Does magnesium deficiency add to your symptoms of chronic illness and/or fibromyalgia? Do you have cramps, foggy brain, IBS, sleep disturbances and more?
Check out the following information on magnesium which will fill in some of the blanks for you. Discover symptoms you may not know are related as well as what forms to use for what challenges.
Be sure to read to the end for my personal usage tips and recommendations!
Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms to Watch For (*Wink*Wink*)
Muscles: Weakness, Tightness, Pain, Restless Legs, Spasms, and Cramps
Muscle spasms and cramps are a pain in the calf, foot, toes, shins, ankles, and everywhere else they’re experienced. I’ve written about them at length in this post, Fibromyalgia Leg Cramps and Spasms (along with 49 Remedies – in addition to magnesium).
Muscle pain and tightness can also reflect a magnesium deficiency.
And don’t forget the muscles in your face. Have eye twitches every driven you crazy? Perhaps you’ve even been accused of winking at someone? Magnesium deficiency can definitely contribute to this type of spastic muscle problem.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), Arrhythmias, Angina, Irregular Heart Beat
The heart is, after all, a muscle. Just like other muscles in the body, the heart is affected by magnesium deficiency. Using magnesium (or any other self-directed protocol) to treat Afib, arrhythmias or any other heart-related condition should be approached under the guidance of your physician.
Emotions: Anxiety, Panic, Depression, Stress, Migraines
Magnesium isn’t referred to the Calming Mineral for naught. Magnesium (among a few other key minerals) has been shown to help reduce anxiety, improve depression, and lessen the impact of panic attacks. It can lessen the intensity and frequency of migraines. For more information on headaches and migraines, including potential causes and remedies, check out my three-part article HERE.
Another key factor is its ability to reduce stress hormones in the body.
As mentioned above, magnesium – the calming mineral – helps the body to relax by releasing tension in the muscles. This general “feel good” state of relaxation helps in many ways. Besides helping to alleviate the tightness of stress and anxiety, this sense of relaxation can help with falling asleep … and staying asleep for the night.
High Blood Pressure / Hypertension
The connection between high blood pressure and magnesium deficiency have been studied for decades. Direct links between magnesium supplementation and stabilized blood pressure levels have been shown.
Estrogen and testosterone levels are directly affected by magnesium deficiencies. When magnesium is present, a shift in this dysregulation can occur and one benefit may be proper hormone levels.
Other Mineral Deficiencies
Magnesium is a “master” mineral that helps the body to process many other minerals. It works synergistically with other key nutrients, helping them to absorb and metabolize efficiently.
Fatigue / Reduced Energy
Feeling sluggish, fatigued, and depleted of energy is nothing I have to describe to those with fibromyalgia and chronic illness. We all know it far too well.
The chronic illness body’s inability to restore energy is a common and frustrating problem. While magnesium deficiency isn’t the only factor in this complex issue, it’s worth taking a look.
Constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Aching Joints
If your process of elimination (BMs) tends to be on the less frequent side of things, or swings from one extreme to another, a magnesium deficiency may play as a contributor.
Stress-induced magnesium deficiency can have a profound effect on the bowels which in turn impacts the joints and muscles.
Magnesium to the Rescue!*
At a glance, the above symptoms could have you believe that magnesium can fix nearly every malady of chronic illness there is.
It’s no wonder that
fibromyalgia and chronic illness
are often listed as SYMPTOMS
of magnesium deficiency.
Cue dramatic music background and a clip of a steed-mounted knight coming at full speed. He stops in a cloud of dust before a damsel in distress gallantly offering a toothy smile and a bottle of Fibro-Mag.
Um, not happening.
Sure, it would be nice if a simple remedy such as magnesium could alleviate every symptom of the chronic illness body.
Fixing every symptom is a great goal.
But what if a boost of magnesium could help you work toward that goal? As you practice and experiment, you’ll discover what works for you and what may not have as profound an effect.
*It should be noted that magnesium supplementation can have an impact on the uptake of some pharmaceutical medications including antibiotics, and those for osteoporosis and thyroid support. Please seek the counsel of your physician if you’re currently taking prescription medications.
Add Magnesium to Your Meals
Getting more magnesium into your body can be achieved through foods, internal supplements, and topical application. Foods are always an ideal way to augment your body’s intake of this vital nutrient.
A partial list of foods rich in magnesium:
Kelp, almonds, brazil nuts, dulse, millet, pecans, walnuts, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, spinach, black beans, avocado, parsley, beans, dandelion greens, garlic, and dark chocolate … yes, I saved the best for last!
(For more on the benefits of dark chocolate and what new research has to say about its gut-healing properties, check out THIS popular article I wrote for ProHealth.)
For supplementation and topical options, read on.
Which Magnesium Is Right?
This part of the equation used to be super confusing to me. Isn’t one type of magnesium just as good as another? After all, some bottles just list “magnesium” as the main ingredient.
I’ve tried them all.
I’ve tried too many different brands and products and haven’t always had predictable results. I’ve slathered on lotions, oils, soaps, and creams all purporting to help my magnesium uptake.
I’ve swallowed more pills than I care to think of. Big ones, medium ones, capsules, and horse-sized tablets. It makes sense to me now that I might not have always take the right form of magnesium for the symptom I was trying to address.
For this reason, I’ve compiled a list that helps me explain to my clients which form may be helpful to them. It helps to look at the different forms of magnesium in relation to the symptoms at hand.
I hope you find it useful, too.
Whether these forms of magnesium are listed on your supplement bottle or topical product label, you can now refer to the following for a little guidance on usage.
Very well tolerated, well-absorbed, so it has a non-laxative effect, used for calming, relaxation, sleep, and hormone balance.
Low absorption making it ideal as a mild laxative for constipation and IBS concerns.
Often found in Epsom salts – good for muscle relaxation and ease of aches and pains. Food grade Epsom (without other added ingredients) may be taken internally as an effective and mild laxative.
A blend of several forms of magnesium compounded to achieve peak bioavailability. Depending on the forms of magnesium included, this is a great all-purpose supplement.
Good for brain health, reduction of anxiety, neurotransmitter balance, cardiovascular benefits, calming, and sleep.
Often recommended for fibromyalgia and chronic illness as it’s shown to improve fatigue. Helps to make ATP (an energy module) as it bonds with magnesium for synthesis.
Can cross the blood / brain barrier aiding with synapse formation making it an excellent choice for concentration and memory issues. A non-laxative form.
This form is used both in supplemental form and in topical solutions such as oils, lotions, sprays, and gels. Transdermal application can be particularly effective for muscle cramps and spasms and does not have a laxative effect.
Magnesium Personal Tips
It now may be a bit clearer why you may or may not have achieved your desired results with magnesium supplementation. For example, taking Epsom salt baths to improve memory wouldn’t be as practical as the go-to “brain” form of magnesium l-threonate.
Now that we’ve gone through the various forms, I’d like to add a footnote on my own experimentation. If you’ve read my series on leg cramps (found HERE), or have known me since I was 11 years old, you’d know that I’ve had more than my fair share of leg cramps. I’ve tried every form of magnesium known to man (or to me).
Topical application is supposed to be more effective for cramps than supplementation, so besides the pills and tablets, I’ve tried oils, sprays, and lotions. These have all left my legs stinging and burning to the point of wanting to douse my legs in fire retardant.
This past summer, I happened upon a lovely Farmer’s Market in a seaside village. I met up with the kind people from Raw Revelations and got schooled on topical blends.
I explained – briefly – my experience with magnesium oils and the practitioner said, “Wow, you must really be deficient. Your body probably just doesn’t absorb magnesium well.”
A voice of reason.
He recommended a squeeze bottle of gel that includes magnesium chloride as well as aloe vera, seaweed extract, and a lovely blend of essential oils.
I purchased a bottle and have been very happy. I’d love to say that I haven’t had a single foot/leg cramp since, but that’s not the case — although they’ve greatly reduced. I still need to tweak my regimen of too much sitting, walking too late in the evening, and wearing different shoes. Even wearing one pair of tennies one day and another the next can bring on foot cramps.
So, it’s not entirely dialed in for me (yet). I still hold out hope.
However, here’s a BIG win. This gel does not make me reach for the fire extinguisher. In fact, I don’t feel tingling/burning at all. That’s a huge success for me.
Additionally, here’s another tip that could have saved me much anguish. I was told that if magnesium oil applied topically ever causes unpleasant tingling or burning, you can apply coconut or your favorite oil on top to soothe the problem.
The things we wish we’d known.
Anyway, that’s my tip for the day. Here’s a photo of the bottle of Raw Revelations Magnesium Gel. I’ve not been paid or asked to recommend this product and my inclusion of it here comes from my own experience.
UPDATE: I’ve recently been using a new product that was brought to my attention by Mike at Magnesium Lotions. (This is my affiliate link.) I love to support small businesses that are doing amazing things. I’m happy to report very promising results so far. I’ll write more on this product soon. I LOVE the simple ingredients in a composition that’s easy to apply and doesn’t burn, tingle, or itch. Yippee!
It’s time for you to share yours.
What’s your favorite form of magnesium and what have you tried?
Share your experience in the comments below and help to build this Rebuilding Wellness community’s arsenal of useful info!