Many people ask what is my favourite supplement and its an easy answer! But why is magnesium important?
Stressed? Restless legs? Teeth grinding? Eye lid twitching? Yup, this one is for you!
Lets start with a story:
I had a patient many years ago who was working 60+ hours per week. They were training for a marathon, and sleeping terribly. The slightest noise would wake them up at night. They felt totally depleted but kept trying to push through to accomplish everything on their to-do list.
After our first visit, the only suggestion they implemented was adding in magnesium.
The next morning, I received an email from them that simply asked “can you sleep too deeply?” I asked them to tell me what had happened. They said she slept through the night! Even when their dog barked in the middle of the night, they slept on. Their partner was actually worried as this was so out of character for them. However, they felt amazing! They continued with the supplement nightly for a month and found their sleep improved, they recovered quicker from their training, and even their jaw tension decreased. Magnesium for the win!
What is magnesium?
It is a mineral used in many processes in the body. It’s very important in muscle action. Calcium helps to create a muscle contraction, while magnesium and potassium help muscles relax. In our parent’s generation, there was the adage to eat a banana if you have a food cramp. This was because bananas were rich in potassium; however, rarely consumed back then as they were expensive to import. Now, we all consume plenty of potassium in our diets and its the magnesium we lack.
What foods contain magnesium?
Foods that are rich in magnesium include dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, spinach, quinoa and almonds. However, year after year, we see the levels of this nutrient in foods diminishing as our soils are depleted due to farming practices. Couple that with the demands of our body’s stress response, which draws on your magnesium store, and you are left holding a low level of tension on a constant basis in your body.
Which magnesium is best?
The number of varieties of magnesium can be a little overwhelming, but its important to know what type is needed for what you are experiencing:
- Magnesium citrate and oxide: used for constipation as they are poorly absorbed and help to draw more water into your digestive tract to make bowel movements easier.
- Magnesium sulfate (Epson Salts): not usually ingested but great to add to your bath and soak in to help relax muscles.
- Magnesium bisglycinate: very good absorption and the best kind for relaxing muscles and helping with sleep.
What should I take it?
Magnesium can be therapeutic for fluid retention, osteoporosis, temporal mandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, insomnia, muscle cramping, high blood pressure, and much more. Each person is going to need a different type, at a different dose, so talk to your naturopathic doctor or healthcare practitioner about what would be best for your therapeutic needs.
Disclaimer: Information can be empowering, but we all have unique health profiles and needs. Health-related information contained in this post is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a Naturopathic Doctor. The advice is intended to offer only a general basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their healthcare provider.
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Dr. Robyn Land is a naturopathic doctor and the found of the Local Health Collective and Local Health Integrative Clinic, the largest integrative clinic in Vancouver, BC