I haven't done a whole lot of focus on children and the common health issues that they deal with, here in the United States. Because this is such an elaborate topic, I think I might turn this into a series. Not a lot of people know that children can be just as prone to deficiencies as adults, if not more so. Today, we'll start with something simple but extremely common; magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium deficiencies are probably one of the most common of all deficiencies and can occur in all ages (children and adults), especially athletes, dancers, and other performers. Why?
In today's world, children are under a lot of stress. School, pressures to get into college, performance anxiety, fear of failure, pressures to win or be excellent, pressures to fit in, etc. This can take a toll on their still-growing bodies and minds. A child under large amounts of stress on a daily basis (both physical and mental) is more prone to anxiety, depression, irritability, weight-gain, select diseases, hormone disruptions, insomnia, and so much more.
Stress is the enemy when it comes to maintaining your health. When you are under stress, hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released. This causes your heart rate to rise, your blood vessels to dilate, your metabolism decreases, and extra glucose is released into your bloodstream to provide you with more fuel to “fly.” This is called “fight or flight.” Your body goes into this state of stress when you feel as if you are in danger.
Too much cortisol will decrease the function of your adrenal glands.
Adrenal glands are what control certain hormones to keep the body functioning properly. When your adrenal glands are depleted, you might begin to experience headaches and muscle aches due to hypersensitivity in the brain and nerves.
- A Dancer's Diary by Amanda E. Howard
Having an overabundance of adrenaline in our system causes a decrease in magnesium. Magnesium is the key component to support protein synthesis, lower inflammation, nervous system regulation, gene maintenance, and relaxing the muscles.
Magnesium also supports the production of serotonin; the "happy" hormone. If magnesium stores are low, serotonin stores are low which can lead to depression. In an effort to "prop" themselves up, sufferers are given drugs such as Prozac which artificially raises serotonin levels by preventing its natural breakdown. Unfortunately, the side effects of this drug can be increased irritability and anxiety which then causes a cascading effect of taking more medication.
A remarkable study of almost 500 depressed people by Drs. Cox and Shealy found that the majority of sufferers were magnesium-deficient. The authors of the study advised clinicians that they should consider the distinct possibility of a therapeutic benefit from the use of magnesium therapy in chronic depression.
- The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.
Magnesium deficiency is the main contributor to and can increase the risk of:
Bowel problems (constipation, IBS, Crohn's, Colitis, etc.)
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Headaches and migraines
Muscle cramps and spasms
Muscle twitching and tics
Startled easily by noise
Tingling in the hands or feet
Tremors in the hands or feet
and much more
So many children are given over to mental illness that "requires" pharmaceutical drugs when there might actually be a simple answer to their problems. Of course, some of these symptoms might be pointing to an underlying condition that might need to be checked out by a doctor, but taking the steps toward building up magnesium stores could be a great first step. If nothing changes, at least you narrowed it down.
Please note that magnesium and calcium work together. When taking a magnesium supplement, make sure you are combining it with a source of calcium as well.
I recommend trying Natural Calm. It comes in a powder that you can add to your water (watermelon, lemon, raspberry-lemon, orange, unflavored, and cherry), gummies (raspberry-lemon), and capsules (lavender and lemon balm). This product can be found online and in select stores such as Sam's Club.
You can also try magnesium flakes that you can add to your bath if you'd like to combine them with taking magnesium and calcium internally. This is a great choice for young children.
If you'd like to do more research for yourself, I recommend that you check out the post from Healthline on the 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Magnesium and the book, The Magnesium Miracle by Dr. Carolyn Dean.
As I continue to delve deeper into this topic, I'll be sharing my findings with you on the common deficiencies in children and adults. Please know that everything I put on this blog has been thoroughly researched. I also want you to know that just because this series is focused on children, doesn't mean that it won't work for adults too. Everything in this post can be applied to both children and adults of all backgrounds.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,
Resources: A Dancer's Diary by Amanda E. Howard and The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean M.D., N.D.
All of the information in this post is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's consent.