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Magnesium the Magnificent

Magnesium is used by 300 of your regulatory enzymes that control muscle, nerve, protein, bone, glucose and energy metabolism. However, eating processed foods and drinking softened water robs many of you of your daily supply of magnesium. Plus, drinking alcohol can quadruple your excretion of magnesium and medications such as stomach-acid-squelching PPIs (proton-pump inhibitors) may lower your body’s magnesium level. For some folks there may also be a genetic cause of magnesium deficiency. Whatever the reason, lack of magnesium can contribute to fatigue, muscle weakness or cramps, weakened bones, heart rhythm disturbances, even seizures, and be associated with diabetes and high blood pressure. 

Making sure you get enough every day offers slight protection against high blood pressure and may boost brainpower (it does in lab rats and mice). And now a new study has found that every 100-milligrams-per-day decrease in a person’s magnesium intake is associated with a 24 percent increase in the occurrence of pancreatic cancer. (The average daily intake of US adults leaves them about 100-125mg short.)   

So make sure you regularly eat a variety of beans; buckwheat, quinoa and brown rice; pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds; kale, collards, spinach; nuts (especially almonds and cashews); and wild salmon. Gals, aim for 310-360mg of magnesium daily from food and supplements; guys, 400-420mg.