#1: Your Kidneys
Your kidneys play a major role in magnesium homeostasis by filtering magnesium and then allowing 95% of this to be reabsorbed, but allowing the remaining 5% (approximately) to go on to be subsequently excreted in the urine. Your kidney is able to conserve magnesium and prevent deficiency by reducing its excretion; on the other hand, magnesium might also be allowed to be excreted in larger amounts in cases of excessive intake by being filtered but not then being re-absorbed in the ordinary proportions.
There are a few factors that can significantly affect the reabsorption step that comes subsequent to kidney filtration:
- Alcohol—this DOUBLES the excretion rate of magnesium in both acute (one time) and chronic (frequent) alcohol consumption cases.
- Diabetes mellitus—both type 1 and type 2 diabetics have an increased rate of magnesium excretion as a consequence of general kidney dysfunction.
Other ways that excessive excretion can come about that are not related to the kidneys’ homeostatic processes being disrupted include:
- Gastrointestinal problems— Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel disease, etc. increase the secretion of magnesium into feces.
- Excessive sweating from exercise or sauna can also result in magnesium loss but to a much lesser extent than any of the aforementioned reasons.
#2: Not Eating Magnesium Rich Foods
Magnesium is part of that green pigment in plants, chlorophyll. You might remember that word from 6th grade science class. Green leafy vegetables are particularly high in magnesium. The average American consumes foods that are rich in energy catalysts, but poor in micronutrients. This is due to the amount of processed foods, sugars, sodas, and even meat that we eat. This is the major cause of Magnesium Deficiency in the United States – not enough of those sweet sweet green leafy vegetables in our daily diets. Meat and Milk have very little Magnesium, and Soda, Sugary Sweets, and White Flour have virtually no Magnesium, what so ever.
Alternatively, these foods have the most magnesium; Oat Brain, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Brown Rice, Almonds, and Lima Beans. Just 2.5 cups of spinach a day can fulfil your daily requirement of Magnesium. Even if this level only stays at the basic level for only a few hours. But among the aforementioned list, green chlorophyll-rich vegetables are actually the best Magnesium rich foods, despite the fact that oat bran has more magnesium. This is because leafy vegetables absorb more effectively.
#3: Your Intestines Not Absorbing
The pH of the intestinal interior can affect the ability for magnesium to diffuse across your large and small intestines’ intestinal wall. In general, the more alkaline your intestines, the poorer your ability to absorb minerals in general and magnesium in particular will be. Most mineral salts, including magnesium, require very low pH to be solubilized and then absorbed. In general, the more alkaline the intestinal interior, the lower the rate of absorption of most minerals.
Despite the fact that oat bran and brown rice are both very high in magnesium, they’re actually a poor first choice. The reason for this also has to do with absorption. The magnesium in oat bran and many legumes is misleading in that the bioavailability is reduced as a consequence of these minerals being complexed (bound) to phytates. Humans are unable to digest phytate, thus phytate impairs the absorption of minerals (mostly zinc) but also magnesium to a lesser extent. In addition, high-dose supplementation with other minerals can result in competition for mineral digestive enzymes and can also impair mineral absorption. For example, relatively high doses of zinc (142 mg/day) have been shown to inhibit magnesium absorption.