Magnesium is used in the regulation of glucose, insulin, and the neurotransmitter dopamine so a deficiency can manifest in the form of intense sugar cravings, especially for chocolate. Zinc is needed for proper insulin and glucose utilisation, a deficiency can also lead to sugar cravings. Magnesium helps your body regulate its zinc levels, while zinc enables it to absorb magnesium more efficiently, hence why you will often see them available in one tablet.
In TICM, magnesium is linked to the proper functioning of the Liver and Gallbladder systems. Our Liver regulates our emotions and the flow of our energy (Qi) and Blood. If these functioning’s are off, they can manifest in sugar cravings for an energy boost, or to pacify anxiety, irritability, fatigue and painful menstrual cycles in women.
The Spleen and Stomach love sweet foods, and when they are experiencing dysfunction, one way they can communicate that is through a sugar craving. Now, by sweet, I mean foods that are sweet in their essence such as sweet potatoes, carrots, honey, pears, pumpkin. They are craving sweet to combat fatigue and stress. In the Stomach, magnesium helps neutralise Stomach acid and moves stools through the intestine.
Around 70% of people are not receiving adequate amounts of magnesium. The recommended daily is about 310-320mg for women and 400-420mg for men, but in TICM we like a bit more than these figure. Make sure to speak to your doctor to see what's right for you.
As a whole, we do not consume enough vegetables, especially dark leafy greens that are great providers of it. Other reliable sources are seaweed, nuts, seeds, beans, avocados and whole grains. On top of that, our modern farming methods and agriculture practices have really depleted the quality of our soil, draining it of essential nutrients like magnesium.
I talk so much about magnesium because of all the symptoms and problems its deficiency causes. Make sure you are eating real whole foods that supply magnesium and use supplements and you will notice reduced cravings and overall better health.