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What does magnesium do for your Body?
I discovered magnesium as part of the iodine protocol as it’s needed to produce the thyroid hormone (Thyroid Advisor, 2017). I later realised I had underestimated the importance of this mineral i.e. every cell in the body requires magnesium to function – without it the body cannot create energy, it cannot fully benefit from vitamin D (ScienceDaily, n.d.), it is unable to synthesize protein, move our muscles or support good brain function. In fact, there is unlikely to be any function of the body that does not require magnesium in some way (de Baaij, Hoenderop and Bindels, 2015).
Magnesium rich sources in the diet.
I thought I was getting plenty of magnesium in my diet from foods such as oats, dark chocolate, nuts, peas, whole grains, fatty fish, and leafy greens (Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE, 2018). However I still decided to supplement, because I acknowledged that much of the nutritional content in foods can be compromised by farming and processing methods. The recommended daily allowance of magnesium for an adult male is 420mg, and is 320mg for an adult female, and according to World Health Organization (WHO) up to 75% of the U.S. adult population is deficient!
Before I began supplementing with magnesium, I wanted to use the most easily absorbable source, and learned one of the best forms is magnesium citrate (Lindberg et al., 1990), this is magnesium bound with citric acid (the same acid found in citrus fruits) in a tablet form. I started with one 250mg tablet of this form of magnesium every day for several months. In theory I should have been getting enough from the 300 grams of oats a day that I already consumed, as they contained as much as 177mg per 100 grams. Unfortunately I did not notice any benefits or changes.
Further research suggested that spraying magnesium oil directly on to the skin was the most absorbable way of getting this mineral because it bypassed the body’s need to digest and process it.
A pilot study showed that 89% of subjects raised their cellular magnesium levels with an average increase of 59.7% after 12 weeks of magnesium chloride oil applied to the skin. 78% of the subjects also showed evidence that detoxification of heavy metals had occurred. (Pd, 2010).
My first use of spraying magnesium oil directly on to my skin proved to be an uncomfortable experience because it caused a strong stinging sensation. I read that the more deficient you are, the more the oil would sting. I noticed the stinging eased after one week so I concluded that I must’ve been becoming less deficient in magnesium. However, if you have sensitive skin, it is recommended that the oil be sprayed on the soles of the feet, or that you add aloe vera juice for a more soothing effect (you can buy magnesium oil already mixed with aloe vera).
The benefits of magnesium oil applied to the skin.
After just a few days of using the magnesium oil spray, I noticed I was waking up feeling much more refreshed, rested and energized, this occurred even when I didn’t get enough sleep. I also felt more relaxed than usual, particularly in the muscles in my neck and back which I’d previously experienced tension and pain. Often I’d resorted to using massage therapy or a foam roller to manage or reduce this tension, but it was always a temporary fix. After continuing to use the magnesium oil, all of this tension disappeared permanently and it was no surprise given the fact that the body uses magnesium to relax the muscles – it is able to do this by regulating our calcium levels (calcium is used to contract muscles) (de Baaij, Hoenderop and Bindels, 2015). I also noticed improvements in digestion and this is perhaps because magnesium is required for many enzymatic activities (Sircus, 2011).
Are there any drawbacks to using magnesium oil?
The main downsides of using the magnesium oil spray was that I initially experienced headaches and dehydration. Perhaps this was due to how magnesium aids the body to rid itself of heavy metals by protecting the cells from mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium and nickel (Sircus, 2011). After I increased my water intake, I no longer suffered these symptoms.
Another disadvantage of supplementing with magnesium oil is the cost and quantity depending on how much you need each day. Often you’d only get 200-300 mls in a bottle that could cost up to $20, and if you were addressing a severe deficiency, this could prove potentially expensive.
How to make your own magnesium oil at home.
I resolved this by choosing to purchase magnesium chloride flakes (this is the flake version of the oil) and make it myself at home. You can do this by mixing 1/2 a cup of the flakes to 1/2 a cup of hot (not boiling) distilled water (using standard tap water could potentially shorten the shelf life), stirring (using a non metallic spoon) until dissolved and then allowing to cool. Then you’d pour it into a glass spray bottle. With this method, you could make twice the amount of magnesium oil for the same cost. Perhaps even more depending on the strength required.
Other forms of magnesium supplementation.
Apart from magnesium oil and magnesium chloride flakes, there is also magnesium gels, body lotions, bath soaks, and body butters. You could also add the magnesium chloride flakes in the bath, giving you the benefit of whole body absorption (soak for about 20 – 30 minutes). This would be similar to absorbing magnesium as I believe nature intended, from swimming in unpolluted sea water!
Magnesium is responsible for hundreds of different functions in the body, and an important co factor for many others. For example, it is needed for healthy blood pressure, heart function, nerve function, antioxidant production, cholesterol, immune system, bones (allows calcium absorption) and blood sugar regulation to name a few (Sircus, 2011).
As magnesium has so many essential functions, and we are probably deficient in it, isn’t it time we started to truly benefit from its magnificence?
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is recommended that anyone wishing to supplement with magnesium in any form, speak to their Doctor first, particularly if they are on heart, blood pressure medication, or any statins.
de Baaij, J.H.F., Hoenderop, J.G.J. and Bindels, R.J.M. (2015). Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiological reviews, [online] 95(1), pp.1–46. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25540137.
Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE (2018). 10 Magnesium-Rich Foods That Are Super Healthy. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-foods-high-in-magnesium.
Lindberg, J.S., Zobitz, M.M., Poindexter, J.R. and Pak, C.Y. (1990). Magnesium bioavailability from magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, [online] 9(1), pp.48–55. Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2526/f842e82b4eee8b0cf19f6cb24c0aec328896.pdf [Accessed 9 Aug. 2019].
Pd, J. (2010). A Pilot Study to determine the impact of Transdermal Magnesium treatment on serum levels and whole body CaMg Ratios. [online] European Journal For Nurtraceutical Research. Available at: https://betteryou.com/health-hub/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Watkins-and-Josling-research.pdf [Accessed 22 Feb. 2020].
ScienceDaily. (n.d.). Low magnesium levels make vitamin D ineffective: Up to 50 percent of US population is magnesium deficient. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180226122548.htm [Accessed 22 Feb. 2020].
Sircus, M. (2011). Transdermal magnesium therapy : a new modality for the maintenance of health. Bloomington, In: Iuniverse.
Thyroid Advisor. (2017). The Benefits of Magnesium on the Thyroid. [online] Available at: https://thyroidadvisor.com/benefits-magnesium-thyroid/ [Accessed 22 Feb. 2020].