Magnesium is one of the most common supplements I prescribe in my naturopathic practice. While found in a variety of foods, it is often deficient in the average American diet. A recent study indicates that nearly thirty-two percent of Americans do not get adequate amounts of magnesium in their diets. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and an increased risk of osteoporosis, as well as mental disturbances such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
In fact, recurring anxiety and depression, or a depression that does not readily improve with other medications, is often one of the first signs that you may be deficient. Magnesium promotes calming within the brain. This is both because of its complicated actions inside the brain, as well as its role in neurotransmitter production. Causes of magnesium deficiency can include digestive problems, such as malabsorption or maldigestion, diarrhea, IBS, IBD, or simply a poor diet.
Finding the Right Supplement for Your Health Needs
Often when I place a patient on magnesium they feel markedly better within a few days. They sleep better and report a general feeling of better overall health. Of the several forms of magnesium on the market. I advise patients to avoid magnesium oxide, which is too hard on the stomach, and instead choose magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate, either in liquid, powder or capsule form.
Currently, the company Floradix supplies a liquid form that has a great flavor and seems to be easily digested. I usually advise patients to take dosages of between 300mg to 750mg a day, as higher doses of magnesium citrate can cause diarrhea in some people – but always check with your doctor first. If you suffer from insomnia, taking supplements at night can also act as a sleep aid.
For people wishing to enjoy a good night’s sleep, I often prescribe Magnesium Calm by Natural Vitality. This product comes in multiple flavors and can be taken prior to bedtime for best results. This product also helps people who suffer from constipation and is usually taken at night for best results.
Common dietary sources of magnesium include nut and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, whole grains and beans, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, and fresh fish. Switching to a whole foods diet rich in plant-based nutrients is one of the safest and easiest ways to make sure you are getting adequate magnesium in your diet.
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