What causes this deficiency?
Eating a typical Western diet of processed food
The primary cause of magnesium deficiency is simply not consuming enough magnesium in your food. The ‘standard’ diet for many developed nations is based on a lot of meat, dairy, refined grains and processed products, and any magnesium that might have been present before the refining begins is lost in the process. Add to that the fact that mineral levels in topsoil globally are at their lowest ever, so even if you eat foods that are typically high in magnesium (such as dark green leafy vegetables) you may still find yourself deficient.
Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, or consuming too many soda drinks
When you drink certain cola drinks or any soda with caffeine in, magnesium uptake from your intestines into the body is blocked. There is also some evidence that phosphoric acid in such sodas can leach calcium and magnesium from your body making it impossible for you to make use of it.
Most people know that coffee often has a laxative effect and can be a diuretic, but they don’t always make the connection that going to the bathroom means excreting minerals like magnesium in their urine or faeces. Caffeine can also directly interfere with the absorption of magnesium and calcium from the diet. Heavy coffee drinkers are often prone to all kinds of mineral deficiencies, including magnesium.
When we drink alcohol, our bodies (namely our kidneys) get straight to work processing it, meaning that we can excrete magnesium even before we have had a chance to use it. For this reason, anyone who drinks alcohol in more than moderation is very likely to suffer from magnesium deficiency.
Constant stress, both mental and physical, depletes your body of magnesium. At the same time, magnesium deficiency intensifies stress, so it can be a vicious circle that seems hard to break. Magnesium helps to regulate our stress response, making it crucial for us to have enough in our body at all times.