Magnesium is “The Most Important Mineral in the Body”. So Why aren’t We Getting Enough of It?

Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CN, boldly believes that magnesium is “arguably the most important mineral in the body”– he’s onto something. 

Magnesium is a jack of all trades; it performs more than 300 critical functions in the human body, from producing “master antioxidants” like glutathione, to building the rigid walls that protect cells, to regulating other important minerals like calcium, sodium and potassium. Magnesium plays important roles in sleep hygiene, muscular and cardiovascular health, emotional wellbeing and hormone function. 

According to the National Institute of Health, the average adult body contains 25g of magnesium– half of which is in our bones. It’s also a critical component of DNA, RNA and blood serum. 

Case in point: Magnesium is pretty essential. 

And yet, 75% of Americans– roughly 250 million people– are deficient in this nutrient. Why is this happening, and what are some of the consequences? 

The answer lies mostly in diet, where our magnesium comes from. The standard American diet, heavy in refined carbohydrates, processed meats, simple sugars and hydrogenated oils, lacks many of the key foods that contain high levels of magnesium. These include dark, leafy greens (think kale and spinach), beans, bananas, avocados, fish, and nuts. 

However, chronic stress and emotional distress diminish the effectiveness of mineral absorption and are often responsible for lower levels of magnesium. Importantly, people with digestive issues like Crohn's, leaky gut and celiac suffer from malabsorption and are at heightened risk for deficiency. 

Over time, getting insufficient magnesium leads to a slew of negative effects. 

Some common signs of a deficiency include muscle cramps, pains and fibromyalgia (due to mineral imbalances), insomnia (due to diminished GABA function), anxiety and high blood pressure. 

A lack of magnesium has also been shown to increase the risk of– and even cause– Type II Diabetes, migraines, osteoporosis (due to low Vitamin D and calcium absorption), and kidney and liver damage. Even patients with Alzheimer’s often had chronically low levels of magnesium. 

So, what steps can you take to magnify your magnesium levels? 

While magnesium supplements are available, your body works best with natural sources from your diet. For starters, incorporate magnesium-rich foods like those mentioned above into your meals and snacks. Sprinkle in some nuts with your breakfast, or slice up an avocado for a midday sandwich. A hearty one-pot meal of beans and greens makes for a super-rich plate of magnesium! 

Check in with yourself on how you’re feeling emotionally. Are you chronically stressed, anxious, or moody? Take a few seconds every few hours to close your eyes and slow your breathing. Try including a short walk in a park or through your neighborhood to calm your brain and brighten your mood. 

For more information on magnesium, its role in the body and deficiencies, explore the following resources: 

NIH Magnesium Fact Sheet 

Benefits of Magnesium 

Dr. Axe on Magnesium Deficiency 

Magnesium and Cardiovascular Health

About the author, Liat Chiprut

Liat Chiprut is a Functional Medicine Practitioner and licensed pharmacist. As an essential oil expert, Liat spent years researching and training on the root cause of disease and how to prevent illness and heal the body naturally. Her mission is creating new blends and helping all those that want to heal naturally have the information and products to do so.