This is the first in a series I’m working on regarding the body, which emphasizes muscles and function.
Magnesium, the metal that gives many fireworks their spark of white light is also required in the body. For a muscle to be able to relax, magnesium is physiologically required on a cellular level (ie no magnesium, no muscle relaxation). Magnesium deficiency is often overlooked while its chemical counterpart, Calcium, takes the spotlight. Both are required for muscles to function properly and imbalances in either can cause heart arrhythmias. The heart is one huge muscle, after all.
Here, I share my own experiences with magnesium deficiency in the hopes it may help you, too.
Medical Disclaimer: The Content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.
In seeking the help of a Naturopath (ND) for insomnia and anxiety, I was shown how magnesium deficiency was affecting me. At the time of this discovery, I did not want to take conventional medications as I was breastfeeding. Well, I should also mention I avoid taking prescriptions as often as possible. That’s another story for another day!
While I am a healthcare professional, a physician or dietitian I am not. Here, I am sharing my experiences with magnesium deficiency and what it has meant to me. If this post compels you to investigate, please check with your MD or pharmacist first! While it is my hope that it may help someone, possibly you, to live better, magnesium consumption could possibly interfere with medications and or worsen some medical conditions.
Here were some of the symptoms that I had when I sought help:
- Insomnia (not just sleeplessness from having a baby, as often she was asleep while I was in bed fully awake)
- Chocolate cravings – insatiable
- Muscle tension & cramping
- Menstrual cramping
- Night sweats
- Anxiety/inability to relax
When I went to see the ND, he introduced me to Natural Calm, a powdered form of magnesium. While I love this product, I found it expensive and easy to overdo it, causing the inverse of constipation; loose stools. So I was unable to get enough into my body to stop the menstrual cramps.
It’s interesting that I had forgotten at the time that with post-Labor pains, my midwife had me take Cal-Mag supplements instead of a pain-killer. This resolved my cramping without the need for pain meds (post-parting cramping was more painful at times than labor, and like menstrual cramps x1000). Cal-Mag was simply Magical!
When I started running, years later, I found magnesium oil spray to help. As it is absorbed through the skin, the body will only absorb what it needs (think osmosis). Just need to remember to avoid applying it to any broken, freshly shaved/waxed or dry skin. Think intense burning! Avoiding dry skin can be a challenge in winter, when we may need magnesium the most.
Another product I like is magnesium oil by Trace Minerals Research, taken orally. This I purchased when Whole Foods was out of the spray and I was, too. It has a strong salty taste, so not good for anyone who is taste sensitive. I keep the oil in the fridge as colder foods cause less stimulation of taste buds. When I take it, I just add it to a tall glass of water and chug it. I usually do this before bed and I find I settle down more easily.
Epsom salt soaks are also great and I often do 1-3/week when I have an event (running or obstacle). Soaking both before and after the event helps reduce delayed onset of muscle soreness.
In general, I find during times of high stress (any form) that I need to increase my magnesium intake. I have found that post workouts I barely have soreness and if I do, I just take more magnesium. The same goes for menstrual cramps. In times of emotional and mental stress, if I find myself restless: more magnesium. If I find that I am getting constipated, you guessed it: more magnesium! Same action when I get chocolate cravings.
While I do NOT consider magnesium a cure all, I have found that I no longer crave chocolate (I use to eat it like it was a drug, well, it was…), my sleep is more restful and I actually require less of it (this could also be a meditation side effect), I’m rarely constipated, I’m much more calm (another possible meditation side effect) and I rarely have menstrual or muscle cramps.
In reading into magnesium deficiency more, many who drink filtered water (city or bottled), miss out on magnesium. It is dissolved into water as it travels through the ground. Being magnesium deficient can cause many ill effects. I encourage you to do your own research. Don’t just trust me, blindly, as I am just one.