K2 and D3 need to be considered.

These 4 nutrients perform an intricate “dance” together, with one supporting the other. Lack of balance among these nutrients is one of the reasons why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity.

Part of the explanation for these adverse side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place. If you are K2 deficient, added calcium can cause more problems than it solves, by accumulating in all the wrong places, like your soft tissues.

Similarly, if you opt for oral vitamin D, you need to also consume it in your food or take supplemental vitamin K2 and more magnesium.

Taking mega doses of vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of K2 and magnesium can lead to vitamin D toxicity and magnesium deficiency symptoms, which include inappropriate calcification that may damage your heart.

Advice for increasing your magnesium levels

One way to really increase your magnesium, as well as many other important plant-based nutrients, is by juicing your greens. I typically drink 1 pint to 1 quart (4,7 dl to 9.5 dl) of fresh green vegetable juice every day, and this is one of my primary sources of magnesium.

Organic foods may have more magnesium if grown in nutrient-rich soils, but it is very difficult to make that determination.

If you opt for a supplement, be aware that there are a wide variety of magnesium supplements on the market, because magnesium must be bound to another substance. There’s simply no such thing as a 100% magnesium supplement!

The substance used in any given compound can affect the absorption and bioavailability of the magnesium, and may provide slightly different, or targeted, health benefits.

Follows summarizes some of the differences between the various forms

Magnesium threonate and magnesium citrate are some of the best sources, as it seems to penetrate cell membranes, including your mitochondria, which results in higher energy levels.

Additionally, it also penetrates your blood-brain barrier and seems to do wonders to treat and prevent dementia and improve memory. If you take a supplement, you can use the “bowel test” to determine if you’re taking too much magnesium. Dr. Dean explains:

“The best way to tell if you are getting enough magnesium is the “bowel test”. You know when you have too much magnesium when your stools become loose. This, in fact, may be a blessing for people with constipation, which is one of the many ways magnesium deficiency manifests.”

Besides taking a magnesium supplement, another way to improve your magnesium status is to take regular Epsom salt baths or foot baths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can absorb into your body through your skin. Magnesium oil can also be used for topical application and absorption.

Whatever supplement you choose, make sure to avoid any containing magnesium stearate – a common but potentially hazardous additive to many food supplements.

1. Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency.

2. Magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60% magnesium, and has stool softening properties.

3.  Magnesium chloride/Magnesium lactate contain only 12% magnesium, but has better absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium.

4.  Magnesium sulfate/Magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) are typically used as laxatives. Be aware that it is easy to overdose on these, so ONLY take as directed.

5.  Magnesium carbonate, which has antacid properties, contains 45% magnesium.

6.  Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind.

7. Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which like most magnesium supplements has laxative properties, but it is well absorbed and cost effective.

8. Magnesium threonate is a newer, emerging type of magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its superior ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane, and may be the best magnesium supplement on the market.