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How a Magnesium Deficiency Harms You

How a Magnesium Deficiency Harms You

Did you know that you need up to 400 grams of magnesium a day if you are a man and around 300 if you are a woman? The problem is that only 5% to 25% of Americans are actually getting that amount through their diet or use of supplements. Why is this alarming?

First, because every organ and cell in our bodies needs this vital mineral. The heart, kidneys and muscles all need magnesium to function properly. It helps create energy, activates over 300 enzyme reactions and also helps us to absorb and utilize other essential minerals and nutrients.

Second, because a lack of magnesium can lead to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), depression, headaches, insomnia, moodiness, fatigue, seizures, behavioral disturbances and irritability.

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As regards depression, there is a fascinating account here where magnesium treatment was instrumental in patients recovering from depression. The authors of this paper made a plea that magnesium should be used in more clinical trials for treating this major illness and they also affirm that this magnesium deficiency may actually be causing the increase in depression.

How can you tell if you are not getting enough?

You can always have a blood test. The only problem here is that only about 1% of magnesium actually remains in the blood so these tests are not wholly reliable. But there are some telltale signs that this magnesium deficiency may be troubling you.

I used to get excruciating leg cramps at dawn and my doctor put me on a magnesium supplement. That problem soon disappeared. You may also suffer from a lack of sleep, facial tics and suffer from chronic pain.

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Lifestyle habits may be depleting your magnesium levels

Another fact that is often overlooked is that certain habits can actually lessen the amount you have. For example, eating loads of sugary snacks, drinking lots of coffee and soda and simply getting older, are all activities that can reduce your magnesium levels. Certain medications such as diuretics, antacids, antibiotics and a faulty digestion system can also play a negative role.

A stressful lifestyle may deplete magnesium levels even further. A lack of magnesium may lead to stress hormones such as catecholamines and corticosteroids getting out of control and increased stress related illnesses such as heart failure and high blood pressure.

Modern agriculture has reduced the magnesium content in food

Pesticides and all the other trappings of modern food production have depleted our natural supply of magnesium via the food chain. Our ancestors had no problem because their meat, water and seafood had plenty of magnesium.

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Nowadays, purification treatment removes it from our drinking water. Herbicides do not help either. It is alarming to read that the amount of magnesium in whole wheat flour is reduced to about 16% of its normal content through modern refining methods.

“Magnesium is farmed out of the soil much more than calcium… A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 milligrams of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we’re lucky to get 200 milligrams.” – Dr. Carolyn Dean, naturopathic doctor

Natural sources of magnesium

What should you eat and drink to keep to make sure that you are not deficient in magnesium?

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When you go shopping, stock up on bananas, nuts and seeds, and leafy greens such as spinach. These greens have lots of calcium, help relieve joint pain and can aid your digestion too.

Go for fish, soybeans and avocado when you can find them. Look at this site where you can get a better idea of the actual quantities and magnesium content of these great foods. You can also indulge in dark chocolate (lots of Vitamin B and iron) and a limited intake of coffee.

If you are stuck for recipe ideas, you can get some great ones here.

Finally, did you know that you can absorb some vital magnesium by swimming in the ocean? If you live near a beach and the weather is great, you know what you have do, don’t you?

Featured photo credit: Seattle Farmers Market/Rob Bertholf via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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