Many of us, especially women, are deficient in calcium and magnesium. In fact, having a magnesium deficiency actually decreases the amount of calcium in your body! Thatís because magnesium is necessary for calcium absorption. Supplementing with calcium wonít drastically improve your calcium levels if you donít have adequate magnesium levels. So what is magnesium, and why is it so important?
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions. The suggested RDA is 300-400 mg for healthy adults, but many of us get less than 150 mg a day. Low levels of magnesium can cause irritability, headaches, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, muscle spams or twitches, constipation, and insomnia. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and promotes strong bones. Magnesium is involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. The metabolism of carbohydrates and fats depends on magnesium as the body requires it for completing certain chemical reactions. Itís also important to note that the antioxidant glutathione requires magnesium for its synthesis. Glutathione is crucial for detoxification activities within the body and for the immune system.
One of the key benefits magnesium provides is relaxation. It relaxes the muscles and helps calm the nervous system. For women suffering from headaches, nervousness, or tension, magnesium supplements can help to ameliorate these conditions. An increase in magnesium will also promote strong bones by improving calcium absorption. Certain forms of magnesium are more available to the body, such as magnesium glycinate or citrate. Avoid magnesium oxide, which is a cheap version not used well by the body.
Natural, dietary sources include: green leafy vegetables, seaweed or green algae, avocados, nuts, beans, and grains such as brown rice and millet. Caffeine depletes the bodyís stores of magnesium. Itís easy to see why the majority of the American population is deficient, given our lack of vegetable consumption and high intake of coffee and soda. Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is a relaxing way to absorb this important mineral.
While calcium and magnesium are important minerals for bone strength and overall health, many women are unaware of certain valuable nutrients available for breast health. Just as women care for their bones, there are also natural ways to care for the health of their breasts. Compounds such as DIM (diinodolymethane, found in cruciferous vegetables), quercetin, and turmeric extract continue to demonstrate health benefits for women. DIM, an ingredient found in broccoli, has been well-researched for its ability to support healthy estrogen metabolism.