Bestselling author describes how to diagnose and combat magnesium deficiencies, which reduce people’s immunity, energy, and muscle and nerve functions
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, spearheading more than 300 biochemical reactions, yet as many as 90% of people are deficient, says Dr. Will Cole, a nationally regarded doctor.
“I think people are just starting to catch on to how much magnesium plays a role in keeping the body functioning,” says Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, D.C., who was named one of the nation’s top 50 functional-medicine and integrative doctors. “Magnesium is an electrolyte, along with potassium and calcium, that helps support the immune system, maintain nerve and muscle function, and aids in the production of energy.”
Dr. Cole is an international bestselling author and health expert who has been interviewed by prominent news outlets, ranging from The Wall Street Journal and Reader’s Digest to goop and mindbodygreen. He runs a clinic in Pittsburgh and consults patients worldwide via webcam. He says he often sees patients with magnesium deficiencies and diagnoses it with a simple blood test.
According to Dr. Cole, here are the two most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle spasms and leg cramps – Cole recommends Epsom salt baths for this glaring sign of a magnesium deficiency. Epsom salt is a combination of the naturally-occurring minerals magnesium and sulfate.
“Not only does Epsom salt help you to detox, relax your muscles, and de-stress, but it allows you to take in magnesium topically through the skin – your body’s largest organ,” says Dr. Cole.
- Migraines and other headaches – Although many people don’t attribute headaches to magnesium deficiency, Dr. Cole says magnesium is responsible for relaxing the same blood vessels that tense up during a migraine.
When Dr. Cole detects magnesium deficiencies in his patients, depending on the severity, he recommends adding magnesium supplements to boost levels more efficiently, eating more magnesium-rich foods on a regular basis – such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, and dark, leafy vegetables, like spinach and swiss chard – and soaking in Epsom salt.
If someone suspects they are magnesium deficient, Dr. Cole says the first thing to do is get lab work done. This will determine whether they have a deficiency and if so, the severity. From there, he recommends working with a practitioner to choose a magnesium supplement and the appropriate dosage.
“Magnesium is one of the most overlooked deficiencies in conventional medicine, but with how much your body relies on this nutrient, it’s important that we start looking at it,” says Dr. Cole.