Why Care About Magnesium?
Magnesium is essential for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymes in your body including those that produce, transport, store and utilize energy.
According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, “Living with suboptimal levels of magnesium is like trying to operate a machine with the power turned off.”
When your body does not have enough Magnesium then systemic inflammation occurs. This can result in fatigue, headaches/migraines, aches and pains.
This vital mineral plays a key role in the signals that travel through the nerves in your body, which in short supply relays muscle pain and cramping.
This process is huge for those of us with endometriosis, who suffer with menstrual cramps (and more!)
Speaking of the more….
Magnesium helps keep adrenal stress hormones under control too. This is a big deal, as stress hormones throw everything off whack!
Magnesium is involved in the release and binding of adequate amounts of Serotonin in your brain. So a shortage in Magnesium can result in depression.
Can’t sleep? Magnesium is a key component in regulating Melotonin – a hormone that is essential for a normal sleeping/waking cycle.
Another side effect of Magnesium deficiency is constipation. This is because Magnesium helps to keep the bowels regular by maintaining bowel muscle function.
What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?
I want to bring focus on the subject of Magnesium deficiency, as it seems this factor is becoming more and more apparent in the average diet.
This is due to the fact that magnesium is in much shorter supply in today’s food supply as a result of farming practices that have stripped the soil of minerals along with the overuse of chemical fertilizers.
Furthermore, food processing depletes natural sources of magnesium and added chemical agents like aspartame, MSG, alcohol and birth control bills deplete the body even further of this important mineral.
Insufficient stomach acid also impedes magnesium absorption. As do Antiacids, which only deplete stomach acid further.
Foods With Magnesium
The following foods are a good source of Magnesium. As mentioned, chemical fertilizers and pesticides deplete magnesium, so its always best to buy organic.
Foods rich with Magnesium:
- Leafy Greens
- Nuts (Almonds, Peanuts, Cashews)
- Whole Grains
- Seeds (Pumpkin, Sesame, Sunflower)
Supplementing With Magnesium
As mentioned, even when we eat all the right foods we still may not be getting the Magnesium we need, due to nutrient depleted soil. So it doesn’t hurt to supplement.
Dr. Christiane Northrup recommends supplementing with 300-500 mg of Magnesium depending on the quality of your diet.
You know you’ve reached your limit if you experience loose stools.
If you are experiencing a lot of cramping and pain with menstruation, then Dr. Northrup recommends taking as much as 100 mg every couple of hours 3-4 times a day. This continual intake helps to smooth muscle tissue.
Another way to supplement with Magnesium is with Epsom Salt baths. Epsom Salt contains Magnesium Sulfate.
Epsom Salt baths help absorb Magnesium into your skin, which can be more beneficially than administering it orally, where it has a harder time being absorbed.
Another way to get it through your skin is with Magnesium oil and/or spray. Simply apply this directly to the area with pain. While I haven’t tried this personally, I know some women who’ve found success with this method.
The Calcium + Magnesium Connection
It is important to note that Magnesium works in conjunction with its counter mineral – Calcium. The absorption of these two minerals in the intestines is dependent on the other.
Magnesium controls the entry of Calcium into each and every cell. This process happens every time a nerve cell fires.
Without enough Magnesium, too much Calcium gets inside the cell resulting in muscle cramping, blood vessel constriction, migraines and anxiety.
Magnesium also keeps calcium dissolved in the blood so it won’t produce kidney stones. Too much Calcium, without enough Magnesium, actually causes kidney stones.
According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, a good Magnesium to Calcium ratio is 1:1, but more preferably it should be 1:2.
On the Positive Side?
As I was typing up this post, I had a throbbing pain in the base of my head. As I re-visited the all encompassing mineral: Magnesium…. I stopped typing and went and took some! LOL.
And you know it helped 🙂
I take a combo supplement of Magnesium, Calcium and Vitamin D (which also plays a role in this whole process). I’ve found that this helps when I have cramps too.
Epsom Salt baths have been my saving grace lately, as they provide relief in those out of control kind of moments when the pain level is really high….
What about you? Do you supplement with Magnesium, or make a point to get it through your diet? Have you noticed a positive impact when you supplement and/or absorb it through your skin?
I’d love to hear from you….