Previous studies have suggested that magnesium is inversely related to hypertension, which is a risk factor for stroke. A recent metanalysis of 241, 378 subjects (which is a lot) found that for every increase in magnesium intake of 100 mg per day total stroke risk was reduced by 8 percent. In addition American’s with levels below the RDA are more likely to have an elevated C Reactive Protein, which also contributes to cardiovascular risk (3). And community studies have shown a clear correlation between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety (2)
However up to 80 percent of Americans are woefully deficient in magnesium. The RDA of magnesium is 320 mg per day for women and 420 mg per day for men. Dietary sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, meats, grains, nuts and seeds. Vegetables, nuts and seeds grown organically in enriched soil have about twice the level of magnesium that inorganically grown produce does (4).
Stomach “acid blockers” block absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and have been shown to increase the risk of osteoporosis. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency are anxiety, depression, constipation, twitches, headaches and migraines, high blood pressure and restless legs. Heavy stress depletes magnesium levels, as do the following drugs – steroids, BCP’s, Insulin, Digitalis, antibiotics and diuretics. Magnesium deficiency can be measured through laboratory testing of the level of magnesium in the RBC. Just testing magnesium levels in the serum is not adequate and gives a false assurance of safety.
In short, eating processed and non organic foods that are heavy on sugar, processed grains and fat, and then having to use stomach acid blockers for “acid reflux”, which is really often just a symptom of indigested food, is a set up for low magnesium levels. A healthy plant based organic diet typically supplies about 150 mg magnesium, while the standard American diet , also known as SAD, provides about 75 mg. The best solution is to learn to like leafy green vegetables and nutsJ, add a digestive aid such as betaine HCL and to supplement with 150 mg to 300mg magnesium citrate or glyccinate until RBC magnesium levels return to health. In my experience there is no supplement that makes people “happier” or feel better that a properly adjusted magnesium level.
1. Susanna C Larsson, Nicola Orsini, Alicja Wolk. “Dietary magnesium intake and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis of prospective studies.” Am J Clin Nutr., 95: 362-366; February 2012.
3. “Dietary Magnesium and C-reactive Protein Levels,” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 24, No. 3, 166-171 (2005).