There’s so much to say about magnesium. Where do I begin? It’s a co-enzyme that is involved in over 300 reactions that take place in the body. When I say co-enzyme, I mean that without this rich mineral, the reaction wouldn’t happen. Magnesium supports so many processes. Some of these include regulating our heart rate as well as assisting with the production of glutathione. We’ll talk about this magnificent master antioxidant later, but for now just know that it is one of the most important molecules you need for health and disease prevention. Back to magnesium! Magnesium works with calcium and vitamin D and is responsible for bone formation. In addition, it assists in regulating blood sugar. It also relaxes the blood vessels and keeps our blood pressure stable. It works with the nervous system and is considered the “relaxing” mineral that supports our sleep and our ability to handle stress. The next time you crave chocolate, stop and think….could I be magnesium deficient? Chocolate is rich in magnesium and this could be a sign. Maybe that’s why women crave chocolate during certain times of the month. Their magnesium levels drop due to hormones and hence, they crave chocolate.
You may think… ”I eat healthy and eat foods rich in magnesium.” Unfortunately, that may not be the case. I personally eat a very healthy diet consisting of dark leafy greens that are raw or sautéed. I also eat nuts and seeds in addition to taking a multi-vitamin. Somehow my magnesium levels were low on a traditional/allopathic medicine lab range. In the functional world, I was too low. How did this happen?
Let’s talk food. Unfortunately, the modern food supply isn’t often rich in the minerals. Our foods are overly processed and depleted. For instance, grains are refined and stripped which lowers magnesium. This is the same for any packaged or processed food. Organic is the best choice with foods in their whole form (how they grew in nature). Even with these conditions, we should check our magnesium levels. Things to consider is if food is shipped across the United States, it loses its nutrients as time passes. Consider purchasing local, in-season produce. Make sure the farm is certified organic meaning that they didn’t use any harmful chemicals in the soil or on the plants. Where can you find magnesium-rich foods? Dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and even legumes. You should also know that if you drink caffeinated beverage, your magnesium levels may be lower.
How do you know you might have a deficiency? Some possible signs are eye twitches. I started having these in the late winter and early spring. My body was trying to tell me something. Other signs can be muscle cramping, restless legs, insomnia, constipation, anxiety and even bad menstrual cramps. You may have one or a few symptoms. It depends on the person. Based on your results, your health care provider may recommend supplementation.
There are different forms of magnesium and you should know the differences. I’m going to talk about three forms and these are the most highly absorbable. Magnesium citrate is the most commonly used form and is rapidly absorbed in the digestive tract. One important thing to mention is that you should start out slowly with this form as it does cause a laxative effect if you take too much. This is good news if you have issues in that department. Another is magnesium glycinate. Glycine is transported through the intestinal wall and doesn’t have the laxative effect. These are both taken orally. In this form, less than 50% is absorbed. There is also topical magnesium. By bypassing the digestive system, it moves directly into the bloodstream and is delivered to the cells. If you’re low, this is my preferred choice and supplement orally as well. For the topical form, it’s helpful to put on feet at night and sleep with socks on. If you put topical magnesium on your legs or arms, be careful. If you’re deficient, you may feel prickling or itching. I recommend that you put on your lower legs first after you’ve used it on your feet for a few nights. Then, you can use more after you work your way into it. I also like to mix this with a good quality, organic lotion so you don’t have the “sticky” feel. Learn more about magnesium facts here.
One last thing. If you’re prone to migraines, try adding magnesium into your world. I know several people who started utilizing this magnificent mineral and no longer use their migraine medicine. Of course, always work with your health care provider before coming off any medication. If you have a standard headache, try some magnesium oil. The same goes for any muscle soreness. If you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, mix a little magnesium oil with lavender essential oil and rub on your shoulders and back of the neck. It works for me every time.
Just a few considerations. Please check with your provider before taking magnesium if you have kidney disease. Magnesium supplementation can cause excessive accumulation of magnesium in the blood and this impact those who have kidney disease. If you have hypertension and are on medication, magnesium may assist in reducing your blood pressure even more. Work with your provider since it may impact your medication dosage. The same goes for any medications that deal with heart rhythm or rate. Magnesium has a calming effect which is a good thing in today’s world of burning the candle at both ends.
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