January 1, 2017

This Mineral helps me Handle Stress & Sleep Better.

Magnesium could be the magical missing mineral to maximize your ideal health and weight.

Magnesium plays a crucial role in over 300 fundamental biochemical reactions in our bodies that regulate everything from energy, aging, stress, sleep, weight and depression.

According to the World Health Organization 75% of Americans do not meet the recommended daily intake (RDI) of magnesium. That’s a huge missing piece if your magnesium levels are below average.

As a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner I see magnesium deficiency in just about every client I work with. As a result, almost all of them are suffering from poor sleep, the inability to handle stress and chronic inflammation that causes discomfort and pain.

Case in point, my own husband, who sarcastically nicknamed his magnesium supplement the “nightmare pills” when he started taking them. And not because they were giving him nightmaresbut because once he started taking magnesium he experienced more frequent and vivid dreams. These dreams were a result of having better quality REM sleep, where dreams take place. Having better quality REM sleep can prolong your life and health, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

As a long-time runner, avid weight lifter and someone who has suffered from adrenal fatigue, magnesium has also had a large impact on my personal health. Supplementing with magnesium or using a topical magnesium lotion has helped me naturally recover from long distance runs more quickly, and soothes any muscle aches and pains without the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Magnesium also plays a major role in regulating cortisol, the stress hormone that significantly impacts weight gain or loss, and our “happy hormone” serotonin. Increasing my daily intake of magnesium has been a critical part of healing my adrenal fatigue and lowering anxiety. A few days without it and I instantly notice a difference.

The majority of my clients experience the same benefits once we add more magnesium rich foods and supplements to their diet in addition to removing any lifestyle or environmental factors that rob them of magnesium.

So where did all the magnesium go?

Most modern conventional farming practices have drained our soil, leaving it depleted it of its natural magnesium. Many hybrid plants are bred to survive on low levels of magnesium, reducing the magnesium in non-organic food sources.  And water that used to be a good source of magnesium is now treated with fluoride, which ends up creating a mineral compound that just gets deposited in the bones and actually increases brittleness and the risk of fractures.

In addition to decreased magnesium in food sources, certain dietary and environmental factors can also strip your body of magnesium too:



Processed foods


Metal fillings in your mouth

Chemical exposure

Birth control pills and other medications

So how can you tell if you’re magnesium deficient?

There is a long list of health issues and symptoms associated with magnesium deficiency that a doctor or a functional health practitioner can test.

Some of the most common indicators include: 

Poor sleep or Insomnia

Carbohydrate cravings

Low energy, especially in the afternoon

Headaches and feelings of high stress

Anxiety, depression, inability to deal with stress

Muscle soreness, spasms/cramps and visible inflammation 

Since magnesium deficiency affects 75% of Americans, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were affected too. Setting up your magnesium insurance policy is the best way to correct the issue or make sure you don’t become part of the statistic. 

How can you get in more magical magnesium?  

There are a variety of different ways to get optimal levels of magnesium. Luckilymagnesium can be absorbed through the skin or from foods. Some of the best ways to boost your magnesium include:

Epsom salt baths and scrubs 

Drink spring or deep well water 

Take a good quality mineral supplement daily 

Eating organic fruits and veggies, enriched by good soil 

Moisturize with a magnesium infused lotion or oil 

Cook or flavor food with sea salt instead of table salt 

Magnesium is often not well absorbed by the digestive system, especially if you have leaky gut or low Vitamin D.  So it’s ideal to incorporate a few different magnesium sources regularly. 

To benefit from enhanced magnesium absorption, it’s best to look at the overall picture of your health and to eliminate the potential culprits stripping you of this magical mineral in the first place.  If you find that you need help, locate a functional medicine practitioner in your area or a functional health coach to help you get to the bottom of it.  

Magnesium can make all the difference in the world when it comes to feeling great, losing weight and looking your best.


Author: Jenn Malecha

Image: flickr/Tomomi Maruyama

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

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