It is estimated that a whopping 70-80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium and we need to take notice. It is not as easy to get magnesium as we would think and I’m going to explain to you exactly why you need it and how to get it.
Magnesium is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body but all of these reactions can be broken down into 5 categories.
- Produce and transport energy-this
- Synthesis of Protein
- A cofactor in assisting enzymes in chemical reactions (pretty much everywhere in the body and especially inside of our cells)
- nerve signal transmissions
- muscle relaxation
As you can see, it is an essential mineral.
What are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency?
Unfortunately, a magnesium deficiency looks like a lot of other health problems. This makes it difficult for practitioners to identify esp since only 1% of magnesium is in the blood and is extremely regulated to stay that way by the body. Despite this, our bodies do communicate with us and we should listen. Some symptoms of deficiency include:
- Migraine Headaches
- Restless Legs and Muscle Spasms
- Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
- Metabolic syndrome
- Unregulated/poorly managed blood sugar
- Lower back pain
- Calcium deposits
- ADD & ADHD
- High Blood Pressure
- And More
What causes a deficiency to occur?
Unfortunately it is difficult to get a sufficient amount of magnesium through diet and daily multivitamins. In addition, there are certain lifestyle factors that will deplete magnesium quickly in the body. These include:
- A diet high in refined sugar and processed foods and low in fresh fruits and vegetables
- Drinking 7 or more alcoholic drinks per week
- Digestive disorders including Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, constipation and/or diarrhea
- 3 or more cups of coffee per day
- drinking soda daily/regularly
- Certain prescription drugs will deplete magnesium
- Overtraining/extreme athlete
Along with these, modern farming practices where fertilizers are used (both conventional and some organic farms use them) also alter the plants ability to take in and store magnesium. This makes it even more difficult for us to get adequate amounts without supplementation.
What benefits can we experience when our magnesium intake is ideal?
- Reduced PMS symptoms (my favorite)
- Better quality sleep
- Feeling rested upon waking
- More energy during the day
- Reduction in muscle cramps and spasms
- Improved bio-availability and absorption of calcium
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Reduction in ADD/ADHD symptoms in children and adults alike
- Improved detox functions in the body
- and more.
The recommended dose for men, women and children for daily magnesium maintenance is 3-4 mg per 1 lb. of bodyweight. So that would mean a person weighing 125 lbs. would need 375 mg- 500 mg daily.
So how can we get magnesium and what supplements are best?
Most importantly we need to clean up our diet. Reduce refined sugars and processed foods, limit consumption of alcohol, coffee, and soda, and increase the amounts of whole, minimally processed foods you eat daily.
Foods that are rich sources of magnesium include:
- fatty, wild caught fish,
- dark leafy greens
- raw cacao
- blackstrap molasses
- nuts and seeds
- and legumes
Along with working on including some or all of these foods into your diet regularly, supplementation will ensure you are getting what you need. You can take magnesium in a supplement form or apply topically through a lotion or spray.
Through my research I recommend applying magnesium topically. I have a couple reasons I feel this way. First is that the absorption rate of applying magnesium topically is about 90% versus when taken internally where the absorption rate averages between 20-30%. This varies depending on the type of magnesium you take and the health of your gut. The second reason is that the usual type of magnesium you get from your local drug store has a laxative effect. While some people might benefit from this side effect, most find this unpleasant. Getting magnesium topically gives you more bang for your buck. I feel so strongly about this that I give every client whom I work with a free 2 ounce bottle of magnesium lotion to help get them started.
My personal experience with magnesium lotion.
What prompted my journey to discovering magnesium supplementation was my son went through a phase where he just wasn’t sleeping. He struggled falling asleep, he’d wake up and play in the middle of the night, and was waking up tired. I started researching and repeatedly saw that magnesium deficiency could be a culprit. Since most Americans are deficient, I decided to buy Ancient Minerals Magnesium Lotion and used it on all 3 of us every night for a month. The very first night all of us slept better. My son fell asleep and stayed asleep all night. I felt like it might have been a fluke so I kept it up. It seriously worked. Whenever I’d forget to use it, he woke up tired. I found that interesting.
In addition to help my son sleep better I found a whole other benefit for me. By the time the month was up, it was time for my monthly visit from “Aunt Flo.” Now a little back story. After both my kids, I experience horrible PMS and it drove me crazy. I’d never really experienced that in my younger years. Well after a month of magnesium lotion nightly I hardly had any warning symptoms! No chocolate cravings, less moodiness, and then very little cramping and a lighter flow! Normally I would have been eating non-stop, having insane cravings for chocolate, then cramping for the first 2-3 days with an incredibly heavy flow. Such a difference and it made me a full on believer.
Great News! You can’t OD on magnesium!
The great thing about magnesium is that if you do supplement too much, it doesn’t build up in your system. It’ll get excreted out! (And because of this, I don’t recommend the “more is better” approach. You’ll be wasting your money.)
I highly recommend taking a 30 Day- Magnesium Challenge and using a magnesium lotion or supplement of choice for 30 days and see how you feel. For me, it was life changing.
For more information check out The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (affiliate link)
Do you regularly use or have used a magnesium supplement in the past? If so, please let me know in the comment box below your experience.