By TONI CHER GERDELAN 25/05/17
As a qualified nutritionist, I take my fair share, ok a LION’S SHARE, of good quality supplements. I’m often asked why I do, when one of the basic premises of nutritional medicine is “Food is medicine”. And yes, that’s true, though you need to know that our food isn’t as rich in all the essential nutrients these days due to increasingly diminished soil quality. Throw into the mix how fresh our food is, plus cooking methods destroying many nutrients, you may wonder why bother at all! This certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t choose whole food, preferably organic, at every opportunity to nourish our bodies…we should as when we do this we crowd out all the nasties that can have a very negative effect on our bodies.
Are you deficient in my favourite mineral?
Tired? Low mood? Total lack of enthusiasm? Just struggling to drag yourself through the day…and then you find it difficult to fall &/or stay asleep…
Did you answer yes to any of the questions above? Or maybe even all of them, I certainly used to!
If you drink coffee, tea &/or alcohol, you’re most likely deficient. Throw sugar into the mix and now you’re even more deficient. These substances all cause our bodies to excrete our precious magnesium like crazy!
Then just add work, family, worry and well modern day life!
Many common pharmaceutical drugs including the oral contraceptive pill & hormone replacement therapy sadly also contribute to magnesium deficiency.
Whether we realise it or not, we are all living in a state of constant stress and nervous system overload, which in effect means you are deficient in magnesium.
To navigate modern life our poor already overloaded nervous systems are in absolute overdrive, which means that our bodies, our very cells, are churning through and excreting magnesium like nobody’s business, leaving us depleted and deficient.
Consider this, when you’re stressed (which is pretty much all day every day in these modern times) you’re body dumps magnesium because it doesn’t want you to be relaxed in the face of “danger” aka STRESS.
When we’re deficient in magnesium we are far more likely to be prone to anxiety, apathy, depression and fatigue.
And why oh WHY is depression on the rise? Well, Liebscher and Liebscher, 2004 suggest that magnesium deficiency is a huge contributing factor. In my clinical experience, I have also noticed that low magnesium can also lead to or exacerbate anxiety, post natal depression, chronic fatigue, asthma, ADHD, PMS, PCOS along with perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms.
And if that wasn’t enough craziness for you, did you know that being stressed directly relates to increased belly fat???
Now for the Good News…
Magnesium is your hormones bestie!
Magnesium can be summed up in 2 words: energy and relaxation. It’s the original CHILL PILL, plus the energy that fuels you on a cellular level.
Better for you, and far more effective than a double shot latte with a Xanax chaser any day.
- manages the stress response
- calms the nervous system
- improves sleep quality
- slows aging
- increases energy
- supports healthy thyroid function
- balances blood sugar (this means fewer sugar and carb cravings!)
- helps weight loss (see above)
- protects against osteoporosis, heart disease and tooth cavities
- promotes hormonal balance
- relieves constipation
- I could keep going but I won’t!
In short it’s a wonder mineral!
Hook Me Up! My 3 Fave Ways:
#1. Supplement, supplement, supplement!
If you only do one thing, supplementation should be it. Doing all 3 will totally supercharge your results!
The really wonderful thing about taking oral magnesium is that the quality of your life can improve pretty quickly, especially if you’re taking a high quality supplement. Initially I generally recommend a therapeutic dose to build up your magnesium stores, this amount would vary from person to person. There are some amazing and varied products on the market so it can get a little confusing, though a good rule of thumb is DO NOT buy it from the supermarket. Your best bet is to go to your local health food shop &/or speak to an accredited health professional, especially if you’re currently taking any pharmaceutical medication (there may be contraindications).
#2. Eat Your Leafy Greens (and chocolate too!)
Here’s a yummy quick way to combine a bunch of magnesium-rich foods in one yummy hormone-balancing gulp…
Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Vegan & Paleo friendly
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup cashew or almond milk
- 1-2 frozen bananas
- 1 fresh pitted dates
- 1-2 heaped tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp powdered vanilla bean or sugar free vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp almond or cashew butter
OPTIONAL MAGNESIUM-RICH EXTRAS:
- 1-2 tsp maca powder
- sprinkle with hemp seeds (I got mine here)
- blend all ingredients until smooth & creamy & DELICIOUS!
#3. Have a Bath!
Throw in 1-2 cups epsom salts or magnesium flakes, plus 10-15 drops of your fave essential oils…and relax! Through the skin is a fun and awesome way to top up your magnesium stores. Doing it before bed is best, as it will put you in a state of pure relaxation!
There you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed my cheat’s sheet guide to the wonders of magnesium! How are you planning to get more into your life?
Liebscher, D. and Liebscher, D. (2004). About the Misdiagnosis of Magnesium Deficiency. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23(6), pp.730S-731S.