Deficient in magnesium? - A recent survey of Canadians revealed there may be more of a substantial gap between how we hope we eat and reality.

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Deficient in magnesium? - A recent survey of Canadians revealed there may be more of a substantial gap between how we hope we eat and reality.

Post by Tee on Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:57 am

Published Friday August 5th, 2011

Busy schedules combined with convenient packaged foods sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, and these gaps may be catching up with us.

Magnesium is a mineral that hasn't garnered many headlines, but it plays a crucial role in over 300 reactions in our body. A compromised intake of magnesium may increase our risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, osteoporosis and even migraines.

According to several provincial surveys, Canadians are falling significantly short. Our magnesium requirement is between 320-420 mg per day, while provincial surveys indicated over 40 per cent of the participants had a deficient intake.

This becomes a real concern as we age, since our body cannot absorb this mineral as efficiently as we get older, and our kidneys excrete more. Sadly, this is happening at a time in our life when our body is challenged with the threat of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

It would be great if we could just ask our physician to check our levels, but it isn't that straightforward. A blood test will only measure the amount of magnesium currently in your bloodstream. It cannot detect a deficiency in the cells, where it actually counts. Dietitians must rely on food diaries and do nutrient analysis in order to estimate nutrient intake.

Researchers have known that individuals with diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis tend to have low blood magnesium levels. But the question is whether the low magnesium intake is a contributing factor in triggering the disease, or is it the result of the disease.

Magnesium and insulin act as partners. This mineral enables our pancreas to secrete enough insulin, while insulin enables magnesium to get from your blood stream into our cells. Two significant population studies revealed that individuals who consumed low intakes of magnesium were higher at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Magnesium can also affect PMS symptoms such as depression, anxiety, fluid retention and breast tenderness. But you don't want to just grab a supplement off the shelf, since too much of this mineral may trigger diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea. Not the best trade off.

Ideally we should have a one to two ratio of calcium to magnesium, so if you are taking a calcium pill it is wise to select one which also offers magnesium, especially if there is any tendency towards constipation.

I love you “Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha[/color][/i]

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