You have a magnesium deficiency

One nutrient that has been receiving more attention in medical journals lately is magnesium, which is a vital nutrient that is sorrily missing from our diets. Health Canada reports that 42% of Canadians are deficient in magnesium, with Newfoundlanders at 65%. Chances are that you have a deficiency.

Magnesium gets no love! 

Historically, people got their daily dose from organ meats, seafood, mineral water, or swimming in the ocean - which are all activities performed less frequently by modern populations. In addition, modern soils have mineral depletions and magnesium sometimes gets removed from our water supplyThe RDA in the US for adults is between 320 and 420 mg daily, and the average US intake is around 250mg daily.

So, now that we've established you probably have a magnesium deficiency, what does that mean?

We see commercials from dairy lobbyists on television - milk farmers, yogurt companies - demonstrating that calcium builds bones or that calcium has been demonstrated to help people lose weight. What these commercials do not indicate is that supposed super-star minerals like calcium and vitamin D rely on magnesium to be activated into the 75 trillion cells in our bodies.

If we are consuming calcium and not enough magnesium, that calcium will build up in our heart, organs and tissues. Although its widely practiced, calcium supplementation can cause a wide range of health issues due to an imbalance when there is a magnesium deficiency. Calcium and potassium work in tandem to with magnesium in the body to perform a number of functions.

Magnesium is also very important on a cellular level for cellular energy and biochemical reactions. If your magnesium is too low, you can experience muscle cramps, arrythmias, and even sudden death.

What will more magnesium mean?

The most noticeable place you will experience the effects of increased magnesium in your daily diet will probably be in:

  1. Your ability to sleep through the night without waking up, and
  2. Your body's overall management of stress

Where can I get more magnesium?

The following foods provide more than 100 mg per one cup serving. Look at the list and be honest with yourself. How many of these foods are you eating on a regular basis?

  • Almonds
  • Artichokes
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Cashews
  • Halibut
  • Navy Beans
  • Oats
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Seaweed
  • Spinach
Consult your doctor before beginning any health program or taking any new supplements, but I've had great success in consuming Natural Calm, a Canadian magnesium supplement product, before bedtime. I'm a fussy sleeper and I've noticed that I fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly through the night. They make some great cases for magnesium as an aid to insomnia on the Natural Calm website.


  1. As always...timely post here Jess as like most at the beginning of a new year I've decided to take a closer look at diet and exercise. One of the things I'm using right now is an iPad app to track intake/out-take and the app also helps you track your vitamin enhancement.

    This topic then strikes home and taking your advice here will be sharing Natural Calm as part of my annual check up with my Doctor to see if it would be beneficial. Here's hoping that my refusal to call this self-enlightment a "resolution" allows me to keep on the straight and narrow in this regard for 2012. :)

  2. hi jess, i've been a long time reader and glad to see u are back! i love using natural calm and thank you for your wonderful suggestions most especially essiac tea, i wouldn't have found it if it wasn't for here. i have given it to my grandfather and i truly believe it has helped.

  3. Andy and Olivia, thank you both for your kind responses. Andy, I hope you are able to stay on track for 2012 and I look forward to hearing about your journey as it progresses. Olivia, thank you for your warm words. I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoy natural calm and that your grandfather benefited from essiac tea. This kind of feedback really reaffirms that these experiences are worth sharing and discussing with others.

    I'll keep exploring health/diet innovations and share them with you accordingly!

  4. Hey Jess - well it's the end of two weeks and already have lost 8 lbs by simply watching what I intake vs exert. 2012 will hopefully be a very healthy year ahead. :) Cheers,


  5. I, on the other hand, have not been blogging with the frequency intended. :) Stay tuned for another post tomorrow!

  6. I read this blog post for the first time soon after it was posted. It happened to be on the same day that a friend recommended magnesium to me. I'd mentioned that I was having muscle twitches/spasms (mostly in my arms and legs, sometimes just below my rib cage), along with a bad bout of insomnia.

    Almonds, spinach, and most of the other magnesium-rich foods listed are amongst my favorurite foods, and I eat them all so frequently it would be hard to up the intake, so I tried supplements.

    After two weeks the twitches stopped. Six months in, I'm handling stress better (it's still there, but I don't have meltdowns like I used to). I've had bouts of insomnia all of my adult life, but again, they've become more "blunted" since January.

    Mostly I'm just flabbergasted that this isn't being covered in the news more, since stress management is such a perennially favourite topic.

  7. Hi Katherine,

    I'm completely with you regarding why this topic is not more widely discussed. It seems to affect such a large number of us that I would expect to see it in the news on a weekly basis. Vitamin D seemed to have its heyday where the media all picked up on this idea that people in northern climates can have an increased chance of developing cancer if they don't get enough of the vitamin.

    I suspect this magnesium story will reach the forefront of health dialogues in the next couple of years.

    - JB

  8. Aside from my mother, my friend from college counseling services advised me to eat foods rich in magnesium. Well it worked for me in fighting stress.

  9. Hi Dianne, thanks for your comment! I still cannot believe that we don't hear more about Magnesium deficiencies in the media these days.

  10. If that's true about magnesium, then it looks like my menu when eating before bed just got bigger. Being a foodie, though, I'm not really complaining.