Magnesium: The Invisible Deficiency
A while back, I wrote an article on some of the important roles that magnesium plays in our bodies, and its importance especially for women trying to conceive. I’m constantly reminded of the importance of this mineral for overall health, not just for fertility but also for many other acute and chronic health complaints. Literally every organ in your body uses magnesium – and it has been estimated that up to 80% of Americans (likely similar numbers in Canada) may be deficient in it.
Testing for magnesium deficiency in the blood is a really poor way to look at overall magnesium status – that’s because only 1% of your body’s magnesium is floating around in the blood. Most of it is stored in organs and deep in your bones, and specialized testing is required to get a good sense of storage levels. This is why many practitioners refer to magnesium deficiency as the ‘invisible deficiency.’ Luckily for us, the micronutrient panel that we use at Acubalance is an effective way to measure intracellular magnesium levels, and tells us how deficient you may be.
Many signs and symptoms may point to a magnesium deficiency, but some of the more common ones include:
-migraines or headaches
-high blood pressure
-muscle twitching or cramping
Depletion of magnesium can happen if intake of the mineral is low, if you are at risk for low magnesium due to age or taking certain medications, and if the digestive tract doesn’t easily absorb and assimilate magnesium. Dr. Mercola summarizes some of the ways magnesium can be depleted here:
-excessive intake of soda or caffeine
-older age (lowered absorption and/or taking medications that interfere with absorption)
-certain medications: diuretics, antibiotics (especially gentamicin and tobramycin), corticosteroids (prednisone), antacids, and insulin
-an unhealthy digestive system (IBS, IBD, food allergies etc.)
Some foods are high in magnesium such as: seaweed, leafy green veggies (spinach, Swiss chard), some beans, nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds), avocados, and other vegetables. Increasing your intake of veggies and vegetarian protein sources is one really great way to increase magnesium levels. But another incredibly effective way (especially if you have a digestive condition) is to receive regular nutritional IV therapies.
When we give magnesium intravenously, it bypasses the liver and the digestive tract – so you don’t have to worry about the ability of the gut to assimilate and absorb it. Magnesium delivered into the vein goes straight to where it is needed – to the cells of the organs that need it. We’re able to achieve higher blood levels of magnesium using IV therapy than we could ever get with oral dosing – so you don’t have to do IVs every day. I often recommend a series of 6 to 10 nutritional IVs, as a boost to the nutrient levels in the system, and follow up with oral dosing to maintain the storage levels.
Having a nutritional IV is also quite enjoyable – especially during IV Fridays (what we call TGIV). We set up our studio room with quiet music, calm lighting, and comfortable chairs for you to receive a nutritional IV bag in a semi-private environment (3-6 people). All of our nutritional IVs contain magnesium in a highly absorbable and activated form; the amount of magnesium and other nutrients is tailored to the individual patient. Our IVs contain no preservatives or chemicals – just vitamins and minerals diluted in sterile water.
If you’re looking for more information, check out the following links to read about the benefits of nutritional IVs and the TGIV program at Acubalance:
Call us at the clinic to register for the next TGIV – we hold them on the first and third Friday of every month!
Dr. Kali MacIsaac HBSc, ND