I've heard and read a lot about the importance of minerals in our diet. And magnesium caught my eye specifically because some of our issues here seem to be directly related to the lack of enough magnesium in our diets. Now, I believe we are lacking in most minerals that our body so desperately need, so I hope over time to be able to study the various minerals to see how they function in our body, and to make sure we are getting enough of them.
The Miracle of Magnesium, by Carolyn Dean was a quick and easy read. As I suspected, Dean was very down on the traditional, high-fat diet and very into supplements for magnesium. But, otherwise, I enjoyed the read and learned a lot.
The intro had this telling 'story': 'From the 74th Congress, 2nd session, Senate Document no. 264: 'Do you know that most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until depleted soils from which our food comes are brought into proper mineral balance? The alarming fact is that foods (fruits, vegetables and grains) now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us-no matter how much of them we eat.The truth is that our foods vary enormously in value, and some of them aren't worth eating as food. Our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon the minerals we take into our systems than upon calories or vitamins or upon the precise proportions of starch, protein or carbohydrates we consume. Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs, and even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago. No man today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his stomach with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health, because his stomach isnt big enough to hold them! And we are turning into a nation of big stomachs'. Do you know when those words were spoken in testimony before the Senate? 1936! Today farmlands are even more mineral-deficient and fertilizers still don't fully replace those minerals. Magnesium is one of the most depleted minerals, yet one of the most important. We imagine that medicine has advanced to the stage of miracle cures, yet it's not technology that we're lacking but basic nutrients tha power our bodies and give us our health....'
A few more quotes from the introduction:
'Magnesium regulates more then 325 enzymes in the body, the most important of which produce, transport, store, and utilize energy.'
'More than 75 years ago, scientists declared magnesium to be an essential mineral. Each year since then, research has revealed more ways in which magnesium is indispensable to life. Yet it is continually being lost from the natural food supply. There has been a gradual decline of dietary magnesium in the US, from a high of 500 mg/day at the turn of the century to barely 175-225 mg/day today.'
'Magnesium was first discovered in huge deposits near a Greek city called Magnesia. Magnesium sulfate, known today as Epsom salts, was used in ancient times as a laxative, and still is to this day. ' Yes, yes it is, and I know that from experience. :)
So, after that introduction, one would certainly feel compelled to read about the various symptoms and benefits of taking magnesium supplements.
The book is laid out by 'disease/symptoms' basically. And she gives a lot of examples, studies and science behind why a lack of magnesium can produce each symptom.
Here is a partial list of the symptoms: anxiety, pain, migraines, strokes, head injuries, hypertension, high cholesterol, spastic heart, angina, arrhythmia, arteriosclerosis, heart attack, syndrome X, diabetes, sugar imbalance, PMS, dysmenorrhea, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, preeclampsia, cerebral palsy chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, environmental illness/allergies and asthma.
She discusses each one in depth and explains why magnesium causes the said conditions. I was esp interested in asthma, for Myia's issues.
Dean recommends taking multi-vitamins, plus magnesium and sometimes calcium supplements (the ration of magnesium to calcium is supposed to be 1:2, but with the modern diet, she says we're generally more like 1:6, so most people should take more magnesium then calcium to help with this imbalance) daily for all ages.
However, it seems to me that that would simply be adding to the toxic overload of the body, as most supplements do. So rather then approach it that way, I think it wisest to make sure you are getting solubable minerals in your diet daily.
So, to that end, I am trying to make sure we take our swedish bitters daily, and also trying to get us all to take black strap molasses daily (the kids and hubby love it, I can't stand it), continue adding lots of celtic sea salt and bone broth to our diets, and to make sure our guts are digesting foods properly so they can extract the magnesium from what we ingest.
It's fun to read about specific areas and realize that we are on the right track towards health. I used to read them and get all overwhelmed and frustrated. Phew, this is so much more fun!