Magnesium.. the critical currency to life..
Magnesium has so many applications in the body and far too many people are incredibly deficient in it. This critical mineral has around 600 applications in the body. In fact, every single metabolic body event, requires magnesium at some stage of the process! This means that if you are deficient, around 600 actions in your body are not functioning at their optimal level.
In our body, energy comes in the form of something called ‘ATP’. ATP is the currency of life – anything that needs energy in order to occur within our body, gets this energy from ATP. You can imagine how necessary it is to life. Take away magnesium, and ATP cannot be utilised. Simple.
Magnesium works very closely with calcium. Where calcium ‘contracts’, magnesium ‘releases’ or relaxes. Symptoms including cramps, such as restless legs, aching calves, headaches, PMS, migranes, and other aches or pains, as your body’s way of telling you that it does not have enough magnesium. Symptoms are your body’s way of communicating with you after all. Alcoholics also tend to have low or deficient magnesium levels.
Symptoms such as those above can often be relieved through boosting magnesium rich foods in the diet and by magnesium supplementation. Foods high in magnesium include green leafy veggies, most seafood (ensure its sustainably caught), nuts such as almonds and cashews, sesame seeds, sea vegetables, and even raw cacao powder (hello chocaholics!). Many women get a ‘hormonal craving’ for chocolate. Magnesium rich cacao is used to make ‘pure’ chocolate – see if you can guess which mineral your body may actually be asking you for with your ‘hormonal cravings’! Clever marketing has led us off track to sugary, dairy milk chocolates, but make no mistake, the body would absolutely prefer the pure stuff thats rich in magnesium and other beneficial minerals to help with cramping, cravings, moods etc..
Interestingly, it appears that for those with pain, magnesium tends to work better in combination with ‘analgesics’. When I refer to analgesics, I, of course, refer to herbal versions of these as this is what I practice as a Naturopath. There are some amazing herbs and some great formulations that we stock at Saltuary on this front. They all work a little differently, but when used in the right doses, for the right conditions alongside the right mix of other nutrients, they can work an absolute treat. Pain is a very individual presentation, in my experience, tweaking treatments specific to you works best.
Stress is a HUGE factor in magnesium depletion. Stress increases your excretion of magnesium, leading to a progressive deficiency. A magnesium deficiency can:
- Disrupt sleeping patterns
- Adversely affect memory
- Increase risk of chronic disease
- Promote catecholamine release.
- Catecholamines include adrenalin and dopamine, meaning magnesium deficiency promotes adrenalin release. Adrenalin is produced in high amounts during stress. It is not beneficial when it hangs around too long, such as it does in chronic stress.
- Magnesium deficiency in the brain reduces serotonin levels
- Serotonin is our natural, feel good hormone – thought it is being heavily researched and we’re learning that it has MANY other functions in our amazing body’s…
- Promotes release of ‘pro’ inflammatory factors
- Inflammation is as bad as long term stress when it’s chronic. It’s akin to the body being on fire all the time..
Soft drinks are no good for minerals including magnesium. The phosphoric acid contained in them messes around with the uptake of minerals, promoting a deficiency of them. When your body senses that minerals such as magnesium and calcium are in short supply, guess what – it drags them out of your bones, leaving you more prone to conditions such as osteoporosis. Here and there your body will deal with a soft drink, drinking them daily though will lead to problems on more than just the obesity front.
If you are concerned about your magnesium levels and decide to get these tested via a blood test, it is important that you test for ‘free’ magnesium over ‘total’ magnesium to understand better where your levels are at.
Lastly, a word on the many types of supplemental magnesium available these days. Some are wonderful, some are not. Different types of magnesium, behave differently in our bodies. Their absorption rates can differ widely also. Magnesium oxalate / sulphate and citrate are commonly used as laxatives, so if using these to restore your body’s levels, my advice would be to switch to a different type. Also, if you find that you need higher and higher levels for a supplement to have an effect, it may be an issue with your absorption of it, or perhaps a problem with your acid / alkaline balance – something that you absolutely should work at correcting if you wish to maintain long term health. The subject of acid / alkaline balance is a whole blog in itself, to be saved for another time. These however, are the types of things I work on correcting with people when they book in to see me as a Naturopath at Saltuary.
We stock a variety of different types of magnesium, including creams to be used topically on the skin, and of course those that can be taken internally. We also have floatation rooms, where you soak your entire body in magnesium rich water, increasing your levels and adding hugely to relaxation, recovery of sore muscles and even helping to decrease stress and anxiety. If you are interested in learning more about magnesium, come in and chat with us at Saltuary or book a FREE Health & Wellness Chat now…..BOOK NOW