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  • Carla Evans

Magnesium - to supplement or not to supplement

I know you've all been eating lots of high magnesium foods this week - so when do we choose to take a supplement and what type of supplement is best?

There are many reasons you may need more magnesium than the RDI:

  • athletes who do a lot of training

  • arthritis

  • chronic fatigue

  • excess coffee consumption

  • Type II Diabetes Mellitus or insulin resistance

  • emotional stress, anxiety or depression

  • heart failure or heart disease

  • high blood pressure

  • high fat, sugar or refined grain intake

  • kidney stones

  • breastfeeding

  • pancreatitis

  • adrenal overactivity

  • alcoholism

  • asthma

  • bursitis

  • bone spurs

  • constipation

  • sleep issues

  • muscle cramps

  • osteoporosis

  • menstrual issues

  • restless legs syndrome and more!

There are also many medications that affect magnesium levels. Some decrease its absorption, some increase its excretion, some reduce blood levels of magnesium and some reduce tissue levels of magnesium. They include but are not limited to: antibiotics (specific ones), diuretics, corticosteroids, oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, laxatives, Thyroxine. Do some research on your specific medications to find out if this may be an issue for you and chat with your naturopath or nutritionist about whether magnesium may be beneficial for you.

There are different types of magnesium supplements.

Oral supplements:

These include capsules, tablets, powders and liquids. The main two types of magnesium that have the best absorption are Magnesium Citrate and Magnesium Glycinate. Personally I find a powder feels like it absorbs better but ultimately it is whatever is easiest for you to take. A fairly standard dose is 300-400mg of elemental magnesium. This might be written as:

  • Magnesium (from magnesium citrate) 400mg or

  • Magnesium citrate 2.58g equivalent to Magnesium 400mg

If it says Magnesium citrate 400mg, there will be hardly any magnesium in it.

There are two practitioner brands of magnesium that test up the most in clinic. BioMedica Mag Duo Powder and Magnesium Diasporal Powder (individual sachets). These can be ordered online for you but as they're practitioner brands I have to authorise it so just let me know if you're interested. There are plenty of other brands out there that you can try as well, just look for the right type of magnesium - citrate or glycinate.

Topical Magnesium:

These include sprays, oils, creams, gels and roll ons. Over the past few years topical magnesium has become very popular and for good reason. Magnesium is very well absorbed through the skin. These products are usually magnesium chloride based. If you have sensitive skin you may get an itching or tingly sensation with the oils and sprays which can be alleviated by mixing the spray/oil with a neutral oil or moisturiser. Read the label to see how many sprays or how much cream you need to get a dose of approximately 300mg magnesium. I love Amazing Oils magnesium spray as they source the magnesium in Australia and it feels like it works really quickly - great for tight shoulders and tight calves!

Magnesium Baths:

This is another great way to absorb magnesium through the skin. Magnesium salts or flakes may be magnesium chloride or magnesium sulphate (Epsom Salts). Magnesium bath salts may be made in a laboratory or come from naturally occurring sources such as salt lakes so always check. Nourished life has some good information about the different types of salts. The main difference is the magnesium chloride salts are absorbed more efficiently by the body but both do a great job.

Fun fact: 2 1/2 cups (600g) of magnesium salts in a 60L bath is 10000ppm. The level of magnesium in the ocean is approximately 1300ppm.

Overall, when we look at the many body processes that need magnesium, the multitude of health issues that require more magnesium and the likely soil depletion of magnesium we would probably all benefit from some additional magnesium in our lives. Whether it's a magnesium bath twice a week or a daily supplement will depend on your individual needs so have a chat with your naturopath or nutritionist about what would be most beneficial for you.

Happy relaxing!

Carla :)

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