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So, you have come here because you want to learn how to prevent Magnesium Deficiency. However, before we get started on that, I really feel like its important to know what Magnesium is along with its functions in the body. You may be able to relate to me on this, but I used to play a ton of sports in high school. My mom always used to tell me after a hard day at the gym, school and practice, "You should take a bath in some Epsom salts". I never really knew at the time the magnitude of what she was saying. I didn't know the benefits, I didn't know why I should and I definitely didn't know it was Magnesium I would be soaking in. I had no idea that it could actually help with my performance as an athlete! I mean, my mom told me it would help my muscles, but like many teenagers, I didn't listen (along with many other things!) Now, fast forward to a just a few years ago, our acupuncturist asked me if I ever applied magnesium oil to my sons feet to help calm him (see recipe below). I of course hadn't but it sparked some interest. I was looking for anything that would help him. So, I made my own with recipes I found online. To be fair, we started a whole new routine with my son around the same time we tried the magnesium oil, so it's really hard to say whether the magnesium oil was the game changer. But, even just a little digging around on the internet or books about this macro-mineral will tell you its pretty darn important!
So, what is magnesium and what function does it have in our body? Magnesium is a macro-mineral (its required in smaller amounts in the body), and involved in over 300 biochemical processes in the body! Just to name a few, it plays an important role in the production of energy, helps maintain normal nerve and muscle functions (which is why it is really critical for athletes), helps keep your heart rhythm regular, supports a healthy immune system, and helps keep your bones strong. These are just a few of the important functions.
Magnesium can be found in many foods including almonds, spinach, avocados, cashews, potatoes, and brown rice. You may not even know if your deficient, but did you know that if you crave chocolate it could mean you have a magnesium deficiency? Some other symptoms include anxiety, headache or migraine, difficulty getting and staying asleep, hyperactivity, muscle spasms or cramps, and eye twitches or irregular eye movements.
There are 8 different forms of magnesium, and before we get into how to prevent magnesium deficiency, we should probably go over what the use is for each one.
Magnesium Citrate is most popular in supplements, easily absorbed and inexpensive. This form is unsuitable for people with loose bowel movements.
Magnesium Taurate is the best choice for people with cardiovascular issues, is easily absorbed and contains no laxative properties.
Magnesium Malate is a great choice for people who are suffering from fatigue and is highly soluble.
Magnesium Glycinate is one of the most bioavailable and absorbable forms of magnesium.
Magnesium Chloride is commonly found in magnesium bath flakes, aids in kidney function and can boost sluggishness.
Magnesium Carbonate is another popular form, and a good choice for people suffering from indigestion and acid reflux.
Magnesium Oxide is commonly found in pharmacies, but has a poor absorption rate compared to other forms.
Magnesium Sulfate is also called Epsom salt, and is a fantastic constipation remedy but unsafe source of dietary magnesium.
If you have looked around on this website, you will find that I am not a fan of most supplements, and if someone said they thought they were deficient in magnesium, I would always first recommend to eat more foods that are high in magnesium. Diet first, supplementation as last resort.
Factors that contribute to magnesium deficiency include:
Low magnesium diet (Today, people are eating less grains and more junk)
High amount of processed foods (A high-saturated fat diet reduces magnesium absorption in the intestines)
Soft drinks (high in phosphates, sugar and diuretic properties, and sugar increases excretion of magnesium in the kidneys. Phosphates present in carbonated beverages bind to magnesium, making it unusable for the body)
Calcium supplements (Magnesium is needed for calcium absorption, and if you take an overabundance of calcium it increases the body’s need for magnesium!)
Prescription & over the counter medications (diuretics, antibiotics, painkillers and cortisone, which can deplete magnesium levels in the body by lessen absorption or by increasing excretion by the kidneys)
Alcohol & other addictions (Complications like liver disease, vomiting and diarrhea reduce body levels of magnesium, and treatment of addiction can further complicate issues when withdrawal is experienced)
Aging, illness & stress (surgery, burns, liver disease, diabetes, hormonal imbalances, can increase your body's need for magnesium, and reduce stomach acid levels making it difficult to break down foods and supplements into an absorbable form)
Digestive & genetic disorders (some disorders affect absorption of magnesium, and in this case supplementation may be a good option).
What you need:
-1 cup of magnesium bath flakes (magnesium chloride) or Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
-1/2 cup baking soda (balanced pH of water)
-10-15 drops of essential oils (relaxation)
**Add to desired temperature bath water and sit in for at least 10 minutes
** Caution: If you suffer from high blood pressure, be careful of detox baths and sitting in them for too long. This bath should not be done if you are pregnant. Have water (with fresh lemon handy: optional), hydration is key! If you sweat in the bath, make sure you hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Take your time getting out of the bath, getting up too fast can cause lightheadedness. Alcohol is not recommended in a detox bath. If you have sensitive skin, less is more. If you are at all concerned about skin reactions cut this recipe in half, and start there. Do not use oils that are irritants when applied undiluted (like peppermint) but rather use oils such as lavender or rose.
**Try these :
-5 drops Ylang Ylang, 5 drops Cedarwood, 5 drops blend of vanilla
-5 drops vetiver, 10 drops of lavender
-2 drops rose (or blend of rose), 8 drops blend of vanilla, 5 drops patchouli
-5 drops lavender, 8 drops vetiver
What You Need:
-1/4 cup magnesium bath flakes
-1/2 cup boiling water
-10 drops essential oil (relaxation)
**Dissolve flakes in boiling water, if you have sensitive skin, try using 1/8 cup of magnesium bath flakes to 1/2 cup boiling water. Store in an amber, or blue glass bottle (see here). You could also store in a roller ball bottle (see here). I call this sleepy oil, and its amazing for kids! Apply with a little bit of coconut oil to the bottom of feet, massage in, and sleep well! Or if you're not up for making your own oil, I have also included a link for magnesium oil from a great, reputable brand. Please see above recipe for The Ultimate Soak for essential oil combination ideas.