1. Eating a “standard” American diet.
Wellnessfx.com has a list of the most magnesium-rich foods you can eat. It includes oat bran, spinach, swiss chard, brown rice, almonds and lima beans… not exactly the typical American fare, which consists largely of meat, refined grains, processed foods and dairy products, none of which contain much, if any, magnesium.
Even if you do eat a lot of foods on the ‘magnesium-rich’ list, you might still be magnesium deficient since our industrial agriculture system has led to mineral shortages in many of our crops as well.
Paul Fassa at Natural Society observes that: “Thanks to modern monoculture farming methods that rely heavily on using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides that are absorbed into the soil, our topsoil has been heavily depleted of its mineral content. The master mineral, magnesium is missing from most of our topsoil, leaving the vast majority, perhaps 80%, with a failure to meet even the USDA’s recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 240 to 420 milligrams (based on age). It’s important to note that government RDAs are known to be well below optimum levels. Many experts think our magnesium levels should be twice the amount.”
2. Regularly drinking caffeinated beverages, soda or alcohol.
Sodas contain phosphates that attach themselves to the magnesium inside your body, making it unavailable for absorption. Plus, your kidneys filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals as part of their normal function.
Jillian Michaels explains “The diuretic and mild laxative effects of caffeine in coffee result in the loss of minerals, including magnesium, via the urine and feces. Additionally, the acid present in coffee wears away at the villi of the small intestine, reducing its ability to absorb nutrients, which is why most heavy coffee drinkers have mineral deficiencies, according to Paul Pitchford.”
If you frequently drink caffeinated beverages or alcohol, it can cause your kidneys to excrete magnesium even before you’ve had a chance to absorb it. That’s why alcoholism is a common cause of hypomagnesia.
3. Drinking soft water.
If the city you live in has soft water or if you have a water softener in your home, your drinking water likely contains much less magnesium than it should.
In some parts of the world, magnesium in drinking water can account for 50% of the recommended dietary intake. Some cities may replenish the water supply with magnesium after softening it, but you’d need to contact the city to know for sure.
Some brands of mineral water contain significant quantities of magnesium, depending on where the water is sourced from. Check the label to see if your favorite brand is magnesium-rich.
4. Taking calcium supplements.
Women should be especially wary of the effects of certain supplements on magnesium absorption. If you have been instructed to take a calcium supplement to prevent bone loss or to treat osteoporosis, this could be the reason for low magnesium levels.
MD, Catherine Northup writes:
“For the majority of human history, the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet was 1:1, a ratio that’s considered optimal. A ratio that’s between 1:1 and 2:1 is adequate (for example, 800 mg of calcium to 400 mg of magnesium). Unfortunately, today’s diets contain an average of ten times more calcium than magnesium.”
If you’re taking a calcium supplement or eating foods fortified with calcium, magnesium supplementation can help to restore a proper ratio and ensure that the calcium you’re taking is being properly absorbed.
You should not stop taking your calcium supplements, especially if you have been advised by a doctor to take them. It’s important to talk to your healthcare team about diet and supplementation, including combinations and dosages, before making any changes.
5. Experiencing constant or chronic stress.
The Nutritional Magnesium Association website cites a study that investigated chronic stress and magnesium levels. It was found that chronically stressed individuals had lower magnesium stores when compared with control groups.
On the flip side, those who had sufficient magnesium in their systems exhibited fewer signs of stress. In other words, stress causes magnesium loss while, at the same time, getting adequate magnesium protects against stress.
Source: Activation Products