the 101: magnesium + your health

May 30, 2018

 

I can't fall asleep. My mind is racing. My body's having a difficult time relaxing. 

...Sound familiar? 

 

We all have those nights when we can't really fall asleep, but with stress becoming a mainstay in our culture these days, it can be hard to let go of whatever went on during the daytime and turn our brains on low to we can catch some zzz's.

 

Maybe not for everyone, but for a lot of people taking magnesium may be a good way to help find some calm in your nightly routine. The issue is, most folks don't actually get enough of this nutrient - in fact, it's one of the top nutrients that is lacking in our diet today. But why, might you ask, does it matter if we're not getting enough magnesium? Well, magnesium, the eighth most abundant mineral on Earth, helps with many functions that allow us to just chill out. This includes calming the energetic activity in your muscles (including a racing heart and an active brain!), regulating blood pressure, promoting restful sleep, and even helping digestive functions to move along smoothly. 

 

The excerpt below from this article breaks it down perfectly: 

 

Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well-functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency. Soft tissue containing the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body include the brain and the heart—two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency.

 

When we're stressed, our bodies become tense - muscles rigid, our digestion slows, the heart may be prone to racing or palpitations, and blood pressure can go up. Though magnesium isn't the end-all-be-all, it can certainly help to normalize the body to allow for more calm, and promotion of relaxation - not only the key for a solid night's sleep, but also to a more pleasant demeanor.

 

Most of us, as stated above, are low in magnesium because of denatured soils where our produce is grown, mineral loss after harvest, and food processing. Fluoride in drinking water may also bind to the magnesium and deplete it, while phosphates (like in sparkling water or soda), phytates (in whole grains) and oxalates (such as in spinach + other oxalate-rich foods) can diminish magnesium, as well. Therefore, for most it might be best to add in a supplemental magnesium to increase the amount our body is able to use daily. 
 

 

I personally take magnesium daily before bedtime because I notice a huge difference in how quickly I fall asleep or how fast my brain + heart stop racing if I'm having a particularly anxious day. A big bonus is also that magnesium helps to keep things moving more regular, if you know what I mean, as it may act as a natural laxative. This is actually a fantastic way to track your supplemental intake - if you're taking too much magnesium, you're likely to have loose stools, while not enough can manifest itself through a constipated belly. 

 

So which is the best way to take magnesium? I always say that food comes first, then supplement where you're lacking. However, with a lot of factors causing low magnesium, and the fact that it's difficult to get enough of the mineral with diet alone if your levels are very low to begin with, it doesn't hurt to supplement your intake.

 

One option is to take your mag through a powdered drink or capsule. I prefer Natural Vitality's Calm drink mix because it tastes really good and it works well for me. You can find it here on Amazon, or directly through their site. (Not an ad, but I may receive a small referral fee if you purchase via Amazon. So, thank you!) All you'll need to do is mix the suggested amount with water and sip away! It can actually be a nice addition to smoothies too! 

 

If you are deficient or are low in vitamin D, have poor gut bacteria or have other conditions, like autoimmune disorders, it may be difficult for the magnesium to be absorbed well, so consider making a topical magnesium oil spray using just magnesium salt and water. Wellness Mama makes this one and it's just as simple as the two ingredients it requires. 

 

Need a little more guidance finding your calm in your day-to-day? Let's chat! I'm all ears for you, babe. 

 

P.S. Though I'm really into nutrition and taking care of the human body, I'm not a doctor. Be sure to speak with your primary doc before taking any supplements or making changes to your healthcare routine.  

 

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