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Dumb As A Mineral? by Alicia

”Minerals aren’t sexy”.

They’re rocks. Rocks are boring. We even have a saying: “Dumb as a rock.” This tells you that rocks are stupid too. I used to collect rocks when I was younger. I thought they were fossils, so I kept them under the front porch steps. I was an uninteresting and lonely child. I don’t want to offend any geologists out there… But, rocks are even less fascinating than what my husband is saying to me right now that I’m pretending to pay attention to. It’s about interest rates. Send help if you’re reading this. Bottom Line: Rocks make me sad.

However, our bodies need rocks. Your body needs minerals to function and minerals are rocks. Well, granted when they’re in your body they aren’t rocks. They’re chemicals. Nutritionists and the medical community refer to them now as “dietary elements.” Somehow, science managed to make something sound even more boring than rocks. But, they’re actually not boring. They’re essential for life. As a person with Celiac disease, I know that I’m more likely to be deficient in certain nutrients, including these chemical, element, rock things. Our food isn’t fortified with vitamins and minerals like “regular” food is. Our intestines are damaged from a history of eating gluten, so we have trouble absorbing things. And, we have more limited food selections than the general population. We need to be proactive about making sure that our nutrition is complete. One mineral that is very important and that may be lacking for those with celiac disease is magnesium.

All About Magnesium

It doesn’t sound sexy either, but it’s actually a very, very sexy mineral. Sorry science, I went to school in the 80’s and they were called minerals then. Just like you can’t take Pluto from me, you aren’t taking dietary minerals from me either! So there. Anyway, mighty magnesium does many different things in the body. It is a cofactor in 300 enzyme systems according to the National Institutes of Health. This means it’s involved in multiple chemical reactions in the body including protein synthesis, glucose control, and regulating blood pressure. You need it to build healthy bones in addition to calcium. And, by transporting calcium and potassium across cell walls it helps regulate heart rate, muscle contractions, and nerve impulses. It also helps you sleep and stay relaxed. Magnesium is obviously very important.

Are you likely to be deficient? Probably. A lot of people are. Why? Well, first of all stress and magnesium deficiencies tend to go hand in hand and work in a loop. Stress can be both a cause and a result of magnesium deficiency. Are there any people that aren’t stressed right now? My one year old son recently decided that the garbage can is his new favorite toy. I’ve had to create a military grade barrier to keep the tiny terror out of it and he still insists on risking life and limb to try and get to it. That stresses me out. I’m sure you have much more difficult situations in your life that cause stress. Caffeine can cause the body to release large amounts of magnesium. So, if you’re always at Starbucks and next in line for their pumpkin spice latte you may have a magnesium problem. Drink a lot of dark colored soda? Well, the phosphates in the soda bind to magnesium and can make it difficult for the body to absorb. Love refined sugar? You guessed it! The more sugar you eat, the more magnesium is secreted by your kidneys and the more likely you are to be deficient. And, you may just not be eating enough foods high in magnesium. So, chances are if you’re living a modern lifestyle you may need some magnesium. Who doesn’t want to sleep better, be more relaxed, and have good blood pressure?

How Can You Get More Magnesium?

There are a lot of gluten free dietary sources. Almonds, spinach, cashews, and avocado are all excellent dietary sources of magnesium. Baked potatoes with the skin on, one of my favorite foods, is also high in magnesium. Perhaps you’re allergic to nuts or food lazy. I often find that I’m food lazy. The idea of choking down boiled spinach or avocados to get more magnesium isn’t that appealing to me considering I’d rather eat just about anything other than an avocado. I supplement. I take a product called Natural Calm that includes ionic magnesium citrate. There are other supplements out there as well. As always, make sure to consult your doctor before starting a supplement and make sure that it won’t conflict with your current medication or condition. For instance, certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications, water pills, and muscle relaxants can interact with magnesium. Be mindful and as always be smart about adding things to your diet. I’m trying to help you not kill you. Consulting a professional is often a good idea.

Personally, taking magnesium has helped me recover faster from my heavy running and weight lifting schedule and sleep better. I don’t want up nearly as much as I did before taking it. I’m less restless and when I do wake up I can get back to sleep more easily. I also find that I’m calmer and less anxious. Mighty magnesium has changed my life and if you’re deficient taking it might change yours.

Keep your eye out for more of these nutrition pieces. Many of our problems including issues with weight, energy levels, sleep, chance of developing certain conditions or diseases, and many other things are caused by nutritional deficiencies. I want to make sure you’re outfitted with the information necessary to make sure you’re living your best life possible.

Why are you still sitting there? Go down a baked potato. It’s good for you. Science says so.

Alicia is a super mom, wife, competitive athlete, and freelance writer. Find out more about her everyday adventures by liking her on Facebook.

Photo credit: Yes30 (cover)

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