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Hello, my name is Kathy and I am a chocoholic….well, a recovering one anyway. And chocolate is a major addiction for an awful lot of people. Just turn on the television or look online and you will easily find some joke, quote, or reference about being addicted to chocolate, and let’s face it….we are! If you are like so many others, you find yourself craving the brown, sweet goodness on a daily basis, sometimes more than once a day! But having regular chocolate cravings may actually be a sign that you may have a magnesium deficiency. Many times, we crave foods that can help to replace nutrients that we are lacking, and for approximately 80% of people, one of those nutrients is magnesium.
Why are so many people dealing with magnesium deficiency?
It’s actually a combination of things.
Conventionally grown crops
What does produce have to do with it? Conventional factory farming depletes the soil of vital nutrients. Factory farms also use a whole lot of toxic pesticides….all of which work by depleting magnesium levels even further.
Packaged and processed food
These foods are virtually vacant of all, good, high-quality nutrients! In fact, if a product has had to be “enriched” then you can be assured that essentially every particle of good nutrients has been processed out. In order to claim some nutritional benefits, food companies add synthetic vitamins and minerals and enrich the products. These synthetic nutrients are a poor substitute for the real thing! Your body was simply not designed to absorb them! Couple the lack of real nutrients with the overabundance of chemical additives….artificial colors, flavors, preservatives. All of these nasty chemicals leech more vital nutrients from your body….including magnesium.
There are a lot of people who take calcium supplements every day, but don’t take any magnesium. These two minerals are important to take together because they work in tandem. Too much of one can leave you deficient in the other, and vice versa. So you may want to rethink that calcium supplement!
There are a host of different drugs that actually deplete magnesium levels in the body. Antacids, certain antibiotics, estrogen, corticosteroids, some anti-psychotic meds, diuretics, asthma medications, and some heart medications are all known to either deplete or create a greater need in the body for magnesium.
Alcohol, coffee, and sugar
These three things are consumed regularly by many, but will significantly reduce magnesium levels in the body.
Illness and injury
Any time your body is in need of healing from surgery or an injury, it will lower magnesium levels as the body utilized magnesium in order to heal.
Living in a condition of chronic stress calls on the body to use a lot of different nutrients, including magnesium in order to keep the body, particularly the heart, going. The longer you stay under stress, the less magnesium you have, and the more you need magnesium to help you relax! It’s really a vicious cycle!
If you are deficient in magnesium, what are some other symptoms a person may experience?
- Acid reflux
- Adrenal fatigue
- Higher blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- High blood sugar
- Headaches (particularly migraines)
- Heart attacks
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammation, anywhere in the body
- Kidney stones
- Muscle spams
The good news is that it does not have to be difficult or expensive to begin building your magnesium levels up, and as you replace vital magnesium, you should see symptoms decrease or disappear completely!
How should I begin to reverse magnesium deficiency in my body?
The first way to begin replacing magnesium levels is by increasing the amount of magnesium-rich foods that you eat. Some foods to increase in your diet can include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Yogurt and milk kefir
- Black beans
- Dark chocolate
- Goat cheese
One way that you can increase magnesium is to get it transdermally, through the skin.
You can do this by…
1. Epsom salt soak. Pour 2 cups in a bathtub full of water or 1 cup into a footbath and soak for about 20 minutes.
2. Using magnesium oil spray. This is easy to do, but for some, the magnesium oil can be a little itchy. The good news about the itchiness is that it goes away fairly quickly.
3. Use magnesium lotion. This option is great for those whose skin is too sensitive to magnesium lotion. It is much more gentle on the skin. Don’t know where to purchase it?
If you wish to supplement orally, then look into a magnesium amino acid chelate. One of the best is magnesium glycinate, which is one of the most gentle forms of magnesium in the stomach. I have also used magnesium malate and that has worked well and has been fairly gentle on the digestive system as well.
If you have a magnesium deficiency, you may actually need to supplement both orally and transdermally. Just find the combination that works best for you, because every person is different, and the supplements will respond differently for each person.
By just making some simple changes in what you eat and supplementing, you can begin building up your magnesium levels so that your health will improve and your magnesium deficiency symptoms will begin to disappear!