A Layman’s Lowdown on Magnesium
If you suffer from chronically tight muscles or periodic muscle cramps in your hands, legs or feet – magnesium lotion might offer a simple solution.
The National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements, or ODS, (http://ods.od.nih.gov/) states that magnesium is a trace mineral required for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body. It’s necessary for every major biological process, including the production of cellular energy, the synthesis of proteins, as well as muscle contractions and nerve impulses.
According to Dr. Russell B. Marz, a naturopathic physician and author of the textbook "Medical Nutrition From Marz," if you are deficient in magnesium, you may experience fatigue, irritability, weakness, elevated blood pressure, nerve conduction problems, and loss of appetite, anxiety and muscle tightness or spasms.
Therefore, tense, tight muscles tell you what? That's right, you could have a magnesium deficiency. You might not have enough magnesium in your system to cause your tense muscles to relax.
Why are so many of us deficient in magnesium? Researchers believe his deficiency might be caused in part by the increase in processed foods, particularly carbohydrate foods. This, combined with intense exercise, can significantly deplete this important mineral from our bodies.
Deficiencies can also be caused by excessive caffeine, sugar or alcohol. Even drinking soft water, eating food grown in mineral-deficient soils, cooking and boiling whole foods, and the inevitable aging process add to the problem.
Because there are so many possible causes of magnesium deficiency, essentially no one is completely risk free. At greater risk are women -- particularly athletic and/or post-menopausal women -- and the elderly. And, athletes who, of course, require more energy, or ATP, can deplete magnesium at alarming rates.
According to researchers, most Americans have at least a minor magnesium deficiency. Average daily intake in the U.S. is estimated to be just above 200 mg daily, which is well below even the RDA. Between 250 and 500 mg is typically recommended for healthy adults. Intensely training athletes, though, may require 500 to 1,000 mg daily for optimal results.
Magnesium should be taken in combination with other minerals, such as in a high-quality multivitamin/mineral formula, in three divided doses per day. Optimal absorption requires certain "acids" in the stomach, so it should be taken between meals or before bed.
Muscles need both calcium and magnesium to function properly. Calcium tenses the muscles, while magnesium relaxes them.The calcium-magnesium balance is critical, so when you take calcium, magnesium should also be supplemented because they work cooperatively in the body. Magnesium is typically recommended with double the amount of calcium for proper mineral balance. For example, if you take 500 mg of calcium, you should take 250 mg of magnesium.
Studies have shown that Vitamin B6 taken with magnesium helps increase levels of magnesium "uptake"/absorption within our cells.
Magnesium is very safe, even at high amounts, but people with impaired kidney function shouldn’t use it excessively. While there is no known toxicity from magnesium, all magnesium taken orally is potentially has a laxative effect. As a result, oral supplementation can be inconvenient, to say the least. This is probably why sufficient magnesium is usually not added to multi-vitamins.
Considering these difficulties, topical magnesium is worth a try. Magnesium lotion, the gentlest form of topical magnesium, is delivered through your skin, easily assimilated, and well tolerated. Unless you have sensitive skin, you should have no side effects from using the lotion.
Experts such as Dr. Mark Sircus, Ac. O.M.D., author of the book Transdermal Magnesium Therapy welcome topical magnesium as an exciting new way to enhance your intake.
The upside to massaging a high-quality magnesium lotion into your muscles is that many people get almost immediate relief from cramps, tightness and soreness. It’s not surprising that magnesium lotion is rapidly becoming a favorite among active individuals to prevent muscle cramping, to enhance muscle and nerve function, and to relieve tight, sore muscles.