It’s a great evening… binge-watching Netflix with the family while it pours outside. Suddenly, the right leg feels like a vice was tightened over the calf muscle. Immediately, a Charlie-horse (muscle cramp) comes to mind. And – it seems to happen all too often lately. Why does this keep happening? It could be for a lot of different reasons, but a likely culprit is a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium is the 8th most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust. Yet, it is estimated that 70% of us are deficient in this vital mineral.
WHY MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCIES RUIN LIVES
Some experts claim that magnesium deficiencies affect virtually all of us. Increasing magnesium levels may just be the simplest, most elegant solution to our most common health issues – low energy, poor focus, reduced memory comprehension, sleep problems, high blood pressure, anxiety, migraines, joint pain, muscle pain and chronic pain – including chronic neck pain.
Magnesium is responsible for almost 800 life-providing reactions in the body. These reactions involve enzymes which are catalysts that make reactions happen. One of the most important of these reactions is the production of vitamin D3. Being both a vitamin and a potent anti-inflammatory, D3 is critical to treating chronic neck pain. See our article on vitamin D3 here.
Most of us don’t exhibit magnesium deficiency symptoms until we reach our 40’s or 50’s. But what any don’t realize, is that once symptoms start, our bodies are likely in a stage-3 or stage-4 deficiency. 80% of us are. The other 20% are walking around with quiet stage-1 or stage-2 deficiencies.
WHY IS THERE A MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY EPIDEMIC?
It starts with our food and water. Years ago, magnesium was abundant in food, water and produce. Today, it’s almost completely stripped… due to things like fluoridated water that binds to magnesium, making it unavailable – to large pesticide dumps with synthetic potassium, that massively blocks and depletes magnesium in crops – to refined foods and grains, where magnesium is lost. Sugar and caffeine cause magnesium loss in the urine. And don’t forget that we all carry an incredible toxic load that leads to further magnesium loss.
“Calcification” is the real danger. Food and water are preventing us from replenishing our necessary magnesium, but they are not the largest culprits behind our deficiency as modern people. The real culprit is is the calcification which takes place in our bodies from too much calcium.
Calcium is in nearly everything. The dairy industry alone spends over $ 300 million yearly marketing calcium. And… drinking milk doesn’t matter. Calcium is fortified in synthetic form in most of our foods. It even shows up in “nut, coconut and soy” milks.
Too much calcium travels to the bones, muscles, tissues, arteries (causing atherosclerosis – clogging of the arteries) and even individual cells.
Each cell in our body has a “sodium-potassium pump.” This regulates minerals inside and outside the cell for balance. Too much consumed calcium causes too much calcium to flow inside the cell. A magnesium deficiency impairs the sodium-potassium pump from working correctly. If magnesium isn’t sufficient enough to counteract calcium, “calcification” takes place over time. This means that cellular dysfunction and cell death occurs.
SYMPTOMS OF MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY
Here are some specific consequences of magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle cramps
- Neck pain (magnesium oil works great on chronic neck pain by relieving muscle pain)
- Alzheimers, MS, Parkinson’s, ADHD – magnesium deficiencies lead to deposits of metals in our brains and attack the nervous system
- Calcification (clogging) of arteries
- Joint pain from too much calcium being trapped inside the joint.
- Potassium deficiency (from malfunction of the sodium-potassium pump)
- Numbness from poor conduction of nerve impulses
- Heart Arrhythmias – including atrial fibrillation
- Blood clotting – blood clots when too much calcium is present. This is why half of heart attack patients get magnesium chloride injections.
- Low energy – magnesium is needed to produce ATP… the energy that runs each cell.
- Poor sleep – REM sleep suffers with lack of magnesium
- Toxic overload- magnesium is essential for proper cell detoxification
- Metabolic syndrome – also known as prediabetes with excess belly fat
MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENTS FOR MUSCLE PAIN AND NECK PAIN
Foods that are abundant in magnesium include: fatty fish (wild caught salmon and sardines), dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and avocados. But, as discussed above, it is difficult to get sufficient magnesium from diet alone. Supplementation is usually needed.
Let’s look at the different forms of magnesium:
Here are the best forms of magnesium:
- Magnesium citrate – this is the most popular magnesium supplement probably because it is inexpensive and easily absorbed. Since citric acid is a mild laxative, magnesium citrate may relieve constipation. It is a great choice for individuals with rectal or colon problems but is unsuitable for those with loose bowel movements.
- Magnesium taurate – this is the best choice for people with cardiovascular issues, since it is known to prevent arrhythmias and guard the heart from damage caused by heart attacks. It is easily absorbed (magnesium and taurine stabilize cell membranes together) and does not cause diarrhea.
- Magnesium malate – is great for people suffering from fatigue since malic acid… a natural fruit acid present in most cells of the body – is a vital component of enzymes that play a key role in ATP synthesis and energy production. Magnesium malate is easily absorbed and is ONE OF THE BEST MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENTS FOR MUSCLE PAIN AND CHRONIC NECK PAIN.
- Magnesium glycinate – magnesium is bound to glycine, a non-essential amino acid. This is one of the most bioavailable and absorbable forms of magnesium. It is the least likely to cause diarrhea and the safest option for correcting a long-term deficiency.
- Magnesium chloride – although magnesium chloride only contains about 12 % elemental magnesium, it has an impressive absorption rate. This is the best supplement for detoxifying cells. It can boost kidney function since chloride (not to be confused with chlorine – a toxic gas) aids kidney function and can boost a sluggish metabolism.
- Magnesium carbonate – another popular choice and bioavailable form of magnesium that actually turns into magnesium chloride when it reacts with the hydrochloric acid in our stomachs. It is a great choice for people suffering from indigestion and acid reflux since it contains antacid properties.
And…here are the worst forms of magnesium:
- Magnesium oxide – the most common form of magnesium sold in pharmacies. It is non-chelated and possesses a poor absorption rate compared to the supplements above.
- Magnesium sulfate – also known as Epsom salt, is a fantastic constipation aid but an unsafe source of dietary magnesium, since overdosing on it is too easy. However, it is readily absorbed through the skin…so Epsom salt baths are a wonderful way to intake magnesium.
- Magnesium glutamate and aspartate – Avoid these two forms of magnesium completely. Glutamic acid and aspartic acid are components of the dangerous artificial sweetener aspartame, and both of them become neurotoxic when unbound to other amino acids.
DOSAGES AND TESTING FOR MAGNESIUM
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is 310 to 320 mg per day for women and 400 to 420 mg per day for men. This really is just the amount needed to keep someone from exhibiting magnesium deficiency, not the amount needed for general health.
Although most physicians rarely check this important mineral, the few that do usually rely on a test called Serum Magnesium. Unfortunately, this only measures approximately 1% of the magnesium in the body – a poor test at best. The “Gold Standard” and most accurate test is the RBC Minerals or more commonly called “Elemental Analysis in Packed Erythrocytes.”
This test examines the level of eight minerals and seven toxic heavy metals inside the red blood cell, including magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, selenium, vanadium and zinc.
Another test which has been proven to be extremely valuable in detecting magnesium deficiencies is called the Urine Magnesium Loading Test. In this test, the patient collects a 24-hour urine sample and the total magnesium is measured. The patient is then given a dose of 18% Magnesium Chloride and another 24-hour urine specimen is collected. The magnesium level is then measured again. If the body retains more than a certain amount of magnesium, it is then concluded that the body is magnesium deficient.
MEDICATIONS DRAIN MAGNESIUM FROM THE BODY
Some common foods and many pharmaceutical drugs cause magnesium to be lost in the urine. Here is a sample of these drugs:
- Heart drugs (Pradaxa, Eliquis, Xarelto, Warfarin)
- Cholesterol lowering drugs – Statins (Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, etc.)
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s for gastric reflux) – Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex
- Oral Contraceptives – Alesse, Ortho-Novem, Ortho Tri-Cyclen and many others
- Antibiotics (Amoxicillin, Cipro, Ceclor and lots of others)
- Sugar (YUP!!!)
- Coffee and tea (but keep drinking them for many health benefits)
- Booze – beer, wine and hard liquor
- PainKillers -OTC and Opioids (Ibuprofen, Tylenol with Codeine, Vicodin and others). They all inhibit the absorption of magnesium through the digestive tract, which mimics magnesium deficiency.
To my fellow chronic neck pain suffers: the point is this… constantly taking almost any kind of pain reliever helps short-term. Long-term, it actually exaggerates the pain response so the pain gets worse.
Why? Magnesium is an anti-inflammatory mineral. It decreases the production of free radicals and the release of cytokines. Those cytokines are proinflammatory compounds released by the immune system. Dialing down magnesium actually increases the pain level.
Switching to a Holistic Medicine protocol eliminates the drain of magnesium from the body. In the long-term, it dampens down the unending torture from chronic neck pain and may eliminate the pain entirely.
P.S. – Know of a fellow neck pain sufferer? Please do them a favor and forward this article to them. Information is power and by having all of us work together, we will beat neck pain! Also, please take a moment to like us on Facebook. Thanks :-).