Magnesium: Why It Should Be Your Favourite Mineral & How to Up Your Intake

Do  you struggle with falling asleep, staying asleep, anxiety, bloating, and/or constipation? I’m shouting out to all of my perimenopausal peeps…and my menopausal peeps…and anyone suffering with PMS. So, I guess this one is for pretty much any woman! If you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, magnesium should become your new favourite mineral…if that’s even a thing…? Magnesium is a particularly important mineral for women, mostly because we spend a lot of time uber stressed and stress depletes what the body has in storage (as does sugar, alcohol and pop). I’ve had great success with relief of these symptoms (and more) both from adding magnesium-rich foods to my diet and with a magnesium supplement. 

How can a simple mineral make my life oh-so-much better, you ask? It’s a beautiful thing!

Magnesium is an integral part of over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body…300!  It helps control and regulate things like blood pressure, digestion, emotional health, hormone balance…to name just a few. In the process of researching remedies for my issues (PMS irritability and insomnia), I’ve learned about so many more things magnesium can help with. Some symptoms that may indicate your body could be lacking in magnesium include:

  • Fatigue/trouble sleeping – this was one of my most noticeable symptoms, as I have struggled with fatigue and falling asleep for much of my life. Not anymore! Magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping your body to feel relaxed and calm – especially helpful before bed. It regulates melatonin (the sleep hormone) and quiets the nervous system to get your body ready to shut down and sleep tight. The magnesium supplement I take at night is Natural Calm magnesium citrate (highly absorbable by the body). It’s a drink powder that can be made hot or cold…I love to drink it warm, before bed. Between this drink and my essential oil Super Sleep Blend, I’ve been sleeping like a baby – my husband is amazed at how little I toss and turn all night! 
  • Restless legs – if you’re someone that experiences this, you know just how freaking annoying it is to be woken during the night feeling like the skin on your legs is crawling on the inside! Ugh! Magnesium promotes relaxation in the body, so it works to relax your muscles and prevent restless legs. Besides the Natural Calm supplement, I’ve had success using this magnesium oil. I keep it on my bedside table and just rub it on my legs. Another magnesium oil line that comes highly recommended (and is local – bonus!) is Nourished Magnesium.
  • High blood pressure – it relaxes your mind and your muscles, so it’s really no surprise magnesium can help to relax blood vessels, preventing them from constricting. How great is it that something as simple as a mineral (safe and low-cost) can help with a problem affecting so many people?
  • Anxiety, Depression magnesium helps to regulate the body’s use of GABA, a calming, feel-good amino acid. If your body is lacking magnesium, it’s not able to use GABA effectively which can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression (or worsen them). 
  •  Bloating, Constipation – magnesium is necessary for proper digestion, so if you suffer from digestive troubles, low magnesium might be the cause. It plays an integral part in the formation of digestive enzymes, from your mouth all the way through to your intestines. If your Mg stores are low, your body will not be able to digest food properly. For constipation, magnesium citrate (Natural Calm) helps by relaxing the muscles in your bowel and pulling water into the intestines. This softens stool and helps it to pass more easily.  
  • Hormone balance – sufficient magnesium levels are key to hormone balance because it helps to regulate cortisol and calm the central nervous system. When cortisol levels are better regulated, the body can better regulate and balance all other hormones in the body.
So now you know what to look for, but how can you increase the magnesium stores in my body?
Start with having a look at your diet. There are so many foods that will boost magnesium stores in the bod: 
  • leafy greens (spinach, kale arugula)
  • cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts)
  • fruit (avocado, banana, raspberries)
  • nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin, hemp, flax)
  • legumes (if not on an anti-inflammatory protocol)
  • fish (salmon, tuna)
  • dark chocolate (yay!), 

and eating them regularly will provide you with a ton of benefits besides increasing magnesium…many birds with one stone!

Adding these foods to your diet and keeping them there is the first step to increase your magnesium stores, but to get them to a point where you’ll start to notice significant symptom relief, you’ll need to add a supplement as well. When choosing a supplement,  I recommend you look for magnesium glycinate or citrate, as they’re very well absorbed by the body. I also recommend you steer clear of magnesium oxide as it’s poorly absorbed and tends to run right through ya! I can’t say enough about how effectively the products I use (listed above) work when I can’t fall asleep, feel agitated and restless, and also with occasional constipation. My girls find the Natural Calm works wonders to help them fall asleep when they’re super stressed about school. 

If you’re frustrated dealing with the irritating symptoms many women deal with on a daily basis (and just keep “sucking it up” because we think we have to), give magnesium a try. Just be sure to consult your doctor before starting any supplement, particularly if you’re taking any medications. I think you’ll be impressed at how effectively it helps ease the troubles I’ve listed in this post and more.

To help you increase those magnesium stores, here’s a fantastic recipe I found on Arugula and Fennel Salad (with lemon vinaigrette dressing). Give it a try and let me know what you think!