Dr. Kellie Hoover recently posted a video about the importance of vitamin D, which most Americans are lacking because they are indoors behind a computer all day. Vitamin D is a hormone that is made when sunlight reacts with the fat in your skin cells. As Dr. Kellie mentioned, it plays a major role in immune system response, regulation and tolerance. In other words, it keeps up healthy. Vitamin D plays a major role in calcium absorption, which allows for strong bones. It makes sense then that calcium absorption is important when we talk about the strength and stability of the bones in your spine, right? When calcium is not absorbed properly, it lingers in the bloodstream and is then deposited in the kidneys, arteries and cartilage. This creates an inflammatory cascade leading to arterial calcification, hardening of soft cartilage, and kidney dysfunction.
That said, the ability to absorb calcium is important, but what does any of this have to do with magnesium? Great question! Without magnesium, vitamin D would not be able to be converted into the active hormone that is used in processes like immunity and calcium absorption. In fact, as Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, points out that magnesium stimulates over 700 chemical reactions in the body (Dean 2014). Without proper magnesium exchange, your cells, tissues, organs, and systems cannot function properly. The majority of people in the United States are not getting enough magnesium from diet or their bodies do not have enough in circulation, but why is that? Dean writes that only a decade ago, we were consuming about 500 mg of magnesium from farmed-foods; however, today we are only getting about 200 mg. This is due to “nutritional inflation”, meaning the foods we eat do not contain the same nutrients that they did a decade ago. Much of this is because pesticides, herbicides, acid rain, overworked soil, and the lack of natural fertilizers cause the soil to become nutritionally dead or “lifeless” (Dean 2014). Even when healthy organic food is produced, it is still farmed in a nutrient-poor environment, which only allows you to obtain about one third of the nutrients needed (including magnesium). Listed below are other common reasons why Americans, in general, are deficient in magnesium: processed simple sugar consumption (breads, pastas, beer, etc.), statin drugs and many other prescriptions, boxed/canned foods made of chemicals, fluoride found in tap water (binds with Mg and it cannot be absorbed in the body), herbicides/pesticides,, alcohol, smoking, aging and phosphorus in soda pop (Dean 2014). Chronic emotional stress causes you to excrete magnesium in your urine at a high rate, causing depletion. This factor is important because the chiropractic adjustment neutralizes stress by balancing your brain and nervous system, which will increase magnesium retention in your body.
As stated previously, magnesium is involved in hundreds of reactions throughout the body. Anytime the body’s system undergoes a reaction that requires energy (pretty much anything in the body that contributes to metabolism, life, expression, and function), it utilizes magnesium to initiate the process. Furthermore, magnesium it used to activate the enzyme that converts bad cholesterol (LDL) into good cholesterol (HDL). A noteworthy contribution by Dr. Dean states, “The most common causes of high blood pressure are magnesium deficiency and calcium excess [the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the body should be 1:1, yet the American average is 10:1]…Calcium overload is one of the main causes of inflammation. Magnesium is a key anti-inflammatory because you can neutralize calcium with magnesium, dramatically reducing your levels of inflammation” (Dean 2014). Adding to that, magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker, which if in appropriate ratios in the body, it will lower blood pressure without harmful side effects of medications. The problem is not a calcium deficiency, as the levels of calcium are already too high in the blood. It is actually that calcium is not able to be absorbed (activation of the active form of vitamin D with magnesium) and/or neutralized. It is apparent that most Americans are deficient in magnesium for the aforementioned reasons, yet it vital for your body to have adequate supply. Speak with your Iowa Family Chiropractic team to find out if supplementing magnesium will improve your quality of life and function. Chiropractic care also improves your quality of life and function by balancing your nervous system, which controls every action, function and reaction in your body. So, get your spine checked regularly as well!
Carolyn Dean, M.D. (2014). The Magnesium Miracle. United States of America: Ballantine.