The mineral that will keep a spring in your step
Many researchers call magnesium ‘the anti-aging mineral’. The body uses magnesium to rest, recover from stress, produce energy, conduct bio-electricity, detox, make new cells and strengthen bones.
Magnesium provides more shock absorbing capacity for bones because it has a strong affinity with water, helping it enter cells. With magnesium present, cells hydrate better, can detoxify more efficiently, and function more optimally via electrical conductance. How are you going to rinse your dishes clean without enough water?
Magnesium is arguably the most important mineral electrolyte in the body because of its central role in the making of our cellular energy batteries – adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – by mitochondria. It has also been found in studies to be a superior natural calcium channel blocker without negative side effects, compared to statin drugs.
Magnesium controls the use of calcium in the body via the guarding of these calcium channels in the cell membrane. When we need to squeeze and use muscles, magnesium comes out of the channels and calcium moves in (as calcium exerts an attractive force).
When we need to relax again, magnesium moves back into the channels and kicks out the calcium, which goes back to the extracellular spaces. With this ebb and flow our muscles contract and relax, contract and relax etc. If magnesium levels get too low, we can get stuck in the contraction mode.
Another unwanted side effect of low magnesium is that bone cells can start to leak out their calcium stores. This is because the body can use calcium as an acid buffering mineral if the body’s magnesium reserves get too low and there isn’t enough antioxidant activity to counteract the acids being produced by metabolism. This is the beginning of osteoporosis.
You will notice that sites of injury or inflammation in the body tend to attract more calcium deposits, making us harder and crunchier over time. It can manifest as bone spurs, stiff ligaments and joints, kidney stones and even hardened arterial linings, which push up blood pressure.
Magnesium helps electrical and nervous system conductance in the body. It also helps manage the fluidity of our blood circulation and lymph system, in conjunction with sulphur compounds that depend on magnesium, like glutathione. Magnesium and water are a fantastic pair of biological super heroes that help to keep us younger, more flexible and ‘juicier’ longer!
Whilst recommended daily magnesium minimum recommended is generally around 300-400mg, there is a wide spectrum of needs for optimal (best) magnesium supply for good health.
For example, if you are young and don’t suffer from too much stress or excessive physical exertion, and if you have a balanced diet of fresh foods and avoidance of chemicals, then 300mg or 400mg of daily magnesium may be sufficient for you to maintain good health.
However, if you do excessive exercise or have high levels of stress in your life – as with shift working and sleep deprivation – then you may need 1,000mg per day. It’s pretty hard to get high amounts of magnesium out of diet alone, as the magnesium content of foods has dropped significantly over the last 50 years.
We are also all different in our magnesium needs, which may fluctuate daily. If you have a day of physical hard work outside in the hot sun and you perspire a lot, you will have lost excessive amounts of electrolytes in sweat.
Different genetics may need more magnesium than others, people with kidney problems lose too much magnesium in the urine (called hypermagnesuria), and the advancement of age generally means we need extra magnesium for maintenance.
Pregnancy requires a much higher amount of magnesium for the growth of a new body, people with digestive disorders can’t digest and absorb enough nutrients from foods, and there are those who have suffered trauma and injury, which severely depletes the body of magnesium.
If you are on drugs or medications, exposed to heavy metals or glyphosate, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol excessively – all of these circumstances can cause excessive loss or blocking of magnesium in the body.
Regardless of why you have become magnesium depleted, you can recover your stores over time with daily transdermal magnesium supplementation using magnesium bathing or footsoaking with Magnesium Chloride Flakes, or application of Magnesium Cream, Lotion and/or Oil.
To optimise results and get the best out of your magnesium, follow a balanced fresh food diet (avoiding processed chemicalised junk foods and sugar) and drink plenty of filtered water with added magnesium for good hydration. Note that the fluoride and chlorine in tap water inhibits magnesium and also kills beneficial gut bacteria that we need for proper digestion. It is therefore recommended to filter your tap water and then add the magnesium flakes to remineralise. Magnesium makes water work better, so that more gets access to cells rather than going straight through the digestive system too quickly. It tastes great too!
In order to maintain our electrolyte fluids, we also need the good oils (cholesterol fats) which stop our water from evaporating into the atmosphere. They also help to lubricate joints and nervous system. The cell membrane is made up of a lipid bi-layer with magnesium ions that control the membrane’s channel traffic. Lipids protect the membrane and help to keep moisture where it is supposed to be.
Magnesium blood tests are not accurate indicators of how much magnesium is stored in the body because 99% of magnesium is stored in muscle and bone. These tissue cells can sacrifice their stored magnesium in order to keep blood levels normal. By the time we show up with low magnesium levels in blood tests, it indicates much more severe magnesium depletion in the rest of the body, and consequently worsening health. Ideally, we don’t want it to get that bad.
The better indicator of magnesium deficiency at sub-clinical levels are symptoms such as cramps and restless legs, stress sensitivity, sleep problems, chronic fatigue, foggy brain, heart arrhythmia, hypertension, inflamed joints, kidney or liver problems, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
As we age, magnesium levels drop lower and lower and it becomes very difficult to get enough magnesium via digestion alone. There is less stomach acid production with aging and it becomes more difficult to break down dense proteins that would contain magnesium, such as nuts, seeds, meats etc.
The bowel can also become clogged and compromised with layers of waste on the gut lining, which doesn’t allow magnesium to readily pass through. Even in a healthy gut, magnesium only efficiently passes through the gut wall at low concentrations – such as what would be in natural spring water.
Magnesium via skin can however bypass the digestive system and allow the body to drink up what it needs for replenishment – and in much greater amounts as required.
Magnesium footsoaking or bathing using magnesium chloride flakes is very relaxing and reviving, working fast to relax muscles and joints, compared to oral tablets and powders. It also helps to promote better sleep and detoxification. The hot water has a skin softening and opening effect, allowing magnesium ions to easily pass through into the epidermal layer.
When dry-applying magnesium to the skin, we don’t have the loosening or opening effect of skin cells via hot water, so the efficiency of absorption depends largely on the availability of lipids in the skin. The skin is lipophilic. In other words, it loves fats. When we are young we produce a lot more fats in the skin from a vibrant capillary network supplying skin extremities.
As we get older our circulation is less efficient to the extremities and we have less fats in the skin, causing dryness because less water is able to be captured inside the skin layer. We therefore evaporate more quickly into the atmosphere!
When applying pure magnesium oil (flakes mixed with water at high concentration) directly to skin, it doesn’t have ready access to the inside of the epidermis unless we have enough lipids to help absorb it. For most people magnesium oil lingers on the skin surface and feels sticky or irritating because it is a water-based salt solution.
However, by using Magnesium Cream, Charge Lotion or Magnesium Oil Spritz, the presence of rich plant butters and oils assists the transit of the magnesium salts through the skin into the epidermis without sticky or irritating residue left behind. Within a few minutes of rubbing it in, the skin has soaked it up.
To suit individual needs, we offer a variety of magnesium products at different strengths and with varying levels of fatty skin barrier support. If skin is dry, lubricate with Magnesium Cream or Lotion first, then massage in Magnesium Oil Spritz as needed on the tighter stiffer areas. In the case of sensitive skin, or if there is eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis, use Herbal Magnesium Cream for more skin-soothing effect. For acne control use Zest Citrus or Island Spice Magnesium Cream. There is something for everyone!
Use as much natural magnesium as you like transdermally (ie. products with no synthetic chemicals, such as Elektra Magnesium) without fear of overdose, as the body absorbs from the epidermis only what it needs. Using magnesium skin care, containing rich plant butters and oils infused with magnesium, allows the skin reservoir to serve magnesium to the body over a number of hours after application. In addition to relaxing muscles and loosening up stiff joints, it is also very rejuvenating and soothing for skin.
By Sandy Sanderson © 2020 www.elektramagnesium.com.au
This is a sponsored article written in partnership with Elektra Magnesium.