The use of magnesium in maintaining optimal health is an interesting topic to explore. Because magnesium is such an important mineral for the human body as it participates in over 600 enzymatic reactions, yet despite its importance, huge numbers of people have low magnesium levels.
Why Is The Use Of Magnesium So Essential?
Magnesium is the electrolyte gatekeeper of our cells. It lets potassium and calcium in to conduct electrical currents that are responsible for our heartbeat, muscle contraction and relaxation, regulating blood pressure, nerve functionality and so much more.
The human body needs magnesium to convert Vitamin D to its active form. Without magnesium, Vitamin D can not do its job properly, and low levels of Vitamin D increase our risk for infection, hormonal imbalances, and chronic inflammation.
Having adequate levels of both magnesium & Vitamin D are quintessential to our bone health as well … And we all know how important bone strength is as we age!! When bone density reduces, it increases the risk of falls and injury.
Why Are We So Deficient In The Use Of Magnesium?
It was a lot easier for our ancestors to get enough magnesium absorption directly from food than it is for us today. The sediment of the mineral-rich lakes, streams, and rivers they bathed in and drank from all had huge quantities of magnesium in them … Not to mention all the magnesium rich food they grew & ate.
Unfortunately, though today, our agricultural practices have depleted the soil of many of the essential minerals our bodies need (like magnesium). Meaning, it’s now so much harder for us to get our required daily nutrients directly from food!! In order to do so, we’d have to eat double, maybe triple the amount our ancestors did just to get the same benefits.
Magnesium ions are at the centre of chlorophyll molecules, which is why green leafy vegetables, avocados, nuts (especially almonds), and seeds are great sources. However, even if we eat the right foods, only a small percentage of magnesium absorption actually occurs. Despite its low absorption rate, research has shown that a diet high in magnesium rich food can help prevent many chronic diseases.
Because magnesium is responsible for so many high-performing functions in the body – a deficiency means that at least 600 different processes can be negatively affected.
Are You Magnesium Deficient?
Proper testing for magnesium deficiency can be a little complicated … But it is widely considered to be the most deficient mineral in all humans!! The symptoms of magnesium deficiency can show up literally anywhere – Loss of appetite, fatigue, migraine headaches, and nausea are a few well-known symptoms.
Drinking alcohol frequently, eating a standard “Western Diet”, or taking certain medications like diuretics, and laxatives all reduce magnesium levels!! If you have a gastrointestinal condition (like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis), you’re also at a much higher risk of your magnesium level being lower than it should.
Any of the following could mean your body is trying to tell you that your body has low magnesium levels …
- Stress and Headaches – Muscle tension is often the cause of many headaches and when your magnesium levels are low in your muscles they will naturally tighten in areas of weakness and fatigue. For headaches, it’s mostly the back and sides of the neck and from the neck to the shoulders.
- Muscle Cramps – Muscle spasms especially in bed at night can be incredibly painful!! Magnesium helps to relax muscles, so when you’re running low on this mineral, you’re likely to find your muscles contracting involuntarily, causing you painful spasms!!
- Anxiety – Feeling anxious? A low magnesium level can have your central nervous system sending you early warning signs by increased anxiety. Increasing magnesium intake may help keep your adrenal hormones under control when anxiety kicks in. It will also assist in improving that feeling of always being tired!!
- High Blood Pressure – Have you been eating well and exercising regularly yet still getting high blood pressure? It could be a lack of magnesium and electrolytes. Magnesium helps to dilate and relax your blood vessels so when you’re low on this critical mineral, your blood vessels tend to constrict more resulting in higher blood pressure.
- Constipation – If your digestive system isn’t quite working as well as usual, it may be because of magnesium. Your intestines tend to contract more when you’re magnesium level is low making it harder for waste to pass through. Ensuring you have enough magnesium in your body is important for your bowels for two key reasons. Firstly it relaxes them, and two, it pulls water into your bowels creating an osmotic effect that makes passing waste easier.
- Sleep Troubles – Did you know magnesium levels drop in your body at night? That means if you’re low in magnesium you may have trouble sleeping!! So many of us have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep anyway, having a magnesium deficiency may be a contributing factor.
How To Increase Your Use Of Magnesium
In addition to eating magnesium rich foods, most people will need to add some form of magnesium supplementation in order to take in enough magnesium. (Here’s an article by the Cleveland Clinic that lists the top magnesium rich foods and how much magnesium they contain per serving)
Most doctors regard magnesium supplementation as being safe yet there are quite a few varieties of magnesium supplements available …
- Magnesium citrate – Magnesium citrate is a form of magnesium that’s bound with citric acid. This acid is found naturally in citrus fruits and gives them their tart, sour flavour, and is easily absorbed by the body.
- Magnesium oxide – Magnesium oxide is a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen. It’s more frequently used for short-term relief of uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as heartburn, indigestion, and constipation.
- Magnesium chloride – Magnesium chloride is a magnesium salt that includes chlorine and is mostly taken in capsule or tablet form but is also sometimes used in topical products like lotions and ointments.
- Magnesium lactate – Magnesium lactate is the salt formed when magnesium binds together with lactic acid. This acid is not only produced by your muscle and blood cells but also manufactured for use as a preservative and flavouring agent. Magnesium lactate is used as a food additive to regulate acidity and fortify foods & beverages.
- Magnesium malate – Magnesium malate includes malic acid, which occurs naturally in foods like fruit and wine. This acid has a sour taste and is often used as a food additive to enhance flavour or add acidity.
- Magnesium taurate – Magnesium taurate contains the amino acid and taurine can help regulate blood sugar levels.
- Magnesium L-threonate – Magnesium L-threonate is the salt formed from mixing magnesium and threonic acid, a water-soluble substance derived from the metabolic breakdown of vitamin C which has been shown to help manage certain brain disorders, such as depression and age-related memory loss.
- Magnesium sulfate – Magnesium sulfate is formed by combining magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It’s commonly referred to as Epsom Salt!! Magnesium sulfate is frequently dissolved in bath water to soothe sore, achy muscles and relieve stress. It’s also sometimes included in skincare products, such as lotion or body oil.
- Magnesium glycinate – Magnesium glycinate is formed from elemental magnesium and the amino acid glycine. The body employs this amino acid in protein construction and occurs naturally in many protein-rich foods, such as fish, meat, dairy, and legumes. Magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed and may have calming properties to help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia.
- Magnesium orotate – Magnesium orotate includes orotic acid, a natural substance involved in your body’s construction of genetic material, including DNA. Magnesium orotate may bolster heart health by improving energy production in your heart and blood vessel tissue.
Confusing isn’t it? … That is why it’s important to consult a medical professional who understands magnesium deficiency!!
So What’s The Answer?
Magnesium can be purchased as flakes (salts), as an oil, in supplement form as a pill, powder, or capsule) … But which is best?
Did you know whilst magnesium powder is better absorbed than capsules, 90% of magnesium is lost in the gut. Also, magnesium can upset the digestive system when taken orally. And that is why I use Magnesium Oil as my go-to magnesium supplementation tool. Magnesium oil can be rubbed or sprayed on the skin. This form of magnesium maintains all of its bio nutritional value, is absorbed 30 times quicker via the skin, and is better utilised by the body.
Magnesium oil is Mother Nature’s secret weapon to enrich health & wellness and can give instant relief from muscle pain while enhancing immunity, gut health, sleep, energy, and easing stress. Additionally, I will add:-
- Epsom salts to my bath, and
- Extra Avocado / Leafy greens / Beans and lentils / Nuts and seeds / Quinoa and other unrefined grains / Dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa) / Seaweed / Salmon / Pumpkin seeds / Raisons to my normal diet.
How Can The Use Of Magnesium Oil Improve Health?
Magnesium oil is usually made from a mixture of magnesium chloride flakes & water and is a very easy-to-absorb form of magnesium. Because the skin is the largest organ of the body, the levels of magnesium absorbed increase when it is applied topically to the skin!!
Whilst there are many ways to use magnesium oil, here are just a few of the ways I use it …
- Stress and Headaches – Rub oil at the base of the skull and then sides of the neck followed by across the top of the shoulder when the headache begins and then when necessary.
- Muscle Cramps – Rub the oil into the affected area whenever required. If you have restless legs at night, rub some oil on 10 minutes before bed.
- Anxiety – Rub oil twice daily underarms, behind knees, and at wrist pulse points.
- Insomnia – Rub magnesium oil over the tops and soles of your feet 10 minutes before bed.
Which Magnesium Oil Do I Use
For many years now I have been using DownUnder’s magnesium products. They have a wide range including a magnesium oil spray, magnesium stick, magnesium bath salts, and magnesium oil.
At Downunder Magnesium, they source their Magnesium products from a unique, Natural Salt Lake deep in the deserts of Western Australia that is free from modern pollutants. And, because the quality is so high (they say, 1 spray of their Magnesium Oil is the equivalent to taking 6 Magnesium tablets!!), they might be worthwhile considering if you would like to add some extra magnesium to your body.