The biochemical importance of magnesium has been already well-described. Many here are familiar with the difficulties of getting sufficient magnesium from natural sources (i.e. not supplements). That of course makes me wonder how it is that our ancestors ever got "enough" magnesium. Some have mentioned that water sources historically had more magnesium. But given just how little magnesium there is in rivers (4 ppm), this seems hard to imagine.
Is there any evidence of hunter-gatherers today consuming 350-400mg or more per day? If so, what are their sources? (Bonus points if you can find evidence that our ancestors consumed at least that much.)
asked bydav (1078)
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on March 10, 2012
at 03:49 PM
How much soil do you eat in a day, compared to say, a person who's dinner plate was/is the ground?
Also, I personally believe that Paleolithic man probably did not get anywhere near the amount of absorbable calcium that we get today (if we eat dairy). Calcium requires magnesium for absorption, and therefore depletes it. This is why I suggest athletes who get much of their protein from dairy sources (protein powders, specifically) to supplement with additional magnesium before bedtime, at least an hour outside of consuming dairy products (or any other food, preferably). I would probably suggest the same for most "Primal" dieters as well as most Paleo folks who need some help sleeping.
Pre-Migratory Homo Sapiens also ate a very varied diet, many trash pits around coastal areas include oyster shells, fish bones, etc along with their normal fare... seafood being quite a good source of magnesium. It wasn't until migration towards ice-age paleolithic europe that seafood (and tubers, green veggies, etc) started making their way out of the diets, and the low-carb craze began.
on March 10, 2012
at 01:47 PM
Hunter gatherers eat fruit and tubers both are very rich in magnesium.
on March 10, 2012
at 01:34 PM
Just throwing this out there, but maybe our modern lifestyle has upped our need for magnesium? Things like coffee and alcohol can deplete magnesium, and I believe stress and grain consumption can as well. Part of the reason we have trouble getting enough could be because we've so chronically depleted it out of our systems in recent history.
One other thing to throw out there is that we used to eat a lot more dirt. We didn't clean stuff well throughout history, and I'm sure we picked up loads of minerals in our diet through accidentally eating dirt. (But also I have no idea what kind of magnesium levels are in dirt, so that might not be it at all.)
on December 09, 2013
at 12:49 AM
I believe that boron helps to absorb and/or retain magnesium and calcium.
Eat your beets. Beets get heart rot if they don't get lots of boron, iirc, so a good-looking beet was probably fertilized using boron, amongst other things, whereas with most other crops you'd never notice the low boron level in the soil.
on December 06, 2013
at 10:43 PM
Hunter-gatherers probably got a lot more magnesium than we do because natural bodies of water are higher in magnesium than softened, reverse osmosis water that is drunk today
on December 05, 2013
at 07:24 AM
Such a thing cannot easily be 'proved.' However, evidence can get given. For instance, crop soils are badly depleted of magnesium and magnesium is not typically added as a fertilizer. Consequently, hybrid plant species have been developed that do not require much magnesium to grow. Meaning our food now has much less magnesium than it once did and that includes even organic foods. Cooking and processing and long term storage of foods also depletes magnesium. Fluoride, now added in our water, binds with magnesium creating an insoluble mineral that accumulates in bones (not good!). Phytic acid, phosphates, and tannins also bind with magnesium rendering it unusable to us as do many medications commonly prescribed (diuretics, corticosteriods, birth control pills, etc). Many things we do today also increase the need for magnesium, things like sugar intake, heavy exercise, and mental stress. High calcium intake will block magnesium absorption as will high iron intake and lactose intake. Is it any wonder many are magnesium deficient!?!