As a dietitian I know it’s never one-size-fits-all, but after years of counseling clients with Nutritional Weight & Wellness I’ve noticed many unwelcome symptoms appearing again and again for clients. Maybe you can relate to the (many) clients who report abrupt awakenings due to painful leg cramps and “creepy crawlies” for lack of a better word? Or maybe you wake up with your alarm feeling more tired than when you went to bed after a night of tossing and turning? If you answered yes to any or all of those scenarios magnesium might be the solution for you.
Magnesium is often referred to as the relaxation mineral along with it’s involvement in hundreds of different processes in the body. A study from The Journal of the American College of Nutritionestimates that at least 68% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.¹ Though since less than 1% of magnesium is found in the blood, it’s difficult to test for magnesium, meaning many more people are probably deficient in this important mineral. Keep that in mind if you see magnesium in a lab report from the Doctor, it’s not very accurate.
Magnesium Can Help With …
Muscle Pain (Restless Legs, Cramps, Spasms, etc.)
Magnesium enables the body to perform proper muscle contraction. So if you’re low in magnesium your muscles will contract involuntarily, causing spasms, cramps and restless leg syndrome. Ouch. Imagine a night of rest without waking up with a cramp or spasm! Our nutritionists recommend starting with 300 mg of magnesium per day and increase daily until your spasms or cramps go away. No need to work about a high dosage as you can safely go up to 1,000 mg per day and you often don’t need to stay at those high levels once you’ve found muscle relief. Take 100-200 mg in the morning and the rest about a half hour before bed.
Relaxation and sleep go hand in hand. Magnesium plays an important role for our central nervous system to function properly and low levels of magnesium may lead to insomnia. No thank you! Magnesium to the rescue to promote deeper sleep and more REM, most restorative sleep cycle. Many clients report more dreams when taking magnesium which we interpret as a good sign they’re getting more REM sleep. Beyond helping you stay asleep, magnesium also helps relax and fall asleep quicker. Start with 200 mg, but many people need 500-700 mg for insomnia. Increase up to 1,000 mg per day max. Take it about half hour before bed for the benefit of better sleep.
We don’t often think of our blood vessels being relaxed, but in fact they do make magnesium critical for relaxing and dilating our blood vessels. Magnesium deficiencies may cause blood vessels to constrict thus creating high blood pressure. Magnesium also prevents spasms in heart muscle and blood vessel walls. Take 200 mg of magnesium in the morning and 400 mg at night.
Sources of Magnesium
At Nutritional Weight & Wellness we always start with food sources of vitamins and minerals. You can find magnesium in leafy greens, nuts and grass-fed meat, all delicious options. Though clinically we have found the public's magnesium to be so depleted that taking a magnesium supplement in addition to eating more magnesium rich food is the best approach. When choosing a supplement (or any supplement) you need to make sure it’s absorbable in your body, otherwise what’s the point. Magnesium Glycinate is the most absorbable form of magnesium for general use. Choose Mixed Magnesium if you tend towards constipation. Along with Magnesium Glycinate, Mixed Magnesium contains magnesium citrate which helps pull fluid to your bowels to loosen stool.
When going through the above symptoms with my clients, most can relate to at least one if not all. Then once they start supplementing with magnesium and incorporating more magnesium in their diet they find a lot of relief. On more than one occasion I have heard people refer to magnesium as “the miracle supplement” because it helps so many different areas of the body.
King DE, Mainous AG, et al. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Amer Col Nutrition 2005;24:166-171.
Dean C. Use of serum magnesium measurements to exclude magnesium deficiency is cause for concern. Natural Medicine Journal2010;2. http://naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2010-06/use-serum-magnesium-measurements-exclude-magnesium-deficiency-cause-concern
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