Magnesium Deficiency Could Be the Cause of All Those Muscle Cramps or Heart Palpitations

Dr. Marsha Nunley’s comment on my previous blogpost (“Three Supplements That Can Help Banish Belly Fat”- see below) motivated me to write about my own experience taking magnesium. As she points out, magnesium is essential for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies. Among them muscle and nerve function and cardiovascular stability.  That explains why my taking 500 mg twice daily (one at bedtime) has reduced the frequency of irregular heart beats and muscle spasms in my feet and legs that I was experiencing at night.  I think it has also helped me sleep better too.

The current issue of the Berkeley Wellness Letter devotes an entire page to magnesium, calling it a “mighty mineral that’s involved in energy production, cell growth, blood pressure, bone health and the functioning of the heart, nerves and muscles.”  The writers suggest that most American’s don’t consume the recommended daily intake of magnesium, but  it’s hard to know if you’re truly deficient.  The answer lies in a wide range of symptoms such as muscle weakness, cramps and spasms and arrhythmias. But they question whether it’s better to get your magnesium from food or from a supplement.  The medical experts contributing to this article believe that you should only take a separate magnesium supplement if you’re at a high risk for a deficiency or you take a medication (for reflux, for example) that can impede absorption.  If you fall into one of those categories, ask your physician or a naturopathic doctor about the dosage that’s right for you.  But remember, there are plenty of magnesium-rich foods that you can choose from including green vegetables, some legumes and nuts and seeds.  Here are the top five. For a longer list, visit the website of the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.

- Halibut or mackerel  (4 oz) 120 mgChard is a magnesium rich food

- Dried Sunflower Seeds, (1 oz)  100 mg

- Cooked spinach or chard (1/2 cup) 80mg

- Almonds or cashews (1 oz) 77mg

- Flounder or sole (4 oz) 75 mg