GUEST POST, BY HENIA KAHAN
How would you like to reduce your family’s risk of heart disease and heart attack ch’v? Sounds good?
Having trouble sleeping?
Know anyone suffering from depression and anxiety?
Let me tell you about magnesium.
Magnesium is an extremely important mineral that unfortunately doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
We all know about the importance of calcium. “Drink your milk for strong teeth and bones,”we are told.
Much has been written about the importance of B vitamins, particularly folic acid, and we’re learning about the importance of vitamin D — the sunshine vitamin.
But how much do you know about magnesium? Chances are not much, because its importance has not been publicized nearly as much as it should be.
How Important Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 enzyme systems. It plays a major role in heart-health, regulating heartbeat and lowering blood pressure. It is good for your bones, and helps with calcium and vitamin D absorption. It helps you sleep. It can help with migraine headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, and more.
It also has emotional health benefits as it helps to raise serotonin and GABA levels in the brain, important neurotransmitters that help keep us calm and happy.
Do an Internet search on magnesium and you’ll be astounded at the almost endless list of its benefits.
Experts are saying that most of us are not getting enough of this mineral.
Take a look at this list of magnesium deficiency symptoms and see how many of these you recognize in yourself or someone you know.
- Muscle soreness
- Muscle spasms
- Low energy
- Sensitivity to noise
- Heart palpitations/irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
How can you get enough magnesium?
Of course eating more magnesium rich foods helps. Magnesium is found in dark leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains.
Here is a list of some magnesium rich foods:
- Wheat germ
- Wheat bran
- Oatmeal (Not instant).
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Yogurt or kefir
- Black beans
- Dark chocolate
It’s great if you can get an adequate amount of magnesium just by eating enough of the right foods. But that can be hard to keep up with. For one thing, no one food provides all the magnesium that you need. (Unless maybe you eat a lot of that one food? Like to the point that you get sick and tired of it?) You will have to eat a variety of different foods and keep up with it every day. Not easy!
So taking a magnesium supplement is a good idea.
Magnesium Supplements Are Not All The Same
There are quite a number of different forms of magnesium. Which one should you choose? One thing to consider is that magnesium has a side effect — namely a laxative effect. Some might welcome this if they have issues with constipation, and some may find this undesirable.
Some forms of magnesium have more of this effect than others, and this can be an important consideration when deciding which magnesium to use. Also different forms of magnesium have different advantages, which you might want to consider depending which health issues you are trying to address.
Here is an overview of some forms of magnesium:
Avoid Magnesium Oxide unless you are looking for a laxative. It has a strong laxative effect, and has poor bioavailability, meaning not much of it gets into your cells where it’s needed.
Magnesium citrate can also has a laxative effect though not as much as magnesium oxide. It has good bioavailability. In general it’s a good form of magnesium and is worth a try.
Magnesium Glycinate. Also called Magnesium Bisglycinate
Glycine is an amino acid that is known to have a calming effect. Magnesium is also known to have a calming effect, so this form of magnesium is good for anxiety.
The glycine component helps remove mercury from the body.
It is less likely to have a laxative effect.
This type of magnesium is especially beneficial to the heart. It helps blood flow, stabilizes blood pressure and helps prevent heart disease.
It prevents migraine headaches, and reduces its pain.
It is good for anxiety.
It is also less likely to have a laxative effect.
How Much Magnesium Should You Take?
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH):
Adult Males 400 to 420 mg.
Adult Females 310 to 320 mg
The NIH gives a detailed chart on their website also showing what is the right magnesium dosage for various aged children, and pregnant and nursing women.
Important Note: It is possible to overdose on magnesium and overdosing on magnesium can be very dangerous.
A Different Way To Take Magnesium
An alternative way to take magnesium is to take it transdermally, meaning letting it absorb through your skin. This bypasses the digestive system making digestive upset highly unlikely, and the magnesium gets into your cells quicker this way.
There are two ways of doing taking magnesium transdermally — magnesium sulfate or magnesium chloride.
This is the kind of magnesium that Epsom Salt is made of. People take Epsom Salt baths to relieve muscle aches, help with insomnia and a host of other conditions. It is not clear however how much magnesium gets absorbed this way. According to WebMD it has not been proven that magnesium gets absorbed into your body by taking Epsom Salt baths.
Magnesium Chloride (Magnesium Oil)
Magnesium Chloride is also known as Magnesium Chloride Oil, or just Magnesium Oil. It is not actually an oil, but it is called an oil because it has an oily feel. You can buy ready made topical Magnesium Chloride in sprays, gels, or lotions. Or you can make your own by mixing Magnesium Chloride flakes with boiling water, then putting it in a spray bottle. You can easily find recipes online. It is best to use distilled water for this, to increase the shelf life.
Some people find that Magnesium Chloride makes their skin feel uncomfortably dry, and it may even sting at first. Some commercially made topical Magnesium Chloride have other ingredients, like oil to make it pleasant on the skin.
According to Dr Norman Shealy MD, you can’t overdose on magnesium if you take it transdermally as the skin will absorb only what it needs, and because you are bypassing the digestive system, more of it is bioavailable.
What kind of magnesium do I use? For now I am using Magnesium Chloride. I bought a bottle of magnesium spray at our local health food store, and at the advice of one of the workers there, I made a concoction by mixing it with coconut oil. I keep the mixture in a container. I rub it on my skin at night and I do find that it makes me feel relaxed. But I don’t know how much magnesium I’m getting because the dosage isn’t listed on the bottle, something I didn’t think to make sure about. I am thinking about getting a magnesium chloride product that lists the dosage (per teaspoon of cream, gel, or whatever) and or taking magnesium taurate.
So you knew about calcium, B vitamins and Vitamin D. And now you know about magnesium.
- Do you have a story to tell? Henia Kahan provides ghostwriting and editing services. www.heniawriting.com