What if you could reduce anxiety, sleep soundly, lower your risk of diabetes and heart attacks, relieve constipation, and feel calmer, and even reduce arthritis pain...all while using something completely natural and inexpensive? If this sounds like magic, it’s not. It comes from a miracle mineral, magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most important basic nutrients that powers our bodies. We need it for more than 300 biochemical reactions. But because of our fast-paced lifestyles and nutrient-deficient soil, it’s estimated that fewer than 20 percent of us get enough on a daily basis. The following interview is with Linda Bolton, a nursing professor of 20 years. She became an expert on magnesium after transforming her own health, and that of several family members. 1. How did you discover the benefits of magnesium? Linda Bolton: I had struggled with sleep problems, fibromyalgia and bone density issues for a long time. As a nurse, I knew magnesium was used in hospitals to treat heart attack, stroke, migraines and high blood pressure, but I never considered using it as prevention. Then one day my sister, who had suffered from severe migraines for many years, told me she tried it after a friend recommended it. The results amazed her. Her migraines were reduced from several a week, to one a month. I decided to try it too. I slept right through the very first night, and within a week, much of my muscle pain from fibromyalgia was gone. To top it off, my next medical test showed higher bone density for the first time in 10 years! 2. Why is magnesium so important for our health? Every muscle and nerve in your body relies on magnesium to function normally. This includes the biggest muscle of them all, your heart. Magnesium has a direct connection to the electrical system of your heart, keeping it beating steadily. Magnesium supports a healthy immune system. It activates Vitamin D that assimilates the calcium into your bones to help keep them strong, so it plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones and teeth. Magnesium also regulates blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and helps metabolize energy and synthesize proteins. In fact, magnesium is a catalytic mineral that activates over 320 enzymatic processes so your cells can actually take in the vitamins and minerals in your food. Magnesium regulates other minerals, such as calcium, potassium and sodium. It’s like the team-work mineral, aligning itself with other nutrients to help them complete their functions. 3. What’s the connection with calcium and magnesium? It may surprise you to discover that muscle cramps are often caused by a build-up of calcium in the muscles and soft tissues of the body. Without enough magnesium to help absorb calcium, too much calcium can lead to muscle cramps, spasms and pain. Calcium tenses and excites muscles and nerves, thickens blood and creates constipation. Magnesium relaxes and calms muscles and nerves, reduces muscle cramps and relieves constipation. It’s a natural blood thinner and healthy laxative. Research shows that tension-based conditions such as pain, migraines, restless legs, muscle cramps, PMS and even day-to-day stress can be attributed to the imbalance of too little magnesium and too much calcium. That’s why you should never take calcium without magnesium, but you can take magnesium on a daily basis to make sure your food is being properly assimilated. [caption id="attachment_151" align="alignright" width="300"] Soft drinks rob the body of Magnesium[/caption] Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of the Magnesium Miracle, estimates that 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. People in developed countries seem to be most deficient, for several reasons: • The foods we eat are not nearly as nutritiously dense as they used to be • The soils where our food is grown no longer have the same level of nutrients as in the past. • Many foods and drinks we choose every day actually steal magnesium from our cells. • The body is depleted of magnesium every 12 hours, so it needs constant replenishment. Calcium is everywhere. It’s added to many foods today, and builds up in our bodies. But magnesium is hard to find, and is depleted quickly, so we almost always start out ‘out of balance.’ When calcium is not in balance with magnesium, it can’t be used correctly by the body. This can lead to painful conditions such as hardening and narrowing of the arteries, gall stones, kidney stones, calcification in joints and muscles, calcium deposits in organs, muscle pain and cramps, tension and irritability. Too much of anything is not good, but too much calcium which the body is unable to excrete, is now under increasing study as the key contributor to a long list of health issues. [caption id="attachment_152" align="alignright" width="300"] Magnesium can reduce joint discomfort[/caption] 5. Can magnesium help relieve joint pain from arthritis? Yes, magnesium can dramatically reduce pain by relaxing muscles and driving excess calcium out of the cells. People who suffer from chronic joint pain such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis often have abnormally low levels of magnesium, according to the National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. “Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis are linked to a magnesium deficiency, either due to low dietary intake or malabsorption problems”, says clinical nutritionist Krispin Sullivan on her website. The recommended intake of magnesium for women is between 310 and 320 milligrams per day, and for men it is 400 to 420 milligrams per day as per the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.