signs of symptomatic cardiovascular dis- ease, and compared to those with the lowest serum levels, those who had the highest serum level of magnesium had a:

• 48 percent lower risk of high blood pressure • 69 percent lower risk of type 2 diabe-

tes • 42 percent lower risk of an elevated CAC score

A 0.17 milligram per deciliter (mg/dL) increase in serum magnesium was associ- ated with a 16 percent reduction in CAC score. The authors concluded that:

"[L]ow serum magnesium was inde- pendently associated to higher preva- lence not only of hypertension and DM2 [diabetes mellitus 2], but also to coronary artery calcification, which is a marker of atherosclerosis and a pre- dictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality."

Magnesium Intake Is Also Inversely As- sociated With Inflammation Marker

Research published in 2014 also found that higher magnesium intake is inversely as- sociated with serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. CRP is a marker for inflam- mation and rises when you have inflam- mation brewing in your body. Here, data collected from seven cross-sectional stud- ies of more than 32,900 people showed that people who had higher magnesium intake had lower CRP levels. According to the authors:

"This meta-analysis and systematic re- view indicates that dietary Mg [magne- sium] intake is significantly and in- versely associated with serum CRP levels. The potential beneficial effect of Mg intake on chronic diseases may be, at least in part, explained by inhibiting inflammation."

Risk Factors, Signs and Symptoms of Mag- nesium Deficiency A primary risk factor for magnesium

deficiency is eating a processed food diet, and the reason for this is because magne- sium resides at the center of the chlorophyll molecule. If you rarely eat leafy greens and other magnesium-rich whole foods (listed above), you may not get enough magne-

sium from your diet alone. Magnesium is also lost through stress,

sweating from heavy exertion, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption and use of certain prescription drugs (especially di- uretics, statins, fluoride and fluoride-con- taining drugs such as fluoroquinolone antibiotics), and tend to decline in the presence of elevated insulin levels.These are all factors that affect a large majority of people in the Western world. Unfortunately, unlike sodium or potas- sium, there is no easily available commer- cial lab test that will give you a truly ac- curate reading of your magnesium status. The reason for this is because the vast majority of the magnesium in your body is found in bones and soft tissues. Only 1 percent of it shows up in your

blood. That said, some specialty labs do provide an RBC magnesium test that can give you a reasonable estimate. Perhaps the best way to ascertain your status is to carefully evaluate and track your symp- toms.

Early signs of magnesium deficiency

include "Charlie horses" (the muscle spasm that occurs when you stretch your legs), headaches/migraines, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue or weakness. These are all warning signs indicating you

probably need to boost your magnesium intake.

More chronic magnesium deficiency can lead to far more serious symptoms such as abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms, seizures, numbness and tingling, as well as changes in personality and be- havior.

Dean's book, "The Magnesium Mira-

cle," contains an extensive list of signs and symptoms, which can be helpful for evalu- ating your magnesium status. You can also follow the instructions in her blog post, "Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symp- toms," which will give you a check list to go through every few weeks. This will also help you gauge how much magnesium you need to resolve your deficiency symptoms.

Tips and Suggestions on Dosage The RDA for magnesium ranges from

310 to 420 mg per day, depending on your age and sex. However, as noted by Dean, some researchers believe as much as 600 to 900 mg/d may be required for optimal health. Fortunately, there's room for error. Magnesium is quite safe, so you don't have to worry about taking too much. That said, if you have renal failure, you'll want to avoid taking too much, as it could have adverse effects.

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