by Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, MS, LN
Coach Jenniferlyn here, and today I want to chat a little about a common mineral that many of us are lacking, but one that also is key for so much of our health: Magnesium.
Magnesium is known by many as a calming mineral, in fact one major brand on the market is called Natural Calm, and this is true because it relaxes our muscles and nerves and is essential for our overall good health.
How do you know if you are getting enough?
Many people, athletes in particular, are deficient in Mg. Extreme deficiencies are most common in alcoholics, diabetics, and people with poor dietary intake or digestive problems that inhibit absorption (leaky gut, IBS, etc.).
Consuming diuretics (certain medications, caffeine, and alcohol), antibiotics, or oral contraceptives may also lower blood magnesium. As does stress. Additionally, magnesium deficiency is common in those with fibromyalgia and other pain syndromes.
Some potential signs of a Mg deficiency are:
I am sure you are reading this saying to yourself "um, well, I tick off quite a few of those things so I must be deficient! " and you may be right.
In general, there is nothing wrong with trying to increase your Mg levels, especially if you are under stress, are an athlete, or are experiencing any illnesses which impact your levels. Toxicity from food sources of Mg is highly unlikely, so I always suggest to start there.
Foods Rich in Magnesium
all dark leafy greens, especially Swiss chard and spinach • nuts & seeds, especially pumpkin seeds • beans & lentils • quinoa & brown rice • fish, especially mackerel, pollock and tuna • avocados • bananas • dried fruit, especially figs and dates • dark chocolate • nettles
3 Keys to Increasing your Magnesium**
1) FOOD! As mentioned above - go for foods rich in Mg like dark leafy greens, beans, & lentils, avocadoes, dark chocolate, nuts & seeds
2) Supplement with a Magnesium Glycinate Chelate or, Magnesium Threonate Chelate, Magnesium Lysinate Glycinate Chelate (or a combination of a few Mg versions in the chelated form)
3) Transdermal! You can apply Mg oil directly on the skin for immediate absorption and taking Epsom Salt Baths works as well!
Since elemental magnesium is very unstable, it needs to be tied to a “carrier element” (preferably an amino acid). The carrier determines how Mg will be absorbed.
Mg is effected by a few things in the stomach directly.
Given that phytates, oxalates, and calcium all impair the ability of the body to transport the Mg - taking a good chelated glycinate form is very beneficial because it uses 2 transport mechanisms – both the Magnesium transport and the Amino Acid transport.
This is excellent as the amino acids the Mg are bound to – specifically glycine in this case - buffers the natural pH of elemental Mg to a level that enhances the Mg transport mechanism and thus increases bio-availability. Mg Glycinate also has the highest amount of elemental Mg in it so you get a higher dose for your money.
Due to it being bound to an Amino Acid, compounds such as phytic acid can no longer bind to the reactive sites of magnesium, which again helps with absorption.
Of special note is one of my personal favorites to add to the mix: Mg threonate. Magnesium Threonate is the only form of Mg that can cross the blood-brain barrier - increasing neuronal intracellular Mg levels. So if you have trouble sleeping or with headaches, moods or depression then this may be a good choice for you!
I personally recommend to my clients a powdered version of chelated glycinate to mix with water and drink before bed as it is highly efficacious (it works) without much GI interaction. (and no, it is not Natural Calm!) My go-to mg supplments right now are HydraMag by Moxie and a glycinate threonate combo by Myoxcience that I take nightly before bed to help with calming nerves, sleep and mood.
In addition to oral supplementation, you can increase your levels externally through Epsom salt baths and magnesium oils applied topically.
Taking an Epsom salt bath allows you to absorb magnesium through your skin. It’s helpful for soothing sore muscles and promotes relaxation before bedtime.
Want to try it?
Add 2 cups of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) per tub. A few drops of your essential oils are also a nice addition!
Magnesium oil is a topical form of magnesium chloride. Apply it directly to your skin for any inflamed or twitchy areas before bedtime.
And for all our triathletes and swimmers out there, Epsom salts and magnesium oil can also help detox your skin and body from chlorine if you swim in a chlorinated pool.
Whenever we talk about supplementation it bares repeating that this is not to be considered medical advice, that the author (Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, MS, LN), in her capacity as a licensed nutritionist is not a doctor and cannot diagnose, treat, or claim to cure any disease, and that the entities behind Mind Body Shine are providing this and all information on our website for educational use only. You are responsible for your own health. Please review with your practitioner before adding any supplements!
Coaches BK and Jenniferlyn are wellness professionals who have a passion for helping others create their best shining lives. Both are former engineers who have found a path to wellness and triathlon due to their own journeys. Together they will share recipes and informative posts on various wellness topics.