If you are middle aged or older, I’m going to share something important that may benefit the health every reader, or at worst, won’t do any harm.
In my business of construction, I was always very physically involved. Around 15 years ago, I started noticing that at the end of a long day of physical exertion (not extreme levels, mostly low to moderate), my muscles would be sore all over. My body would be like an engine that had run out of oil and was creaky. Interestingly, in the morning, I was 100% again and ready to go. I couldn’t find any reason for this, nothing much online (which has a lot of information on stiff muscles from extreme exertion, a different matter) and my GP drew a blank on it. I was always tempted to write it off to “just part of getting older”, yet I couldn’t do that for a lot of reasons. One is that I knew people a lot older than me who were highly active in sports or work, and didn’t seem to experience that. Also, the daily cycle seemed like a depletion/repletion cycle, not a chronic condition. Anyway, by 2007, I reduced the physical component of my work because the daily cycle was getting rather unenjoyable.
I continued to research this because I had this nagging feeling that there was some sort of nutritional deficiency involved. Then came a discovery by accident. I was researching a building product that is new on the market….a potential replacement for drywall that instead of being made out of gypsum, it is made out of magnesium. In my research and curiosity, I was looking around at other uses of magnesium and found that magnesium is an important element in the body, about half of it is found in our muscles and organs. Magnesium acts like a “key” that opens the door to the movement of calcium and potassium in and out of our muscles for efficient use. There was some mention about increased magnesium aiding in the reduction of muscle aches so I bought a couple big bottles of supplements from Costco and started taking it daily for a couple of months. I didn’t think about it too much, not expecting much, but then last week, a friend who is moving residence, needed some help moving furniture and boxes so I volunteered. It was about 3 hours of moderate to intense physical exertion. That evening, it suddenly dawned on me……zero muscle aches…..none whatsoever! I’m monitoring this since and it does seem to be the answer to my muscle fatigue.
Benefits of Proper Magnesium Levels
It’s not just muscle efficiency and energy, there is much more to it. Magnesium aids in anxiety reduction, helps sleep, believed to reduce migranes, reduces osteoporosis and a few other benefits. Because the heart is a muscle, it is particularly good for the heart and apparently helps regulate the beating, reducing irregular beating. There are no studies to prove this, but it may reduce hypertension (improve blood pressure).
Reasons for Deficiency
There are no reliable tests for deficiency. Blood testing will reveal levels in the blood but the kidneys and liver make sure that the blood gets the right amount, and it is in the muscles and organs where the deficiency occurs, so it is a bit of a guess. However, many sites suggest that everyone middle aged and up are likely deficient to some degree or another.
- It is possible that as we age, we don’t absorb magnesium (found in many foods) as well.
- Our diet is deficient (see list of magnesium rich food below).
- Our diet is acidic. Magnesium works on neutralizing acids so if we are consuming too much acidic food and beverages, it drains our magnesium and leaves us deficient. (see list of acidic culprits below).
How to raise Magnesium Levels
- Low cost supplements are easily available and not expensive. The American Medical Association recommends around 400mg/day for middle aged people and older. Less for women, more for men, but around that ballpark. Apparently, the risks associated with taking too much are between negligible and minimal.
- Consume more magnesium rich foods. Some examples are spinach, almonds, potatoes, bananas, broccoli, brussel sprouts and black beans.
- Reduce acidic food and beverages: meats, breads, rice, cheese, sweeteners are some of the main foods. Pop, coffee, tea, beer and wine are also acidic forming. One of the additional benefits of reducing acidic forming foods is that it will reduce internal inflammation, which is where cancer likes to get going.
In the above, the big revelation to me was my high consumption of coffee, which is probably the main reason for my magnesium deficiency. Otherwise, our diet is pretty good. I will reduce coffee consumption and looking at ways to reduce the acidity of coffee….one is by using dark roasts only.
Hopefully this information is useful to someone. For me, it’s a game changer as I can start thinking about sports again…..since I’m not “just getting old” after all! So here is a pic of me and my kids about 4 years ago making an attempt to make the top of Fisher Peak of the BC Rocky Mountains. We made it most of the way but with my new fluid muscles, I am thinking of making a new assault to the top!