Give me all the chocolate! Chocolate cake, chocolate bars, chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate! Is this you? Did you know that craving chocolate is a common sign of magnesium deficiency? (Read more on what your cravings mean here). Along with chocolate cravings, other signs of magnesium deficiency include being ticklish, being agoraphobic or having a fear of public places and/or large crowds, having insomnia, and/or restless leg syndrome. I have read several statistics, but somewhere between 70-90% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
Magnesium is an essential macro-mineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body. Magnesium is considered an anti-stress mineral. It relaxes skeletal muscles along with smooth muscles of the blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract. Magnesium must be balanced in the body with several other minerals; calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium chloride to keep the body in homeostasis.
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include fatigue, irritability, insomnia, muscle twitching or tremors, and possibly anorexia. Psychological issues may arise such as poor memory, confusion or decreased learning ability, anxiety and depression. Rapid heart rate and other cardiovascular issues may occur with a moderate magnesium deficiency. Premenstrual syndrome has been linked to magnesium deficiency along with morning sickness in pregnant women.
A majority of magnesium sources comes from vegetables. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard and beet greens are excellent sources of magnesium. Other sources are nuts and seeds such as almonds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds, avocados, chocolate, figs and bananas.
Some factors that increase the likelihood of a magnesium deficiency include, a diet high in processed foods, drinking soda, alcohol consumption and eating only boiled or cooked foods, especially vegetables. Drinking soft water also increases the risk of magnesium deficiency along with eating conventionally grown crops where the soil used is depleted of many nutrients. Soil depletion can result from high yield crops such as wheat, corn and soybeans.
There are many options for supplementing with magnesium. If you suspect that you are deficient I recommend you do your research and/or work with a practitioner, like myself, to find out the best option for you.
Jamey, NTP, CPT
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