Isak Dinesen, author of the great book Out of Africa, wrote: “The cure for everything is sea water.” Today’s physiological and ecological human circumstances suggest that Dinesen’s advice to look to the sea to replenish important minerals , Has merit. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals that too many people neglect, and a good place to get it – whether in diet or as a supplement – is from the ocean.
Mineral deficiencies can sometimes cause minor problems. But they can also be fatal. Studies show that magnesium deficiency can be as high as 33% in young people and as high as 60% in adults. This is the result of a decrease in the amount of magnesium in the soil, as well as an increase in the consumption of processed foods.
Magnesium is required for over 300 metabolic reactions in the body. It is also nature’s dilator that helps keep the arteries open. This fights high blood pressure and coronary artery spasms. It also has an important role in maintaining normal heart rhythm. By making platelets more slippery and therefore less prone to clotting, the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes is reduced.
Every heartbeat depends on a complex electrical system that must be synchronous to survive. Low magnesium in the blood throws a wrench into the process and causes an irregular heart rate (atrial fibrillation). Adding magnesium often restores the normal beat.
Today a worldwide diabetes epidemic is causing a major health problem. Studies show that patients with low magnesium levels are at increased risk for the disease because magnesium helps control blood sugar levels. And it’s a critical mineral for maintaining bone health.
Since magnesium is involved in several hundred metabolic reactions, it is not surprising that a deficiency has been linked to muscle weakness and twitching, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and confusion.
But what makes magnesium from the sea the perfect magnesium? Sea water bears an astonishing resemblance to the plasma content of human blood. Although we cannot drink seawater because of its salt content, it contains the full range of minerals that humans need.
This prompted an Irish company to develop a method of extracting these minerals from clean seawater to create the low-sodium multi-mineral complex Aquamin Mg.
Then Aquamin Mg was compared to other forms of magnesium. For example, magnesium oxide is the strongest but not well absorbed. Magnesium chloride is absorbed well, but has a low magnesium content. Aquamin Mg has been found to offer the best of both worlds. It was many times more soluble and absorbable than magnesium oxide. And because it contained 33 percent elemental magnesium, it was more effective than the chloride version.
Recommended dietary intake of magnesium varies and generally increases with age. For typical adults, a good approach is to take 250 mg daily with food or when this important mineral is not consumed regularly in the recommended amounts. Some people may benefit from higher doses, but the dose should be split up throughout the day. Magnesium can have a relaxing effect, so a second dose with dinner can lead to better sleep.
Magnesium in these low doses rarely leads to diarrhea. But it can help those who are constipated. If diarrhea occurs, reduce the dose.
Isak Dinesen was right. The sea helps sustain life and is the source of minerals that can improve our health.
Dr. W. Gifford-Jones is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Harvard Medical School. For over 40 years he specialized in gynecology and dedicated his practice to the formative questions of women’s health.