The great magnesium shortage
Right now, less than 70% of women and 40% of men in the UK are getting their fair share of magnesium. If you are suffering from poor sleep, muscle knots and tension, fatigue, emotional anxiety, hormone imbalance, or even a modicum of stress (not to mention one of the 22 or so magnesium deficiency triggered ailments) it’s time to think about your magnesium intake.
So, what exactly does it do?
- It provides natural support for a restful sleep
The magic mineral helps you sleep by boosting the receptors that help switch off your brain at night (the GABA receptors). Getting some real zzs also means you’ll enter the R.E.M state of deep sleep that allows us to dream. When we dream big, we can process any unsolved emotional experiences or undealtwithities (definitely a word).
- It helps dissipate stress, muscle and joint pain
A major use for magnesium is to naturally reduce, repair and relax those painful muscle knots and built-up tension, heck it can even help reduce PMT cramps. It helps when we happen to be under periods of stress or anxiety when our body is in its “fight or flight” mode. Whilst we‘re then ready for anything, if our bodies don’t get a chance to relax and recover, muscles will stay fixed in this contracted state and begin to calcify and harden. This is where magnesium’s efforts come in handy to neutralise. Without it, the built-up tension will eventually cause deep pain and mobility problems.
- It moisturises skin
In a study carried out by the Department of Dermatology at The University of Kiel, Germany, they proved that bathing in magnesium helps the skin’s barrier function, hydration and reduced skin roughness and inflammation. It’s also an electrolyte, which helps us maintain healthy fluid levels and therefore hydration, just like our good old more famous (and pricey) friend, coconut water.
- It balances energy and ups cognitive ability
Magnesium levels play a major part in breaking down glucose in the body. If we’re depleted, this process is slowed right down and we become lethargic, exhausted even as our heart rate and oxygen intake increases. If we have the right amount our brains act optimally ensuring maximum cognitive ability. The mineral also has the incredible capacity to calm and neutralise our negative emotions.
Given most adults are magnesium-deficient anyway, add a busy lifestyle into the mix, then you’ll probably going to need some more magnesium fuelled stamina performance and positivity.
Are you getting enough?
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is around 270 milligrams per day for women and 300mg for men, which is just enough to ward off outright deficiency.
High-stress levels, over-use of antibiotics and some other long-term medications, plus if you are partial to imbibing a lot of alcohol, will all go a long way to depleting your magnesium levels as all of these activities ensure you will lose the mineral in your urine.
So you’ve decided you need more magnesium, but how to get it and use it? Well there are a number of different ways.
Food and Supplements
Food which are rich in magnesium include spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt or kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate (yay!), bananas. Taking a good quality supplement can help too.
Bathe, Soak, Spray or Soak
A really great way to efficiently allow the mineral to penetrate the bloodstream is transdermally (through the skin) as when we drink/eat it it's efficacy is diluted with our stomach acid. This is also a fab opportunity for a little self-care ritual (which of course I LOVE!)
You can get your dose in the bath by simply using some some magnesium flakes or epsom salts (from a supermarket or chemist). You can add your favourite essential or bath oil in too. Or you can use a magnesium oil spray . It’s really satisfying to spray it directly onto tight muscles, knots. It most definitely helps promote the zzzs.
One of my favourite methods is to make a foot scrub from aforementioned epsom salts and some relaxing essential oils. It's a lovely way to treat your feet, moisturise them and exfoliate too getting them soft and ready for summer (they certainly need some help!) while gaining the brilliant benefits of magnesium too.
Here is a fab recipe for a simple magnesium foot scrub.
- 1 cup of epsom salts
- 1/4 cup of almond/olive/rapeseed oil
- 10 - 15 drops essential oils (for relaxing a blend of lavender, ylang ylang, rose or geranium is lovely. To refresh your feet a blend of peppermint, grapefruit, rosemary and lemon is zingy and bright for feet and mind!)
In a small bowl, mix the epsom salts and oil. Add your chosen essential oiland mix again (if using, they are optional, leave unscented if you prefer) Store in an airtight jar. Then use a small amount to exfoliate feet or body as needed. Rinse after use.
Enjoy the recipe, and do let me know how you get on.