Feel stressed? Tired? Tense? Because if you do, chances are your body is having a tough time getting enough magnesium.
Variously called the Relaxer and the Lamp of Life, magnesium is a mineral we hear a lot about, but that few of us have sufficient stores of. According to Dr. Bernard Jensen, David Wolfe, Dr. Sircus, and a long list of experts, today’s farm soil is terribly deficient in this key macro mineral, causing it to be available in only trace amounts.
Unlike iodine or vitamin B12, we don’t recycle or re-use magnesium to a great extent in the body, and much of what we get goes to protecting our nerves from ambient light stimulation (TVs, computers, traffic, fluorescent lighting, on and on), as well as the entire body from stress responses, fear, anxiety, pollution, metal toxicity, and various microbes. In a more natural environment, magnesium’s primary duty is to catalyze (speed the process of) metabolism – giving us the ability to digest our food and put it to use – and to act as a crucial electrolyte to keep our nerves and muscles stable, preventing tremors, shakes, and spasms.
Whenever you’re dealing with electricity, whether it’s in a telephone wire or your body, you need some sort of insulator. Simply put, with electrical energy coursing through a wire, or a space, or your nerves, you have to keep it on track. How does your body do this? By blocking all other paths, you can assure the electricity will travel exactly where you want it to, just like using walls in a maze. Two things help to “insulate” in the body to direct electrical energy and keep us healthy and energetic: fat and magnesium. (Of course, it gets more complicated than that, but those are the very basics.)
And that brings us to food sources of magnesium. Where do we get it? Funnily enough, fat and magnesium team up a lot in foods. In fact, besides whole grains, nuts and seeds are the most common sources of magnesium, and they also happen to be high in heart healthy fats! Used to, when the world was a little cleaner and we farmed virgin soils, yellow corn and all sorts of grains made sure we got plenty of this mineral. But as time went on, only the most powerful magnesium-collecting plants remained good sources. These days, so much magnesium is required by the body to prevent illness and combat daily stressors that it’s almost required we supplement with non-food magnesium. In truth, most people can’t attain true health without some sort of magnesium supplement, especially if they’re consuming caffeine, smoking, exercising regularly, or doing anything else that increases our need for the relaxer mineral. But it’s not impossible to keep your levels up!
- Muscle tremors, shakes, and spasms
- Mood swings (especially after meal time)
- Sluggish digestion
- Chronic dehydration
- Nerve disorders
- Depression, anxiety, and stress (also panic attacks)
- Physical weakness
- Cardiovascular disease
- Low threshold for pain
- Irritability (often unjustified)
- Liver and kidney disease
- Bowel disease
- Weakened immunity
And the list goes on! The most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency that people notice involve anxiety, insomnia, muscular weakness, and heart problems. Bowel problems (like irregularity and frequent constipation) are also very common. That doesn’t mean the other problems aren’t occurring, though; whereas insomnia or anxiety are hard to ignore, most people neglect to notice low immunity and bowel problems.
Some ways to protect your magnesium:
- Use electronics less. Electronics like phones, televisions, and computers stimulate the brain and nerves, causing more magnesium to be required by your body. If you have to choose times to cut out your electronics, pick the morning or night – during both of these times, your body is more sensitive to this sort of stimulation.
- Eat ‘whole food’. Whereas healthy fats usually come with magnesium, bad carbs like sugar and starch cause your body to lose magnesium. The best way to avoid this is to eat more home cooked meals using fresh ingredients! “Starch” in an ingredient list may eventually deplete your stores of magnesium… but sweet potatoes have a very small impact on magnesium, and often improve your health. “Sugar” is the same as “starch,” but fresh fruit and raw honey are both immune-boosting, and help you to hold on to your magnesium in the long run. Whole grains, especially rice and amaranth, are great for helping to increase magnesium!
- Simmer down. This applies to every aspect of life! To keep magnesium, our Lamp of Life, it’s important for us to drop unnecessary stressors, grudges, anger, and anxieties. It’s easy said than done, of course, but breathing techniques, meditation, yoga – even just 5 minutes of quiet time – can all help. Whenever you feel stressed or angry, try drinking a full glass of water! And above all, try to get 7+ hours of sleep. (I’m a fan of 9, myself.)
And in the case you’re having a hard time protecting your magnesium and getting it from food…
Magnesium Oil is a great option for those who feel like magnesium makes their bowels too active. Try massaging a 1/2 teaspoon into spasming, achy muscles before a shower. You can also add a small amount to water and take it internally with or without food.
ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops also contain a large amount of magnesium, and help to improve your all-around nutrition. Add several drops to food in place of salt, rub it on your skin, or take it plain mixed into water for full benefits!
Plenty of companies sell their own magnesium formulations, and while everyone reacts best to different types of this mineral, magnesium citrate (like Natural Calm) and Chelated Magnesium are my next favorite sources. Adventurous individuals can even attempt to make their own Magnesium Bicarbonate by following online guides. But whatever supplement you choose, start slow and work your way up in dose; just like being dehydrated in a desert, when you have magnesium deficiency, the best thing to do is re-introduce it into your body gradually, because it can only process so much at once.
Hopefully everyone here takes my advice and protects their magnesium. Without enough, it’s almost pointless to to try improving your health in other ways. Magnesium really is The Lamp of Life, especially in the modern, civilized, technological age!
-Various: Books & Website, The Lamp of Life (Dr. Sircus)
-Chemistry of Man (Dr. Bernard Jensen)
-Various: Books and Presentations, Magnesium, Stress (David Wolfe)
-FAQS: Magnesium (askanaturopath.com/faqs/magnesium)