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What Causes of Magnesium Deficiency?
The number one in the US diet is sugar. When I say sugar I’m really reflecting on processed sugar. I’m not talking about natural sugars that might be found in fruits. I’m talking about processed sugar.
So if it’s got added sweetener, added sugar in it, understand that for every carbohydrate sugar that you eat to break down one molecule of sugar and running it through the proper biochemistry, there are eight different steps in that cycle. More than half of those steps actually require magnesium. And what happens when you eat processed sugar without magnesium? You remember sugar has no nutritional value.
There’s no magnesium in sugar. Your body has to find the magnesium from somewhere. So if you’re eating foods high in sugar, your body steals that magnesium from your own storage to process that sugar and try to convert it into energy. So sugar is hands down, in my experience, the number one cause of magnesium deficiency in the US.
What are some of the other causes of magnesium deficiency?
The second one is high stress. Stress Depletes magnesium. Now, I’m not talking about acute stress where you have a bad day. I’m talking about chronic, prolonged stress. It’s repetitive. It doesn’t go away. Maybe you hate your job. Maybe you’re in a bad relationship. Maybe you’re taking a really stressful class in college, like whatever that might be. If that stress goes chronic, you’re losing magnesium consistently. What else causes magnesium deficiency? Well, I’m going to say it. Coffee. There’s a rumour going around the internet that coffee’s really super rich in magnesium.
That’s not true. Coffee’s not that rich in magnesium at all, but it’s not really even necessarily the coffee directly, but it’s what’s in the coffee. Caffeine. Now I’m not talking about the person that drinks a six-ounce cup of coffee a day, but I’m talking about you. If you drive in through the Starbucks line or are you going into the McDonald’s and you’re picking up, you know these, you know 20-ounce cups, that’s not a cup of coffee by the way. That’s about three cups of coffee.
A Cup is six ounces. So one cup of coffee, the caffeine in that’s about a 100-120 milligrams of caffeine. You’ll be okay with that if that’s all you’re doing on a daily basis. But if you’re doing these 20 ouncers, these big jugs, if you’re drinking three, four cups a day, if you’re, if you’re the pot-a-day kind of person, the quantity of caffeine that you’re consuming, know that caffeine is a diuretic that depletes magnesium at higher doses. So if you’re taking in high quantities of coffee, again, large, bigger than six ounces, so greater than six ounces…
Did I do that, right? No. I think I’m off the board here. Greater than six ounces. That’s when you start really getting into trouble. Now, what else can cause a magnesium deficiency? And probably the most, well we’ll say one of the rarest to be discussed is medicine. You know, generally, you go to the doctor and you think, hey, I’m taking this medicine. My doctor gave it to me, it’s going to improve my fill in the blank, my situation, right, and those of you tuning into this show probably know better, but many medicines deplete magnesium. Let’s go through kind of a shortlist. But blood pressure medications deplete magnesium. Antacid medications deplete magnesium. Some antibiotics can deplete magnesium. Some antidepressants deplete magnesium. Some antiseizure medications can deplete magnesium.
So many different medicines will cause this to happen, and ladies, for you, you should know one of the biggest, we’ll just write it in here are estrogen medicines, birth control pills or estrogen substitutes. So I’ll just put the big ones in. Hypertension, so blood pressure medicine, birth control pills, and then subsequently to that antacids. These are really the top three that will deplete the magnesium from your body over time. So, for example, it’s not if you took an antiacid last night, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the chronic use of these medications over long periods of time. Over months they start to deplete.
Either they deplete the nutrient itself or they inhibit your body to be able to use the nutrient or they actually cause excessive excretion of that nutrient. So those are some of the different mechanisms, but very, very common to see medicine deplete magnesium over time. And we’ll talk a little bit in a minute. I’m going to draw you a picture because I really want you to see this.
Now there’s another thing that causes magnesium deficiency that many of you suffer from. And that goes back to inflammation of the gut. So if your gut’s broken, you’re not absorbing very well. And where does magnesium get absorbed? It gets absorbed in the small intestine.
So if your guts on fire, if you’ve got an irritable or inflammatory bowel disease like celiac disease, Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis or if you’ve got other kinds of nonspecific inflammatory diseases that you’ve been diagnosed with. Some people get a diagnosis of gastritis. Like what does that mean? It means inflammation of the stomach, esophagitis inflammation of the Esophagus, you know, some of these different terms. But if you’ve got inflammation in your GI tract and it’s hindering or affecting your body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients from the food that you eat, then you are at risk for deficiency.
So, this is kind of the big list of different things that you want to know about if you’re doing them or things that you can change about your lifestyle or behaviour that might help you move in the right direction. Let’s switch gears here cause I want to give you really some food for thought tonight as it relates to number four. A lot of people don’t realize, I’m going to give you a couple of different scenarios.
Let’s say you’ve got high blood pressure. We’re abbreviating that as HTN. Hypertension is what that stands for and let’s say your blood pressure’s up and so the doctor prescribed you medicine for that and the medicine depletes your magnesium. [inaudible 00:07:12] Those, the higher your blood pressure gets. I want to be real clear. We talked about this in in in past shows where one of the big factors that are involved with the cause of high blood pressure is actually low magnesium.
Low Magnesium is known to cause your blood pressure to go up. It’s partly because magnesium regulates muscle tension. Now think about that for a minute. Your heart’s a muscle and so are your blood vessels and so if your blood vessels can’t properly dilate and contract and dilate and contract and they’re stuck kind of in a spastic or a spasmodic position, then it’s going to increase the tension or the pressure on the wall of the arteries and that’s what blood pressure elevations are. When we measure blood pressure, we’re actually measuring the pressure on the arterial wall.
And so if magnesium deficiency is present, it increases the pressure on that wall because it causes vasoconstriction or constriction of the blood vessel. So my point in saying this is if you’re on the medicine to lower your blood pressure, but the medicine causes magnesium deficiency and magnesium deficiency, increases muscular tension on your vascular arterial tree and it creates an increase in your blood pressure.
What are we doing? What’s the scenario? What is the outcome? Are we winning this?
No. We’re losing. This is a losing battle. You’re not going to win here if this is the scenario, right? So you’ve got to figure out, you know, I always go back to what you know, functional medicine, which is root cause resolution. You’ve got to figure out why the blood pressure is elevated in the first place. You can’t just go after it with medicine and expect that medicine is somehow miraculously going to fix why your body is driving up your blood pressure in the first place.
Remember, elevations in blood pressure are a symptom of a deeper problem. They’re not the actual problem itself. They’re a symptom of the problem. Hey, and if you missed the earlier part of this series, click right here so you can go back and get caught up. The information there might be critical to helping you on your path to better health. And as always, thanks for tuning in and make sure you subscribe for updates below. Have a great day.