The Paleo Diet and Magnesium Deficiency


Kal Magnesium Glycinate, my favorite.

What does protein do for your body? It helps you grow muscles, everyone knows that. What does magnesium do for your body? If you know the answer to that question, you’re definitely in the minority. I wouldn’t be surprised if you do know, because us nutrition aficionados usually know a little more than the average Joe, about the purpose of certain vitamins and minerals, but the general public usually doesn’t usually know how important magnesium is for our health.

Heck, it’s possible that even most Paleo/Primal folks don’t know exactly how important magnesium is.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW) when I was in my teens. WPW is basically a heart defect where there exists an additional electrical pathway in the heart, that enables it to beat out of control. I had key-hole surgery to have it repaired, in my late teens but years later after getting a little fat, and horribly out of shape I began to be plagued by heart flutters and jumps that are sometimes a little unnerving.

I visited a specialist approximately 6 years ago, and he did all of the usual tests….like the cardio stress test, and the echo-cardiograph etc…..but found nothing wrong. I was concerned that the accessory pathway in my heart had grown back, because apparently, that is not out of the question, but it had not. This did nothing to relieve my anxiety that I was experiencing from

the flutters and jumps that were often so strong, that they took my breath away.

I was a wreck. The specialist gave me a prescription for beta-blockers, that slow the heart down, and are supposed to help with the sort of problem I was having. I have a lot of experience with these drugs from my teenage years, because I was on them for over a year before I opted to have the surgery to repair the problem. i remembered how they drained my energy, leaving me feeling constantly lethargic, and destroyed my libido……later, since I was in my late twenties, I certainly didn’t want that again. The beta blockers seemed like the only option however, and I had to do something, because the anxiety from the events, was causing even more events. I sometimes felt like i couldn’t catch a whole breath, which would make things even worse.

I reluctantly took the beta blockers, but after about a week, I was not feeling any better, so I began looking for alternatives.

At this time, I began searching on the internet for other people with the same problem, as if to make myself better through fellowship. I found multiple groups of people experiencing the same problem, that they identified as PVCs, or Post Ventricular Contractions. Some people were experiencing hundreds of these events every day, but their doctors told them that there was nothing wrong with their hearts, and they should simply ignore the jumps and flutters. It was actually affecting their quality of life, as it was mine….although to a lesser degree for me.

If you look up PVCs on-line, you’ll see that they are generally regarded as benign, and do not pose a threat to the afflicted, unless they are of advanced age, at which it point they can cause spontaneous death. Lovely. That’s something to look forward to, isn’t it!

One thing that I did notice was that in these groups, there were several people talking about the benefits of taking a magnesium supplement. Most were reporting that it either completely relieved all PVC events, or at the very least, severely limited the frequency of PVC events.

I remember thinking “How could this be the case? How could my highly qualified specialist not know about this? How could a simple vitamin shop mineral accomplish what my prescription medication could not?”. Regardless, I thought “what the heck, I’ll give it a go”, and went out the very next day to secure myself some magnesium.

I began by taking 500mg each day in the morning, and can you imagine what happened? The PVCs virtually went away almost immediately. What was even better, is that my anxiety that was serving as a vicious cycle to make the PVCs more frequent, went away too! The cheap mineral supplement that I could buy without a prescription was able to accomplish something that my prescription medication could not….how could this be the case?

It turns out that the vast majority of Americans might actually be deficient in magnesium, and never even know it. One of the functions of Magnesium is to facilitate the proper function of muscles, and is known to help keep the heart in it’s proper rhythm. It makes perfect sense that a magnesium deficiency would lead to the kind of symptoms that I, and everyone else with PVCs were experiencing. It also makes perfect sense that supplementing with Magnesium would alleviate the

symptoms, and return the body to it’s proper balance.

Why wouldn’t my specialist prescribe a magnesium supplement to me, instead of beta blockers? Because it’s not a patentable drug, and big pharma can’t make any money on it, that’s why.

Thank you magnesium.

Fast Forward……

I was listening to Sean Croxton’s Underground Wellness Radio podcast just the other day, and he had a man named Morley Robbins on the show, who is otherwise known as “The Magnesium Man”. Morley had a ton of interesting things to say about the implication of magnesium deficiency in almost every chronic disease known to man today…..and it all made a lot of sense….especially after what I have experienced with it.

In the podcast, Morley outlines the numerous bodily functions and systems that magnesium plays a part in. Magnesium is crucial from some functions, and merely “helpful” in others, but the shire number of implications will blow you away. Morley believes that magnesium deficiency plays a part in almost every health issue, and it seems to me, that he could be right.

Please take the time to listen to the Podcast here.

Also, make sure that you visit Morley’s website here.

To this day, magnesium is one of the only things I still supplement, along with vitamin (hormone) D3. Today I use only Magnesium Glycinate, because the chelated versions of magnesium are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body than non-chelated versions. I take 600mg per day now, and some days I experience a PVC, and others I do not. On the whole, they don’t bother me anymore, and I believe that is still thanks to the magnesium.

What Are Some of The Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?

“Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include agitation and anxiety, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sleep disorders, irritability, nausea and vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, low blood pressure, confusion, muscle spasm and weakness, hyperventilation, insomnia, poor nail growth, and even seizures.” -

“alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, salt, nicotine, and sugar cravings; anger; angina; anxiety; arrhythmia of the heart; asthma; inflammatory bowel disorders such as malabsorption, colitis and Crohn’s disease; brain trauma; chronic fatigue syndrome; concentration and cognitive difficulties; confusion; convulsions; depression; diabetes; fibromyalgia; headaches; heart disease; hypertension; hyperactivity; kidney stones; insomnia; premenstrual syndrome; mitral valve prolapse; muscle cramps, twitching or tics; polycystic ovarian syndrome,; restless leg syndrome; diminished sexual energy; startled easily by noise; Raynaud’s syndrome; hyperthyroidism; metabolic syndrome; postpartum depression; stroke; shortness of breath; hyperparathyroidism; tingling of hands or feet; wheezing; and tremor.” -

Why Is America Deficient In Magnesium?

Two words….Processed Foods. Well, that and depletion of soil nutrients. White flour is a processed foods that has all magnesium removed, along with sodium chloride or common table salt. The American people, or anyone who eats a westernized diet eats a substantial amount of foods that have suffered magnesium removal during processing.

Even if a person is getting substantial amounts of magnesium from their diet, they still need to be able to absorb it through their intestine to be able to utilize it, and the high frequency of intestinal permeability (leaky gut) cases, caused by the same poor diet only adds to the problem.

A vitamin D3 deficiency….which is also a problem for this country….is another contributing factor, because Vitamin D3 helps with the utilization of magnesium.

The Paleo Diet and Magnesium Deficiency

A whole food based diet, like the Paleo or Primal Templates, should certainly increase the amount of magnesium that we intake on a daily basis, but any leaky gut issues need to be addressed first. Even eating a whole foods diet, might not supply enough natural Magnesium to counteract a true magnesium deficiency, so supplementation may still be necessary for some time. A person could certainly focus on magnesium rich foods, to help counteract a deficiency. Some magnesium rich foods include:

  • Broccoli
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Halibut
  • Raw Milk
  • Okra
  • Oysters
  • Plantains
  • Rockfish
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Scallops
  • Spinach
  • Potato (Sweet)

So there you have it. I believe that alongside vitamin D3, magnesium is one of the two most important things to supplement. Do you take magnesium? If so, what form, and what does it do for you?


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Barry Cripps is a Paleo-based, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, who operates out of Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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2 Responses to The Paleo Diet and Magnesium Deficiency

  1. Lila Solnick May 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I had the same problem. For years I had an irregular heart beat that sometimes was debilitating. It sent me to the emergency room twice since I thought I was having a heart attack. Each time they did a battery of tests which showed my heart to be fine. But the suggestion was always the same. Go see your doctor and he will probably prescribe a beta-blocker. The last time I went to the ER and then saw my doctor he made the same recommendation. This time I decided that I had nothing to lose by trying (HA!). I was on it for six months with very little change in the irregular heart beat. However, my legs suddenly filled with fluid at around the 6 month mark. I could barely walk! This was in 2006. At that time I was overweight, but active. I was able to walk, garden ride my bike, do tai chi, etc. Then suddenly I was basically disabled. 6 months after that I discovered that I was severely magnesium deficient and started taking it orally and applying magnesium oil topically. That did the trick for the most part. It still happens from time to time. But now I am taking a fantastic new supplement which may have stopped it for good, Laminine. But only time will tell.

  2. Maryann May 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Good write up. I take the exact same Magnesium supplement you have pictured.