Madrona Nutrition and Fitness: Recipe and Nutrition Guide

Madrona Nutrition and Fitness:
Guide to Wellness through Holistic Diet
and Lifestyle

Rachel Fiske
Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant,
Certified Personal Trainer

Monday, January 13, 2014

Could I Be Magnesium Deficient?

Now that we are well into January of 2014, the holiday craziness is beginning to feel like a distant memory and we are readjusting to normal life. In my last article, we talked again about how stress impacts our adrenal glands, potentially leading to adrenal fatigue. Now, lets take a look at a key nutrient that supports the body in times of stress, and where to get it. That key nutrient is (drum roll please)....MAGNESIUM!!

According to Dr. Normal Shealy, "Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency" and that, "magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient" ( 

Magnesium is a crucial mineral in the human body, carrying out over 300 different chemical reactions ( Over half of our magnesium is stored in the bone, making it very important for bone health and maintenance. Additionally, magnesium is interesting in that it both plays a vital part in the chemical reaction that gives us energy, while also supporting our nervous system and allowing us to relax. Magnesium is a cofactor to the enzymes needed to produce energy, and studies have pointed to low magnesium levels contributing to fatigue.

How Does Magnesium Relate to Managing Stress?

As mentioned above, magnesium places an important role in balancing the nervous system. All of our cells hold receptors which allow chemical messengers to enter and exit. One such brain cell receptor is called NMDA, and magnesium is a mineral that largely contributes to their function. With low magnesium levels, we can find ourselves depressed and anxious.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Irritability and insomnia
  • Muscle spasms, particularly in the legs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle pain, tension and soreness
  • Chest tightness
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

Of course, if you are experiencing any sort of chest discomfort, pain, or abnormal heart rhythms you should see your doctor, but if all checks out, magnesium deficiency should be considered as a contributing factor.

Foods Highest in Magnesium (in order):

  • Dark leafy greens! Especially spinach, swiss chard and beet greens.
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Summer squash
  • Black and navy beans
  • Cashews
  • Quinoa
  • Spelt
  • Tempeh
  • Brown rice
Magnesium Supplementation

While we always need to start with a base of healthy foods, magnesium is one nutrient most of us could benefit from supplementing with. In times of stress, we go through out magnesium stores more quickly, and given that our modern world is unnaturally stressful, most of us are likely deficient to some extent. I really like the product from Pure Encapsulations, as its gentler on the system and is less likely to cause loose stools or diarrhea. Whenever supplementing with magnesium, if this happens simply back off the dosage.

Hopefully this information about magnesium has been helpful, and as always contact me with further questions! Magnesium-rich foods and supplementation can be a great booster to any adrenal or stress protocol. 

Happy New Year!