Magnesium… a vital mineral (absorption)

MAGNESIUM AND THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

Magnesium has a calming effect on the entire nervous system: it relaxes all the muscles in the body and aids in promoting sound and restorative sleep.  When we are stressed, more adrenalin is released in the bloodstream and this puts extra strain on our nervous system.  Magnesium levels get low when we are stressed, because magnesium has to work double-time to return the nervous system to a relaxed state.  If magnesium levels get too low, the nerves lose control over muscle activity contributing to muscle cramps, nervous tension and/or poor sleep.

Levels of magnesium may decrease as we age, particularly if we have developed digestive problems or chronic symptoms and may not be able to absorb magnesium through our diet as well.

MAGNESIUM ABSORPTION

All minerals need to be in balance in the body to maintain optimum health. Magnesium levels can be delicate to maintain: for example a diet too rich in calcium or calcium supplements can contribute to lowered levels of magnesium (magnesium is consumed to assimilate calcium).

Magnesium is absorbed by the body mainly in the acidic stomach environment and in the small intestine. If you produce low amounts of stomach acid, or suffer from gastrointestinal problems, your body may not be absorbing enough nutrients, including magnesium.

Here is a list below of some factors/nutrients that can decrease magnesium absorption and deplete magnesium levels:

  • A high daily intake of caffeine (tea, coffee and cola).
  • Foods containing oxalic acid (spinach, chard and rhubarb amongst others).
  • A high daily intake of sugar
  • Supplemental iron – take your iron supplements several hours apart from magnesium
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol on a regular basis
  • A diet high in processed foods (containing artificial chemicals and colourings)
  • Suffering from a chronic illness
  • A low daily intake of foods containing magnesium
  • The use of diuretics to lose weight
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid)
  • Stress
  • Lack of exercise
  • High fat intake
  • High protein intake
  • A diet high in phytic acid and fibre (present in whole grains)
  • High dietary calcium or calcium supplements

If you tick multiple boxes from the list above, you need to pay specific attention to eating foods rich in magnesium and consider supplementing your body in magnesium as well.

ARE ALL FORMS OF MAGNESIUM EQUAL?  WHAT IS MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE?

You may know that Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate and promote relaxation.  But magnesium chloride is gaining recognition through the research of Dr Shealy – amongst others – as being a more effective form of magnesium, better assimilated by the body.

Magnesium chloride is generally available as an oil and as bath flakes (we also provide it in gel form, blended with organic aloe vera).  Our oil is produced from the evaporation of ultra-pure unpolluted deep seawater, without the addition of any artificial additives or ingredients.

TRANSDERMAL ABSORPTION OF MAGNESIUM

Dr Shealy recognised that magnesium can be absorbed very well through the skin – magnesium chloride bath flakes are an excellent way of doing this, as well as massaging magnesium chloride oil or gel directly to the skin.

Tip: Magnesium chloride gel or oil may be used on the back of the neck and shoulders for a relaxing massage, on the legs and feet to stimulate the lymph system, or on the abdomen to stimulate the digestive system.

Magnesium chloride oil has been found to be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream when applied to the skin. This is a valuable way of absorbing vital magnesium, particularly for those with digestive problems who cannot absorb minerals such as magnesium very well when supplemented orally.

You can also apply a magnesium oil compress to any area of the body:

  • soak a thin cotton cloth in magnesium oil, wring out any excess
  • apply and cover with cling wrap to keep in place.  Cover with a hot water bottle or heated pad to help with absorption.

Our in-depth look at magnesium started here, and finally ends here to look at diet and research.

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