What is magnesium and how can it help me?
Many don’t realize how important magnesium is for one’s health. Few are eating foods rich in this mineral and fewer are taking supplements. Magnesium is an essential mineral for the human body. The role it plays is so critical that “after air, water, and food,” it is paramount in human health. Magnesium is needed for cell metabolism, synthesizing proteins, and for the utilization of fats and carbohydrates, to name a few. Magnesium is critical in blood pressure and blood glucose levels, as well as assimilation of vitamin D, calcium, potassium, zinc and copper. Our major organs and muscles all rely on magnesium for optimal health.
(Image credit: http://www.goodhealth.co.nz)
The lack of magnesium can be attributed to modern diet and lifestyle, which is replete with convenience and processed foods that lack the proper nutrient density. “Despite the widespread availability of magnesium in the diet, the World Health Organization reported that less than 60 percent of adults in the United States are meeting the adequate intake values for magnesium.”
Another common perpetrator attributed to the lack of magnesium is stress. I will be covering this relationship between stress, emotional health, and magnesium in a future article as well.
“Investigations have demonstrated a relationship between the manifestations of stress reactions (anxiety, autonomic dysfunction, and maladjustment) and magnesium deficiency (MD). Thus, mental and physical stresses cause an increase in magnesium elimination from the body.”
Most suffer from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it or understanding the symptoms of their bodies being low in magnesium. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can cause smooth muscle contraction to be impaired. This can present itself as muscle cramps, menstrual cramps, or even difficulty swallowing. Other signs include effects on the central nervous system like insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity, and panic attacks. In fact, magnesium deficiency may actually be the culprit for those individuals who take prescription drugs for nervousness and irritability. Even a slight deficiency can cause mood changes in an individual or a feeling of “being in a fog.”
It is evident magnesium has an impact on nearly every aspect of the body. “…With regard to skeletal muscle, one may experience twitches, cramps, muscle tension, muscle soreness, including back aches, neck pain, tension headaches and jaw joint (or TMJ) dysfunction. Also, one may experience chest tightness or a peculiar sensation that he can’t take a deep breath. Sometimes a person may sigh a lot.” (Dr. Sidney Baker)
If you have received bodywork from me, you have undoubtedly heard me mention magnesium, either using topical magnesium products during your session, or I suggested supplementation post session. Several of my clients have noticed positive changes in their health since the implementation of magnesium, either topical, oral, or both.
Some clients spray their legs before a run or apply it to areas of old injury or scar tissue. Others apply it to their neck and shoulders the morning before heading to the office. I have clients who use it on their abdomen for PMS symptoms and those that just apply it to their feet at night for restful sleep.
Here are some of the signs you may not be getting enough magnesium:
Physical and mental fatigue
Tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck
Persistent under-eye twitch
PMS and hormonal imbalances
Inability to sleep
Muscle tension, spasm and cramps
Pre-menstrual fluid retention
The above list is lengthy and overwhelming! Don’t be alarmed because the good news is that you can do something about it. Aside from receiving massage and bodywork that includes topical or transdermal magnesium, taking Epsom salt baths, and a good quality magnesium supplement, what else can you do to boost your magnesium levels? You can eat whole planted based foods that are rich in magnesium. Some include leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, legumes, tofu, blackstrap molasses (unsulfured), dark chocolate (dairy free), and wheat bran.
In good health,
Natalie Frederick, LMT
Axe, J. (2018, June 1). Top 10 Magnesium-Rich Foods. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/magnesium-deficient-top-10-magnesium-rich-foods-must-eating/
Galland, L., MD, FACN. (n.d.). Magnesium: The Stress Reliever: From an ongoing series by. Retrieved from http://www.healthy.net/scr/column.aspx?ColumnId=5&Id=74
Hoyle, M. G. (2017, October 3). Dosage of Magnesium Chloride. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/497285-dosage-of-magnesium-chloride/
Magnesium Articles, Dosages, Benefits, Uses and Warnings. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://drsircus.com/magnesium/
Magnesium deficiency can affect virtually every organ system of the body. Magnesium Oil, Salts & Supplements. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.magnesiumoil.org.uk/magnesium-deficiency-can-affect-virtually-every-organ-system-of-the-body/
Tarasov, E. A., Blinov, D. V., Zimovina, U. V., & Sandakova, E. A. (2015). Magnesium deficiency and stress: Issues of their relationship, diagnostic tests, and approaches to therapy. Terapevticheskii Arkhiv, 87(9), 114. doi:10.17116/terarkh2015879114-122