Magnesium is an essential mineral of which most people experience deficiency. Up to 80 percent of the population is lacking, according to Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. This mineral supports healthy nerve, brain, enzyme, and immune function. It is crucial for strong bones and teeth, stabilizes mood, and helps prevent muscle cramping. When your diet is lacking in magnesium, the result can be vulnerability to conditions like ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity, anxiety, mood disruptions, depression, and learning disorders. Magnesium is a mineral not produced by the body, so it must be consumed from an external source.
Those who have sleep issues, constipation, experience hyperactivity, twitching, spasming, moodiness or irritability – are likely deficient in this mineral and could benefit from supplementation.
Studies reveal a connection between depression, nervous and behavior disorders such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and magnesium deficiency. Children with ADHD using magnesium supplements for 6 months or more have dramatically improved symptoms of hyperactivity and related disorders. The natural tranquilizing properties of magnesium and calcium combined together can help to achieve this desired effect. When children receive adequate amounts of magnesium, their behavior is quite different. Constipation and sleep issues go away, they are more peaceful and more enjoyable to be around.
From Dr. Carolyn Dean’s book The Magnesium Miracle:
“It’s not just adults who get anxious because of magnesium-deﬁcient diets. Our children are also susceptible when their favorite foods are magnesium-deﬁcient hot dogs, pizza, and soda. The stress in their lives – from peer pressure, academic and athletic performance pressures, worries about body image, the changes and hormonal ﬂuctuations of puberty, exposure to negative events and violence through the media – also contributes. Even playing in a band (because of the loud noise) can be a risk factor! ADHD, autism, juvenile delinquency, and childhood depression are associated with magnesium deﬁciency, and some say these conditions can be caused by it.”
Magnesium’s role in children’s health:
1. Regulates blood sugar levels and prevents behavior “highs” and “lows”. Children who experience low magnesium levels often show symptoms seen in those with hyperactivity, ADD and ADHD. Your child may actually have a magnesium deficiency and not really have ADHD!
2. Calming to the body and mind. Correct magnesium levels allow messages to be sent throughout the nervous system and allow children to think more clearly and be able to concentrate. Magnesium is also regulates the production of seratonin, an important neurotransmitter which allows the body to experience well-being and calm. Low levels of serotonin are associated with irritability, moodiness and depression.
3. Helps absorption of Calcium and other nutrients. Magnesium is an essential component to the absorption of Vitamin D. Without it, you can take all the Vitamin D supplements you want and eat foods rich in this nutrient, but your body won’t absorb it properly. And Vitamin D is also necessary for calcium absorption. It is also essential for absorbing Vitamins B1, B2 and B6 as it activates the enzymes that use these vitamins.
4. Allows muscle fibers to relax. The absence of magnesium causes twitches, spasms, and other muscular disruption. This plays a big role in off-setting hyperactivity in children, and ensures needed calmness.
5. Allows detoxification. Magnesium is instrumental in ridding the body of harmful substances such as heavy metals that can cause many significant health issues. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean’s web site:
“The Environmental Working Group, in partnership with Rachel’s Network, commissioned five laboratories in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to analyze umbilical cord blood collected from 10 infants born in 2007 and 2008. Collectively, the laboratories identified up to 232 different industrial compounds and pollutants in these babies, finding complex mixtures of compounds in each infant.
This research demonstrates that industrial chemicals cross the placenta in large numbers to contaminate a baby even before the moment of birth.”
For reasons of safety, efficacy, and cost effectiveness, Dr. Dean recommends detoxification and magnesium supplementation for everyone dealing with issues of toxicity.
Why can’t we get enough magnesium from the food we eat?
One of the main reasons so many are lacking magnesium in their diets is due to depletion of the mineral from our soils due to commercial farming practices.
From a record of Congressional Testimony, in 1915, concerns existed about quality of soil and nutrients it contained. Even if you have a healthy diet replete with organic foods, the likelihood of having a deficiency of this essential mineral is high. Data presented at the meeting of the 1992 Earth Summit showed that North American farmlands were 85% depleted of nutrients – and that was 19 years ago.
Packaging, processing and when we cook or prepare our foods at home also diminishes what little nutrient value is available in the foods we eat. Because of all these factors, supplementation for adults and children alike is essential to maintain good health.
Here are 4 ways to obtain more magnesium in your diet:
Use a quality magnesium supplement with co-factors to help absorb. Try Magnesium powder by Pure Encapsulations or In Gear B6 Magnesium Powder for kids by Metabolic Maintenance. Studies find that children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD have lower levels of Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and intra-erythrocyte magnesium. Both nutrients are essential in providing energy and normal muscular and nerve tissue function. InGear was formulated as a B-6 and magnesium powder specifically for children. It has a mild flavor and is easy to add to juices or smoothies. It also assists with general relaxation and mental focus. (One (1) scoop (1.2 grams, 1/4 tsp.) daily per 50 lbs. of body weight).
Use Topical Magnesium. 12foru has a quality magnesium spray that doesn’t cause itching or flaking of magnesium on the skin. Also try MagneDerm Transdermal Magnesium Gel by Designs for Health. The transdermal (placed on skin) delivery system of the gel is highly efficient, bypassing the problems inherent with oral supplementation, ultimately reducing the time needed for assimilation, making it ideal for children.
Eliminate sugar from your diet. Eating foods with sugar slows or eliminates absorption of of necessary nutrients – especially minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc, and chromium – in supplements and foods. It also places severe strain on the immune system by reducing the production of digestive enzymes which lead to digestive issues and allergies, and decreasing white cell count – important in preventing viral, bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections, and cancer.
Increase consumption of magnesium rich foods. Leafy greens, artichokes, spinach, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and ocra are all high in magnesium. Be sure to serve these vegetables lightly steamed or sauteed with a healthy fat such as butter or olive oil. Fat-soluble vitamins found in these foods help with absorption of the nutrients found in these vegetables. Fish is another good source of magnesium – halibut, pollock, tuna, and haddock are all sources. These are also excellent sources for Omega 3 essential fatty acids for brain and immune system support. Soaked and sprouted nuts are other food sources – cashews, hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts, pine nuts, and almonds, as are soaked navy, white, black, navy, and lima beans.
Magnesium is safe to take – there is no build up of it in the body. If too much is taken, a laxative effect is produced to purge it out (usually loose stools or diarrhea). In the beginning, starting at a lower dose of magnesium and working up to a higher dose is advised. Increase over a period of days to a week to avoid diarrhea. Divide the full amount into 2-4 doses daily to ensure optimal absorption. If you child experiences loose stools, reduce the dose given at each time. Be aware that noticeable changes can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and be patient.
By making these simple changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can start to experience health and well being, and assist in managing issues such as sleep and mood disorders, hyperactivity, ADD, and ADHD.
Cover image by Simon Rae on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/IGOBsR93I7Y