Magnesium is an underrated nutrient involved in over 600 enzymatic processes in the body including nerve transmission and muscle contraction.
A few other key processes Magnesium is involved in:
- glucose management (blood sugar regulation)
- hormone production (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, DHEA and human growth hormone- important anabolic hormones)
- energy production (ATP) and energy utilization (how well you burn energy from food)
- building and maintaining strong bones
- making serotonin (from the amino acid tryptophan, serotonin's precursor)
Some signs of low Magnesium levels are:
- muscle twitches and cramps,
- brain fog
- feeling particularly stressed-out (finding it extra hard to chill the f out).
And get this: Low magnesium exacerbates stress while stress kindly in turn depletes magnesium stores...so that's a fun vicious cycle.
Other Mg robbers are excess alcohol consumption, pregnancy, lactation, menstruation, eating processed foods, and taking antibiotics and other meds like high blood pressure drugs and diuretics.
What's a modern human to do?
(besides actively improve stress coping which you know is at the top of all my recommendations lists)
I suggest you start here:
1. Eat Magnesium-rich foods:
Leafy green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, rocket / arugula, parsley, coriander, collard greens, kale, beet greens, etc etc - basically all the ingredients in my green morning smoothie) Also sea vegetables such as kelp and dulce! And of course nuts, seeds, legumes, dairy products, and whole grains as well as some fortified cereals and other grain products (but now you're entering the processed foods aisle, so tread easy and read labels).
2. Consider a good quality Magnesium supplement:
Especially when the going get's rough OR to help you with specific issues. There are a few different types, here are 2:
- Magnesium Glycinate is well absorbed into your system and can promote overall muscle relaxation, meaning better muscle function, optimal nerve transmission and very importantly, a good night's sleep. I take 200mg-300mg Magnesium Glycinate every night before bed for deliciously deep sleep. PS: (for the menstruates out there) During PMS I double the dose (400mg) on the few days leading up to my period and can honestly say since I started doing that: No. Cramps. Ever. Again. (touch wood)
- Magnesium Citrate is not so well absorbed, meaning it stays mostly in the gut, where it promotes peristalsis and keeps things moving along (a.k.a reduces constipation).
3. Take Epsom salt baths
Epsom salts are essentially Magnesium Sulphate (MgSO4,) and soaking in a hot bath with a few cups of Epsom salts in it can theoretically alleviate sore muscles and promote overall relaxation. When I'm in Namibia or the farm, I love sweating out toxins and chilling my bod out in a super hot Epsom bath at least once a week for up to 25 mins (the sulfates can assist the body in flushing out toxins). For me It's a really powerful re-set both mentally and physically. I try have it be a time of sensory deprivation (apart form the unavoidable and necessary heat) so the lights go off but I'll almost always light a soy candle if I have one, and sometimes, if it helps me stay in longer, I'll listen to a good podcast, or occasionally a TED talk, with a big glass of ice-lemon-water (always stay hydrated during times of heat and sweat).
(if you live in Cape Town, obviously please don't take any baths, rather drink green smoothies and eat sea vegetables which you have plenty of ).
And lastly, try to manage the Magnesium-sucks - aim for less booze, fewer meds, not so much packaged foods, and bring down that home-made stress (Meditate daily, Its 2018, everyone's doing it)
Love and butter,
As always: The posts in my blog are meant for educational and informational purposes only, and not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. The content should not be constructed as professional medical advice. Always see your doctor or registered health practitioner before taking any supplements.