A common theme in the articles I write is how calories are not the only thing to consider when losing weight. In this particular article, we will explore how a common deficiency can cause an entire myriad of issues for people, including an inability to lose weight.
Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Unfortunately, it has become more deficient in the diet since many today choose more processed foods instead of real, whole foods. Countries like the USA, France, and Finland have all shown to be deficient in magnesium. (1,2,3).
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Cure and medical and naturopathic doctor, magnesium deficiency is responsible for many ailments. These include:
- Syndrome X
- Insulin Resistance
- High cholesterol
- Elevated Triglycerides
- High Uric Acid
- Decrease in pancreatic enzymes
And, you guessed it, overweight and obesity. According to Dr. Dean, magnesium helps the body to digest, absorb, and utilize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, increases a cell’s sensitivity to insulin, and prevents obesity genes from expressing themselves. (4)
How do you know if you are deficient in magnesium?
Since magnesium affects every part of the body, signs of magnesium deficiency are many. A very short list of these can include:
- Muscle cramps
- Trouble sleeping
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Thyroid Problems
Unfortunately, there is not an accurate way to measure if you truly have a magnesium deficiency. Blood serum levels can be tested, however, experts say that they are not accurate as only 1% of magnesium is found in the blood. (5)
How do you restore magnesium levels?
A very easy way to determine if you are deficient in magnesium at home is to spray a little magnesium oil on your belly and arms before you sleep. If you feel a very strong tingling sensation, this could mean that you are deficient. In fact, if you do feel a tingling sensation, you should use magnesium oil every night for at least 3 months to restore magnesium levels. If the tingling sensation bothers you, spray the magnesium oil on the bottom of your feet instead.
Ingesting magnesium supplements may not be as effective as a transdermal application of magnesium oil because absorption of magnesium may be difficult if one has digestive disturbances or is low in vitamin D.
If you decide to supplement with magnesium oil, keep in mind that you have to start at a low dose and work your way up until you experience loose stools. From this dose, you can work your way up until your symptoms start to decrease or disappear. (6)
So, if you have been trying to lose weight simply by cutting calories and without choosing real food, a magnesium deficiency could truly be at the root of your inability to lose weight. Simply get rid of all processed foods, choose real, whole foods, and supplement with some magnesium oil and watch the scale finally move in the right direction!
- Altura BM, Altura BT. Magnesium: Forgotten Mineral in Cardiovascular Biology and Therogenesis. In: International Magnesium Symposium. New Perspectives in Magnesium Research. London: Springer-Verlag; 2007:239-260.
- Galan P. Dietary magnesium intake in French adult population. In: Theophile T, Anastassopoulou J. Magnesium: current status and new developments: theoretical, biological, and medical aspects. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic; 1997.
- Seelig M, Rosanoff A. The Magnesium Factor. New York: Avery; 2003.