Magnesium is an important micro-nutrient - it’s needed in over 300 reactions in the body! These reactions produce molecules that regulate your mood, molecules like ATP which are needed to make your muscles contract, and even activate enzymes that turn “on” and “off” parts of your DNA. It really is the kingpin of all minerals in my opinion.
Now, although a magnesium deficiency is pretty rare in healthy individuals (not true for individuals with pre-existing conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism - in which case you really should be getting regular magnesium injections to ensure sufficient levels), it is OFTEN present in SUB-OPTIMAL levels. This is because stress, caffeine, alcohol, and high salt/sugar intake depletes the body’s stores. The symptoms of sub-optimal magnesium levels can be one or more of the following: tight muscles, anxiety, irritability, mental fogginess, muscle spasms, insomnia, and poor nail growth. Sound familiar?
FOOD SOURCES OF MAGNESIUM
Magnesium is found in high amounts in the fibrous capsule of whole grain foods, nuts, legumes, and seeds. This is because plants jam pack nutrients for their future offspring into the capsules so it will have enough nutrients to eventually produce a bud. Spinach and Swiss chard are also high in magnesium. Given that the standard North American diet is high in refined white flours (which remove the fibrous capsule), low in greens, nuts, seeds, and lentils, and is high in caffeine, sugar, and alcohol (foods that deplete magnesium), it then becomes fairly obvious that most of us are at sub-optimal levels.
So, one way to correct these sub-optimal levels is to obviously eat healthier! And that’s definitely going to make you feel better. For many of us however, the chronic consumption of unhealthy foods has changed the atmosphere of the gut. There tends to be low-grade inflammation in our digestive tract, our intestines are populated with more unhealthy bacteria than healthy bacteria, and our nutrient transporters aren’t working as efficiently as they should. When this happens it becomes difficult for magnesium to be adequately absorbed EVEN when eating healthy. That’s why I often recommend cleaning up your diet, and supplementing for a period of time - until your body heals.
From my clinical practice, here are some health conditions that I find can respond great with magnesium supplementation/injection:
High Blood Pressure: In many individuals, magnesium given intravenously (IV) causes an immediate drop in blood pressure. This is because magnesium helps relax your blood vessels. We use this mechanism as one way to treat hypertension.
Anxiety: Magnesium is called the relaxation mineral for a reason! It really can have a powerful effect on someone who is suffering from anxiety to feel a bit of relief.
Migraines: Migraines are thought to be caused by blood vessels in the brain inappropriately contracting and dilating. Magnesium helps regulate dilation, and when given at the correct time, and dose, and help prevent a migraine from being full-blown.
Asthma: There is tons of research on this. Magnesium given intravenously, or through inhalation (through a nebulizer) can have a SIGNIFICANT improvement in asthma symptoms.