There’s a supplement you can take that will help you chill out, sleep better, and poop often. It’s called magnesium and if you’re living a busy life in 2018, you need it more than ever.
Magnesium is involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions in the body including energy metabolism and protein synthesis. An estimated 80% of adults are deficient in this vital mineral, so that’s why at Parsley Health, we test your micronutrient levels and have recently launched our own medical-grade magnesium supplement.
The Need For Magnesium Supplements
Stress depletes magnesium stores, as does excess alcohol consumption, eating processed foods, taking antibiotics and taking certain drugs like high blood pressure meds and diuretics.
Everything from depleted soil conditions, to the use of chemicals in our water supply, has contributed to a widespread magnesium deficiency. But how can you tell if you are deficient? Besides getting tested, these are some of the most common symptoms to be aware of:
- Kidney and liver damage
- Migraine headaches
- Restless leg syndrome
- Worsened PMS symptoms
- Insomnia and trouble sleeping
- Tooth cavities
- Muscle weakness and cramps
Types of Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms, and each differs in absorption rate and bioavailability. Here’s a little primer on the different types of magnesium supplements you may come across. As with any supplement, it’s best to work with your doctor to tailor the dosage to your specific needs.
- Magnesium Chelate — highly absorbable by the body and the kind found in foods naturally. This type is bound to multiple amino acids (proteins) and used to restore magnesium levels.
- Magnesium Oxide — commonly used therapeutically as a laxative and relief for acid reflux. This type of magnesium shows high levels of concentration, but poor levels of bioavailability (only 4%).
- Magnesium Orotate — these supplements have orotic acid, and magnesium orotate supports hydration by helping to regulate the flow of sodium and potassium through your cells.
- Magnesium Citrate — magnesium combined with citric acid. Often used for improving digestion and preventing constipation as it may cause loose stools or act as a natural laxative.
- Magnesium Glycinate — the best-absorbed form of magnesium, and gentle on the stomach. Less likely to cause laxative effects.
5 Reasons to Take a Magnesium Supplement
Here are the top 5 benefits of magnesium supplementation that we most commonly see a need for at Parsley Health:
1. Reduces insomnia
Can’t sleep? Magnesium Glycinate pills or a hot Epsom salt (Magnesium Sulphate) bath can un-tense your muscles and help to relax your whole body, promoting a sense of sleepiness for a good night’s rest.
2. Helps alleviate constipation
If you’re feeling stopped up, Magnesium Citrate can get things moving again. It helps relax the muscles of the digestive tract and neutralize stomach acid allowing your poop to pass on. Take it at night for a healthy bowel movement first thing in the morning.
3. Prevents migraines
Magnesium plays a role in neurotransmitter function and blood circulation, regulating the blood vessel constriction that often leads to migraines. (Here’s a previous post on how to avoid migraines)
4. Calms your nerves
Dr. Berzin calls it “nature’s anti-anxiety drug”. Stress can be a cause of Magnesium deficiency and low magnesium levels can magnify the stress response. So we need more Mg in times of stress.
5. Relieves muscle pain and cramping (especially useful for PMS)
Not having enough magnesium available to our muscles can cause muscle spasms that often lead to pain, cramping or twitching. Taking a supplement can help muscles (including those lining the uterus) to contract and relax normally.
Unfortunately, magnesium is not routinely checked by most conventional doctors. At Parsley, we check your levels and then personalize your plan accordingly. It’s medicine the way the should be practiced!
Dietary Sources of Magnesium
Magnesium is found naturally in many common foods, and supplementation should always be part of a whole foods diet and healthy lifestyle. Some of the best food sources of magnesium include:
- Spinach, Swiss chard, and other leafy vegetables
- Sea vegetables such as kelp and dulse
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
- Fruits like avocado and banana
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts
- Dark chocolate
Recipes High In Magnesium
Try some of these magnesium-rich recipes: