Magnesium RDA for Health and Aging
Introduction to Magnesium RDA and Aging
Magnesium (Mg) is a ubiquitous element in nature. Both plants and animals have an absolute requirement for magnesium, a mineral that plays a central role in photosynthesis in plants, and many of the metabolic reactions in animals. Magnesium RDA is a cofactor in over 300 enzymatic reactions in human beings. It is required for sodium, potassium, and calcium homeostasis, as well as for the formation, transfer, storage, and utilization of ATP (the energy currency in our body) at the cellular level. You cannot live without magnesium. The lower the cellular level of magnesium, the faster disease states develop and the faster aging progresses. It’s that simple.
ATP is essential for all cellular functions in the body, from detoxification, to muscle contraction, to digestion. Without magnesium, these processes do not function, which then affects the function of our whole body. The driving force behind detoxification and energy management is the Neuroendocrine Metabolic (NEM) Stress Response in the body. Maintaining Magnesium RDA helps these processes function. When in balance, the NEM Response allows for proper hormone production, digestion, and cleansing of the body, similar to all of what magnesium affects. When magnesium is deficient, the NEM Response is deficient, which causes issues throughout the body. Yet, when in balance, the NEM Response allows our body to respond effectively to strain and stress.
Is There A Magnesium Deficiency Problem?
The fact is that only about 25% of Americans meet the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 300 – 400 mg per day for magnesium. Most American women get only 175 – 225 mg per day, and men 220 – 260 mg. To get the daily Magnesium RDA from the diet, one needs to consume about 2000 calories a day. Nuts, whole grains and legumes are high in magnesium.
3 Causes for Widespread Magnesium Deficiency
A. Low Dietary Magnesium Levels from the North American Diet: In countries where a refined diet is the norm, such as North America, there is a universal deficiency in magnesium intake from the diet. 99% of the magnesium in sugar cane is lost when it is refined to white sugar. 80 – 96% of magnesium content in wheat is removed when refined to white flour. Magnesium is not added back to the soil, nor to “enriched flour” after the germ and bran layer have been removed. 50% of the magnesium may be lost during the cooking process into cooking water. The Asian diet, which is whole-food based, typically provides 500 – 700 mg of magnesium per day, while the Western diet provides one-third that amount.
B. Intestinal Absorption: Consumption of soft drinks (pop or soda) decreases the body’s absorption of magnesium, which results in a decreased daily magnesium RDA. In the intestines, the phosphoric acid in soft drinks and the phosphates in baking powers combine with the magnesium to form magnesium phosphate, an insoluble precipitate that is excreted through the feces.
The typical high-dairy, high fat North American diet contains almost four times as much calcium as magnesium. This unbalanced ration coupled with the high fat content tends to suppress magnesium absorption. Further, high levels of dietary or supplementary magnesium tend to suppress calcium absorption.
To maximize dietary absorption of magnesium, give up ice cream (which is often high in sugar and fat), chocolate (high in sugar and fat), soft drinks (high phosphate content), loud music (noise = stress), pizza (high in fat), milk shakes (high in calcium, sugar and fat), and potato chips (high in salt and fat). Does this sound like something the average American could do?
C. Urinary and Fecal Magnesium Loss: Magnesium can be recycled through the kidneys, with a 95% recovery rate. However, alcohol promotes magnesium loss, as do diets high in animal protein, sugar, sodium, and calcium. High blood levels of adrenaline and cortisol (hormones released during stress) cause serious urinary magnesium losses. Excessive noise and heat stress also promotes urinary magnesium losses.
Blood Test for Magnesium Level
60% of the magnesium in our bodies exists in our bones, 39% in our cells,and only 1% in the blood. The correlation between blood magnesium and intracellular levels is poor. Total body magnesium levels may decrease 20% during a fast, with no change in blood levels. While low blood magnesium levels may correctly indicate serious disease, a “normal” magnesium blood level by traditional laboratory test may exist concurrently with a deficit in intracellular magnesium. No reliable test of tissue magnesium level is currently available. An inconvenient, but accurate method to measure magnesium levels is by a 24-hour urine measurement for magnesium after intravenous magnesium loading. This is seldom done due to patient compliance issues.
© Copyright 2015 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Questions
How do I know what type of magnesium to take for my body?
Magnesium citrate is the best for absorption, but it is also more pricey. It can be suited for those with sensitive GI track. Normal healthy people can do well with other less expansive form of magnesium.
If my body is already very weak, would taking GABA or magnesium to help my anxiety weaken me further?
If you have a very weak body or advanced AFS, sometimes you may have a paradoxical reaction with GABA or magnesium, instead of calming your anxiety, you may feel an excitory effect.