Are you getting enough magnesium?
Magnesium is a super mineral that we need enough of in our body for it to work at peak performance. Are you getting enough magnesium?
Not that long ago, an elderly family member called me, she was on the verge of tears because of terrible leg cramps, they were worst in the evenings and woke her several times during the night. Her sleep for the last week was so disturbed, she was absolutely exhausted. She asked me if I knew of anything that might help her.
I remembered that had given her some Magnesium bath flakes recently as a gift and asked her if she had tried them – she replied that she hadn’t used them yet. So I asked her to go run a nice warm bath and pour in the whole bag of flakes, then lie back, relax and have a good long soak. I called her the next morning and wasn’t at all surprised when she told me it was a “miracle”!
She hadn’t had any leg cramps during the night and had slept soundly for the first time in a week. She was not the first person to appreciate the rapid effects of magnesium supplementation. Although that wasn’t her final prescription, it was a good and immediate start!
Did you know that over 300 enzymes in our body require Magnesium to function? It is an essential mineral for cardiovascular, blood vessel and muscular tone, glucose metabolism and insulin regulation. Research is showing that it also plays a role in the release of many hormones and nutrients in the body and protects cells from heavy metals such as mercury and lead. It’s also great for alkalising and detoxifying the body.
Signs and symptoms which may indicate you are deficient:
- High blood pressure, heart palpitations, irregular or rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath
- Cold hands and feet
- Unstable blood sugar levels and cravings for sugar
- Anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, depression, mental confusion
- Kidney stones
- Muscle twitches, spasms and cramp, frequent sports injuries, low exercise tolerance
- Poor digestion and constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Migraines and headaches
- Chronic fatigue
Causes and conditions associated with deficiency:
- Gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac, Crohn’s, IBS due to poor absorption of magnesium
- Vomiting/diarrhoea due to disease or excess use of laxatives
- Use of diuretics (water or fluid tablets)
- A diet with too many carbohydrates especially white sugar, white flour
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Excess coffee
- Drinking too many soft drinks, either diet or high sugar
- Diabetes and poor blood glucose control
- Excessive perspiration
- High salt intake
- Physical stress
- Mental stress, anxiety and depression
- Aging – people over 70 often have low dietary intakes and poorer absorption
So how can we get enough Magnesium?
As always, getting our daily magnesium dose from the food we consume should be the best way to get magnesium. Foods that are good sources of magnesium include: almonds, barley, brewer’s yeast, cashews, cacao, cod, eggs, figs, kelp, dark leafy greens, legumes, molasses, mineral water, parsnips, seeds and whole grain cereals (the milling – causes a 90% loss of magnesium).
Unfortunately, due to reasons such as dietary deficiencies, poor absorption, excessive excretion, and higher requirements for magnesium, we often fall short. It is widely believed that up to 80% of the population have a magnesium deficiency. The current Australian RDA (recommended daily allowance) for an average adult is 350- 400mg a day – you need to eat lot of leafy greens to achieve that (you would need to eat 17 cups of raw spinach)!
The Benefits of Transdermal Magnesium
Many people supplement orally in tablet, capsule or powder form, but don’t realise that they can also absorb magnesium through the skin (transdermally), in a spray or soak in a bath or foot soak.
The most absorbable forms for this purpose are magnesium chloride and magnesium sulphate. You could just use Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate) as they are available from most chemists and supermarkets. They are also perfect for sensitive individuals that may have health issues that make them less able to tolerate or absorb it well orally. The beauty of using magnesium in a bath or as a soak is the added relaxation that a bath allows us to experience. 1 cup to a bath or ½ a cup in a basin as a foot soak for 20 mins should do the trick.
So, are you getting enough magnesium into your body? Book a consultation and we can explore more about it.
H, Oseicki (2009) The Nutrient Bible 9th ed. Bioconcepts Publishing QLD
Cabot, S (2007) Magnesium the miracle mineral, WHAS Pty Ltd., Aust.Murray, M., & Pizzorno, J., (2013) Textbook of Natural Medicine, 4th ed. Churchill Livingstone, MA USA