Naturopathic Medical Clinic
You are deep in peaceful sleep and wake to AAAGGGH agonizing pain! Your muscles in your calf are all contracting feeling like they are ripping the muscle from the bone. You can’t move, yet you can’t stay still. MISERY!!! If this has happened to you, it is time to take control. Charley Horses or muscle cramps are just one sign of Magnesium deficiency. Other such symptoms are muscle twitches, fear of crowds, anxiety, insomnia, and startling easily with loud noises. It also can lead to chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis. Magnesium deficiency is also linked to tension headaches, migraines, and fibromyalgia symptoms.
Many things can make you deficient in Magnesium such as medications including diuretics like Hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) used to treat high blood pressure. Acid blocking medications such as Omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole and many others, also decreases your ability to breakdown your foods, decreasing the amount of minerals you can absorb from your food. Alcoholism decreases magnesium in the body. Digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome may also decrease your magnesium absorption.
How can you know if you are magnesium deficient? Testing for magnesium deficiency in the serum (blood) is not an accurate measure. You can test red blood cell intracellular levels of magnesium or white blood cell magnesium levels with a test from Spectracell lab called the Micronutrient Panel.
Magnesium is available in trace amounts in foods such as leafy greens, veggies, avocado, beans, nuts and seeds, oat bran, yogurt and kefir. If you are going to supplement magnesium, avoid the oxide form (X in the name means NO). This is the least absorbable form of magnesium and is only good for constipation since it is an osmotic laxative. The other forms of magnesium, such as glycinate, citrate, threonate, chloride and gluconate are absorbed much easier and are much more tolerated.
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Muscle Cramps keeping you up at night? Magnesium may be the key.
Article by Kristen Plunkett, ND November 2018