Episode 207: Why You Need More Magnesium: It’s Not Just for Sleep or Tight Muscles

In today’s re-released episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss what you need to know about magnesium. Magnesium is one of our favourite nutritional supplements because of its role in hormone balance, aging and mood. Are you experiencing symptoms of low magnesium? Find out why you might need to have more magnesium in your life!

Why is magnesium so important?

  • Involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in your body
  • Found in your bones, cardiovascular system, nervous system and in every cell in your body – less than 1% of magnesium in your body found in your blood
  • Acts as a natural muscle relaxant
  • Calms your nervous system
  • Plays an important role for your energy production
  • Influences GABA for relaxation and melatonin for sleep
  • Influences your love and bonding hormone oxytocin
  • Supports your liver detoxification pathways to promote breakdown and elimination of excess estrogen, which is linked with breast tenderness, fibroids, heavy periods, endometriosis symptoms (see Episode 21 for more info)
  • Important for your thyroid function – research links magnesium levels with thyroid health (see Episode 42 for more info)
  • Low magnesium levels are linked with high oxidative stress and low grade inflammation associated with signs of aging like cognitive decline, wrinkles, etc.
  • Important modulator of your receptors in the brain like NMDA receptors which are involved in memory function and depression
  • Can protect you against calcium deposits in your soft tissue like calcium oxalate kidney stones or calcifications in your arteries
  • Supports your utilization of vitamin D
  • Helps insulin work to control your blood sugar

What are symptoms of low magnesium?

  • Low energy
  • Low mood, anxiety, panic (see Episode 81 for more info)
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Menstrual cramps, PMS, hormonal imbalances (see Episode 21 for more info)
  • Blood sugar imbalances (see Episode 45 for more info)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sleep issues (see Episode 73 for more info)

Low magnesium has also been shown to worsen:

  • Hypertension and cardiovascular disease
    • A Harvard study of over 70,000 people found that those with the highest magnesium intake had the healthiest blood pressure numbers
    • studies showed a dose-dependent reduction of blood pressure with magnesium supplementation
    • A University of Minnesota study showed that the risk for hypertension was 70% lower in women with adequate or high magnesium levels
  • Migraines (see Episode 20 for more info)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa loves her hella hydrating serum from Joyous Health with rosehip oil and hyaluronic acid, as well as her favourite brands of dark chocolate – Zazubean 80% or Giddy Yoyo.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of Epsom gel, as well as using her neti pot with saline and xylitol for reducing extra irritation from wildfire smoke.

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Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 83: Why You Need More Magnesium: It’s Not Just for Sleep or Tight Muscles

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss what you need to know about magnesium. Magnesium is one of our favourite nutritional supplements because of its role in hormone balance, aging and mood. Are you experiencing symptoms of low magnesium? Find out why you might need to have more magnesium in your life!

Why is magnesium so important?

  • Involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in your body
  • Found in your bones, cardiovascular system, nervous system and in every cell in your body – less than 1% of magnesium in your body found in your blood
  • Acts as a natural muscle relaxant
  • Calms your nervous system
  • Plays an important role for your energy production
  • Influences GABA for relaxation and melatonin for sleep
  • Influences your love and bonding hormone oxytocin
  • Supports your liver detoxification pathways to promote breakdown and elimination of excess estrogen, which is linked with breast tenderness, fibroids, heavy periods, endometriosis symptoms (see Episode 21 for more info)
  • Important for your thyroid function – research links magnesium levels with thyroid health (see Episode 42 for more info)
  • Low magnesium levels are linked with high oxidative stress and low grade inflammation associated with signs of aging like cognitive decline, wrinkles, etc.
  • Important modulator of your receptors in the brain like NMDA receptors which are involved in memory function and depression
  • Can protect you against calcium deposits in your soft tissue like calcium oxalate kidney stones or calcifications in your arteries
  • Supports your utilization of vitamin D
  • Helps insulin work to control your blood sugar

What are symptoms of low magnesium?

  • Low energy
  • Low mood, anxiety, panic (see Episode 81 for more info)
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Menstrual cramps, PMS, hormonal imbalances (see Episode 21 for more info)
  • Blood sugar imbalances (see Episode 45 for more info)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sleep issues (see Episode 73 for more info)

Low magnesium has also been shown to worsen:

  • Hypertension and cardiovascular disease
    • A Harvard study of over 70,000 people found that those with the highest magnesium intake had the healthiest blood pressure numbers
    • studies showed a dose-dependent reduction of blood pressure with magnesium supplementation
    • A University of Minnesota study showed that the risk for hypertension was 70% lower in women with adequate or high magnesium levels
  • Migraines (see Episode 20 for more info)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis

You are more at risk for magnesium insufficiency if you experience:

  • Gastrointestinal diseases like Crohn’s, Celiac, etc.
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Alcohol dependence or alcoholism
  • Reduced magnesium absorption and increased excretion as we age (oops, that’s everyone!)

Your levels of magnesium are depleted by:

  • Sugar – 1 molecule of sugar uses 30-40 molecules of magnesium
  • Insulin resistance
  • Medications like:
    • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), antacids
    • Birth Control Pill
    • Diuretics
    • Antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Low stomach acid – can’t absorb minerals
  • Caffeine, alcohol due to their diuretic effect 

Severe magnesium deficiency is called hypomagnesemia, resulting in anorexia, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, weakness, personality change, tetany (eg. hyperreflexia), tremor and muscle fasciculations.

Laboratory Testing to Consider to Measure Magnesium:

  • RBC (red blood cell) magnesium

How can you get more magnesium in?

  • Foods
    • Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, cashews, spinach, black beans, edamame
    • Dark chocolate – 70% or higher
    • Leafy green vegetables
    • Avocado, bananas
  • Epsom salts bath – magnesium sulfate
    • 1-2 cups in bath and soak for at least 20 minutes for absorption of magnesium through your skin
  • Topical gels, lotions, sprays
  • Liquid, capsules, powder
  • Intravenous (IV) nutrient therapy – bypasses digestive system

How do you know if you’re getting too much magnesium?

  • Loose stools/diarrhea
  • Watch blood pressure if taking blood pressure medication, could help to reduce dose of medication
  • very large doses of magnesium-containing laxatives and antacids (typically providing more than 5,000 mg/day magnesium) have been associated with magnesium toxicity

Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for Supplemental Magnesium:

Source: Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating

Birth to 12 months None established

1–3 years 65 mg 65 mg

4–8 years 110 mg 110 mg

9–18 years 350 mg 350 mg 350 mg 350 mg

19+ years 350 mg 350 mg 350 mg 350 mg

What are the different types of magnesium?

  • Chloride and Sulfate – often used in intravenous (IV) solutions
  • Oxide – 90% not absorbed, used as a laxative in small amounts
    • Form of magnesium most commonly reported to cause diarrhea, along with magnesium carbonate, chloride and gluconate
  • Citrate – often used for migraines, PMS, constipation – gentle osmotic laxative – often dosed up to 600mg per day
  • Malate – shown to be more bioavailable than oxide, sulfate and citrate in rats
    • Studies show reduced pain and tenderness in patients with fibromyalgia with oral supplementation for 8 weeks and 6 months
  • Bisglycinate/glycinate – elemental magnesium chelated to amino acid glycine
    • Allows for larger amounts to be absorbed more quickly and retained by your body
    • Shown to reduce pain from menstrual cramps and leg cramps in pregnant women
    • Can be more relaxing, often recommended before bed
  • L-threonate – Magtein: patented form of magnesium developed by scientists from MIT & Stanford U with metabolite of vitamin C
    • developed and clinically proven to pass through the blood-brain barrier versus other forms of magnesium
      • People with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease have lower levels of magnesium in cerebrospinal fluid
    • evaluated in a series of cognitive tests for executive function, attention, working and episodic memory and episodic memory, with significant improvement at 6 and 12 weeks
    • shown to reduce the effects of aging by 9 years
    • increases the synaptic density, which can decline with aging
    • has shown improvement in brain circulation and cognitive testing in a small sample of people taking the supplement for 12 weeks
    • more research currently for treating chemotherapy-induced memory deficits and cognitive impairment, anxiety, sleep, mood and other conditions of again

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Lisa loves her Hella Hydrating Serum from Joyous Health with rosehip oil and hyaluronic acid, as well as her favourite brands of dark chocolate – Zazubean 80% or Giddy Yoyo.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of Epsom gel, as well as using her neti pot with saline and xylitol for reducing extra irritation from wildfire smoke.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening Aug 31st. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective begins again in Fall 2021: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.