How Magnesium Reduces Sugar Cravings
You know when you keep hearing something over & over again, almost like the universe is trying to give you a sign?? Well recently, that *thing* I keep hearing about is magnesium, & its crucial importance for our overall health. Along with fish oil, Dr. Daryl Gioffre (the “Get Off Your Acids” doctor) says that magnesium is one of his top TWO most important supplements. Something he said on a podcast stopped me in my tracks: when your body is craving sugar, what it’s actually craving is one particular nutrient: MAGNESIUM. In this article, we’ll discuss how magnesium reduces sugar cravings!
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body, as it’s involved in a large number of biochemical processes that are crucial for proper metabolic function. The importance of magnesium is often overlooked & underestimated, which is why approximately 80% of Americans are deficient in this mineral.
– Dr. Joseph Mercola
What Foods Have Magnesium in Them?
Foods that are rich in chlorophyll tend to be high in magnesium. This means that dark, leafy greens are some of the best ways to get magnesium by way of your food.
- Black beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Mung beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Spinach (1 cup = 49% of the recommended daily value of magnesium!!)
Why is Magnesium So Important?
- Magnesium Optimizes Your Mitochondrial Function: Mitochondria are the “powerhouses” of your cells; they produce energy, or ATP; magnesium plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your mitochondria. Thus, it’s not uncommon for energy levels to go up when you elevate your magnesium levels.
- Magnesium Keeps Your Heart Healthy: Your heart needs magnesium more than almost any other organ in order to function properly: it helps the heart efficiently pump blood throughout the entire body. Insufficient levels of magnesium can lead to hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, & arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).
- ***Magnesium Helps Lower Glucose Levels & Lowers Risk of Diabetes: This statistic is particularly relevant to our conversation re: the effects of magnesium on sugar levels. Per Dr. Mercola’s site: “Numerous studies have shown that magnesium helps lower glucose levels & prevents the development of Type 2 diabetes.”
Click here to read the results of a study published by the “American Diabetes Association” regarding increased magnesium intake & the INVERSE reaction to risk of Type-2 diabetes. Quoted directly from the study:
“Emerging epidemiological evidence suggests that higher magnesium intake is significantly associated with reduced incidence of diabetes.”
- Magnesium Improves Bone Health: Along with calcium, magnesium helps keep your bones healthy ~ if you’re deficient in either, it may have a negative impact on bone health & function.
- Magnesium Helps You SLEEP BETTER: Dr. Mercola & renowned neuroscientist Andrew Huberman both agree on this point: magnesium, particularly Magnesium L-Threonate, helps improve the quality of our sleep. This is because magnesium regulates neurotransmitters, which help calm the nervous system; magnesium also regulates melatonin (I didn’t know this!) ~ which controls our sleep cycle. The reason they prefer Magnesium L-Threonate is because it best penetrates the blood-brain barrier, i.e. your body is best able to utilize it.
- Magnesium Can Positively Affect Mood, Depression, & ADHD: James Greenblatt, M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer at Walden Behavioral Care in Waltham, MD & a psychiatrist; I came across his fascinating discussion on the link between magnesium depletion & poor mental health. He states that “studies dating back to the 1920s showing how crucial magnesium is for a balanced brain.” He further states that 90% of his ADHD patients are magnesium-deficient, which “triggers symptoms like restlessness, poor focus, irritability, sleep problems, & anxiety.” I highly recommend reading his entire article on the link between magnesium & mental health; he recommends his clients take 125-300mg of Magnesium Glycinate at meals & bedtime, which he has seen significantly improve a wide spectrum of mental health & hyperactivity issues.
But How Does Magnesium Stop Sugar Cravings?
Let’s break it down in simple terms: magnesium helps to regulate glucose (blood sugar), & it also helps to regulate insulin levels (insulin controls how much sugar is in your blood). These facts alone seems reason enough to insure that you’re getting enough magnesium.
But here’s the really interesting part: magnesium also helps regulate one very important neurotransmitter: dopamine (known as the brain’s “reward center,” dopamine allows you to feel pleasure & satisfaction). So this starts to make a lot of sense: if we are deficient in magnesium, it can lead to very intense sugar cravings (sugar also gives you a HUGE dopamine rush, often followed by a HUGE crash). Circling back to what Dr. Daryl Gioffre said earlier, this intense craving for sweets is actually your body crying out for nutrients, namely magnesium!
If you’re someone who compulsively reaches for sweets throughout the day, particularly chocolate ~ there may actually be a very good reason for that: raw cacao is the highest-known source of magnesium per gram on the planet!! I find that kind of wild….it’s almost like your body subconsciously realizes there’s a deficiency, & then goes about trying to correct it.
How Much Magnesium Do We Need? What Kind?
The Daily RDA for magnesium is 320mg for women, & 420mg for men. Note that some naturopaths & functional medicine doctors believe that even these levels are inadequate; speak with your own doctor about what level is best for you.
Most physicians recommend Magnesium Glycinate as the best overall magnesium supplement; it’s a little cheaper than Magnesium L-Threonate, yet still effective, & doesn’t produce loose stools in the way that Magnesium Oxide can.
Anecdotal Evidence: Magnesium & Sugar Cravings
I will end with some final, anecdotal thoughts on magnesium with regard to sugar cravings: I added this magnesium supplement to my regimen about a week ago. Normally, I want a little something sweet after dinner. Since taking magnesium, there are some nights that I haven’t thought about sweets at all/had no desire for them ~ other nights, I still want a little something. But the craving is definitely reduced; if I had to put a number on it, I’d say it’s about a 60% reduction in my desire for sugar, particularly at night.
One of my friends also started taking magnesium this week, & she happens to be pregnant, so she had a definite sweet tooth going on; she was especially craving candy. She texted me this morning: “NO CRAVING SUGAR!!! And swear my skin is less dry & this weird rash went away.” She also started taking fish oil this week (another Dr. Gioffre recommendation), so I attribute the skin improvement to fish oil….but the sugar cravings, I think we can safely deduce are attributed to magnesium!
Don’t take our word for it though: experiment with this for yourself. See if the addition of magnesium by way of more greens or a supplement helps to curb your sugar cravings….& REPORT BACK!
P.S. If you experience abdominal cramps, nausea, or diarrhea ~ you may be taking too much magnesium. Again, consult your doctor for the correct amount to take, or ease into it with the supplementation.
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