Magnesium is something I use frequently in my practice, and in my life. I've had patients tell me it single-handedly changed their lives. But what does this little old element do for people exactly? Well, quite a lot actually.
First off, there are several formulations of magnesium and the form you're taking could not be more important. Most magnesium you buy at your local pharmacy is formulated for one simple thing, to help relieve constipation. Hey, I'm not downplaying the miserable nature of this ailment, but you can get more bang for your buck if you invest in a different form. Standard pharmacy magnesium pulls water into your gut allowing a good flush out result but if you buy magnesium citrate , I find it is a perfect balance of pulling water into your gut but more importantly, absorbing into your bloodstream.
This is when things get interesting, when it makes its way to your brain a few remarkable things happen. First off, it promotes the release of GABA, your relaxation neurotransmitter and it blocks glutamate receptors, the excitatory neurotransmitter people with anxiety battle. In short, it works a lot like a valium in these ways. All the while still relieving constipation but in a much more gentle fashion.
So who needs magnesium? I find most people are deficient and can benefit from it simply because of the lack of well rounded nutrient intake in the foods we eat. If you have these three symptoms, you can bet you're deficient: anxiety, constipation, and muscle tension. For anxiety, I tell people they can take on an as needed basis, much like they would a valium. It takes around 45 minutes to kick in, lasts 3-4 hours and there's no compromise in cognition like there would be with a valium. Not to mention no risk for addiction. You can even dose multiple times during the day. For insomnia, I have patients take a higher dose about an hour before bed and is excellent for the mid-night awakeners as it only lasts a few hours and if need be, you can still wake up a couple hours later with no significant lasting fatigue. Or the occasional person experiencing restless leg syndrome can certainly benefit.
Sound to good to be true? Give some a try but brands and formulations do matter. The kind I have had the most success with is Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Citrate and you can find it in the store on my website.
Be well-live well,
These are the musings of McCall McPherson, Keep up with the latest in food, genetics, and real life by signing up below!