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Why you are almost certain to be magnesium-deficient

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Magnesium is required by all the body’s major organs in order for them to function properly.

Low magnesium levels contribute to heart disease and cardiac arrest, depression, kidneys stones, muscle cramps and twitching, nervous system problems, low kidney function, and a host of other problems. In all likelihood, your magnesium levels are dangerously low.

There was time when most of the magnesium the body needed was found in the foods we ate. But the nutrition provided by the crops we consume has declined significantly since then. According to a study published in 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the nutrient content of crops had declined by as much as 40 percent between 1950 and 2004 when the study was conducted. The declines were related to efforts to create crops that grew faster, yielded more and resisted pests.

“Emerging evidence suggests that when you select for yield, crops grow bigger and faster, but they don’t necessarily have the ability to make or uptake nutrients at the same, faster rate,” said lead researcher Dr. Donald Davis.

Another study published in “Nutrition and Health” found that magnesium levels declined by 24 percent in vegetables, by 17 percent in fruit, by 15 percent in meat and by 26 percent in cheeses over the period from 1940 to 1991.

What causes magnesium deficiency?

Not only do most of the foods we consume today offer zero magnesium, some even contribute to leaching magnesium from the body.

Carbonated beverages contain phosphates that actually bind with magnesium in the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable to the body. Foods processed using refined sugars are “anti-nutrients” that actually consume nutrients during digestion, resulting in a net loss of nutrients. Caffeinated beverages cause the kidneys, which filter and excrete minerals, to release extra magnesium. Alcoholic beverages also cause the kidneys to excrete extra magnesium. And many prescription medications — particularly heart and asthma medications, birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapies and diuretics — cause the kidneys to excrete magnesium.

Poor natural foods, processed foods, medications, aging, stress and disease are all combining to cause us to be magnesium-deficient.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include anxiety, hyperactivity, difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, painful muscle spasm, muscle cramping, fibromyalgia, ringing in the ears, abnormal heart contractions, kidney stones, facial tics, eye twitches and involuntary eye movements.

How to boost your magnesium levels

The best way to augment your magnesium intake is to add some foods to your diet that will naturally boost your magnesium levels. They are:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Black beans
  • Cashews
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sesame seeds
  • Almonds
  • Okra

Additional magnesium can be obtained through a supplement or in the form of a topical salve. Magnesium liquids rubbed on penetrate the skin, making it possible to get much more magnesium into the body.

Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., author of the book “The Magnesium Miracle,” recommends taking 600 milligrams daily of elemental magnesium and eating leafy greens, nuts, seeds and bananas.

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