- Allison, L.Ac.
Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals for maintaining good health. It's fundamental to over 300 chemical processes that take place daily, within our bodies. Magnesium levels are not reported via standard blood tests and, many of us are low in this incredibly vital element.
When it comes to supplementing, I believe moderation is key. Hence, the name of my business, Basic Balance. I believe in keeping things as simple as possible- allowing and encouraging our bodies to do what they do best, as opposed, to “telling” them how to operate. Proper nutrition, exercise, and a healthy mindset are top priorities.
BUT- there are certain vitamins, minerals, supplements, western herbs, and Chinese herbal formulas that I find very helpful for myself and my patients and, Magnesium is one of these.
Signs you may be low in Magnesium:
Muscle cramps and/or tremors
High blood Pressure
Dizzy Spells and/or Memory Problems
Keep in mind that the above signs can be common symptoms of other conditions as well, but, don’t worry- if you are not low in Magnesium and you supplement with it, it is very difficult to overdose.
When supplementing with minerals, use caution. Just because a product says 'natural', it does not mean it is good quality.
In improper forms, minerals are indigestible by the body and may cause more harm, than good. For example, much of the Calcium on the market is actually ground up lime-stone- you're eating a rock!
Also, keep in mind that minerals work together in the body to complete their functions. Supplementing with a high dose of one of these minerals, while being low in levels of other minerals, can throw off your internal mineral balance. So, make sure your are getting lots of minerals in your diet from foods like dark leafy greens and vegetables. Limit caffeine. And, avoid carbonated beverages, which leach minerals from the body.
How to Supplement
If you decide to begin supplementing with Magnesium, I recommend using one of the below four methods (in order of preference):
#1 Food- Nature is the best medicine and food is my favorite source of supplementation. Great goods high in Magnesium are nuts like almonds and cashews, and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. Okra, Spinach, and Squash are other excellent sources. Incorporate these into your diet whenever possible. Keep in mind, nuts and seeds are difficult for many people to digest and they should be bought and kept refrigerated.
#2 Epson Salt Baths- Not only are baths extremely relaxing, mentally and physically therapeutic, and a magnificent opportunity for stimulating acupressure points, Magnesium is best absorbed transdermal (via the skin). Thus, Epson Salt Baths are my #1 recommended way to supplement with Magnesium. Add a couple drops of essential oil to your bath such as Lavender or Rose, if you’d really like to indulge. You deserve it!
#3 Magnesium Oil- This is my second favorite way to supplement because it is so easy to make a habit of. Contrary to the title, Magnesium Oil isn’t an oil at all; it absorbs in to the skin very quickly with little, if any, residue. I spray it on my calves or hamstrings, after my morning shower, and I’m good-to-go! If you have trouble sleeping, try using it as night. Relaxing the muscles with Magnesium often, relaxes the mind, as well.
#4 Magnesium Citrate- As stated, Magnesium is best absorbed transdermal (via the skin). But, if you prefer taking Magnesium internally, I recommend using the form, Magnesium Citrate, in powder form (such as 'Calm' by Natural Vitality). Remember- since, the intestines are a muscle and Magnesium relaxes the muscles, don’t be surprised if you wake up early in the morning, with diarrhea. I usually suggest taking half the recommended dose (on the bottle), then slowly increasing the dose until experiencing diarrhea, and then backing off again.
Thanks for reading!
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Allison, Licensed Acupuncturist