According to clinical nutritionists if you can’t sleep at night, have restless leg syndrome (RLS) or experiencing night terrors it might be due to a magnesium deficiency. A magnesium sleep deficiency causes people to wake up frequently during the night. Other health concerns due to a magnesium deficiency are; constipation, anxiety, irritability, pain, etc (see list below).
Researchers have found that magnesium takes part in the transmission of hormones (such as insulin, thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, DHEA, etc.), neurotransmitters (such as dopamine, catecholamines, serotonin, GABA, etc.), and minerals and mineral electrolytes.
This research concludes that magnesium controls cell membrane thus controlling the release of many hormones, nutrients and neurotransmitters. It is magnesium that manages the outcome of potassium and calcium in the body. A deficiency will only lead to calcium being deposited in soft tissues such as kidneys, arteries, joints, brain etc. and both potassium and calcium lost in urine.
Magnesium protects our cells from aluminum, mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium and nickel. Low levels of magnesium can contribute to a heavy metal deposition in the brain that may be responsible for Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. This heavy metal toxicity may bring about learning disorders in children.
What causes a magnesium deficiency?
Due to many years of replanting on farm lands, magnesium is constantly depleted in our soil. Fertilizers also contribute to this depletion by altering the way plants can absorb magnesium. We are drinking less tap water which is a common magnesium source, but even this natural water source has low supplies. When we boil, steam or broil food it removes the magnesium. High carb and fat foods increase our need for more magnesium as well as physical and emotional stress. Certain medications, aging and dieting also reduces our magnesium.
A magnesium deficiency may be severe enough to be diagnosed by a blood test, but many researchers feel that a testing the bones and intracellular levels tell the true results. A high magnesium, low aluminum diet has shown to help with sleep, fewer awakenings or uninterrupted sleep. Foods rich in magnesium are kelp, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses and brewer’s yeast. Magnesium supplements have also helped those with sleep problems.
If you decide to take a magnesium supplement make sure it is combined with calcium as they act together as a sedative. The ratio should be 2:1 meaning at least 600 mg of calcium and 250-300 mg of magnesium. This combination will aid muscle contractions, RLS and is effective for all-round relaxation.
If you have any other health problems, it is advisable to consult with your physician before considering a magnesium-calcium supplement, especially if you are experiencing any type of kidney condition as this could be harmful or even life threatening.
The following are additional health problems associated with a low deficiency of magnesium for sleep:
• Anxiety disorders
• Arthritis- Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis
• Auto immune disorders- all types
• Cerebral Palsy- in children from magnesium deficient mothers
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Congestive Heart Disease
• Crooked teeth- narrow jaw- in children from magnesium deficient mothers
• Diabetes- Type I and II
• Eating disorders- Bulimia, Anorexia
• Gut disorders- including peptic ulcer, Crohn’s disease, colitis, food allergy
• Heart Disease- Arteriosclerosis, high cholesterol, high triglycerides
• Heart Disease- in infants born to magnesium deficient mothers
• High Blood Pressure
• Impaired athletic performance
• Infantile Seizure- in children from magnesium deficient mothers
• Kidney Stones
• Lou Gehrig’s Disease
• Migraines- including cluster type
• Mitral Valve Prolapse
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Muscle cramps
• Muscle weakness, fatigue
• Myopia- in children from magnesium deficient mothers
• Obesity- especially obesity associated with high carbohydrate diets
• Osteoporosis- just adding magnesium reversed bone loss
• Parkinson’s Disease
• PMS- including menstrual pain and irregularities
• PPH- Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
• SIDS- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
• Syndrome X- insulin resistance
• Thyroid disorders- low, high and auto-immune; low magnesium reduces T4
As you can see magnesium sleep problems are just one of many health concerns with a deficiency of magnesium. Other conditions are also associated with magnesium deficiencies and further research is being conducted to confirm its relationship.