If you’re living for your weekend lie-ins and yawning through your 3pm meetings, you owe it to your mind and body to read on.
Symptoms such as fatigue, sugar cravings, headaches, trouble sleeping, PMS and muscle cramps are all signs that you may be deficient in magnesium.
The good news? Sweet relief could be yours in just a few days.
Why you need magnesium
Known as the ‘master mineral’, magnesium is one of the most powerful supplements available. It’s abundant in healthy foods such as wholemeal bread, dark leafy greens and pumpkin seeds, but if you don’t have the time or the inclination to devoutly follow a magnesium-rich diet, chances are you’re coming up short.
What’s more, the magnesium content of our vegetables is declining thanks to processing and intensive farming, which depletes levels in the soil. Coffee consumption, booze, antibiotics and sweating it out in the gym also use up your precious reserves.
The result? Bad news for bodies and brains.
“Magnesium itself is a co-factor and responsible for the function of 325 enzymes,” says Dr Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle.
“It is an absolute requirement for calcium to be incorporated into bone; keeps toxic chemicals out of the brain; dances with calcium to create nerve impulses and muscle impulses; keeps muscles relaxed, including the heart and blood vessels, and triggers dozens of health conditions if it is deficient.”
Feel better, fast
Unlike other vitamins and minerals, magnesium is best absorbed through the skin, meaning a magnesium oil is the fastest way to replenish your levels and start seeing real results. There are a few on the market, but the best we’ve found is Better You (€16.35 at Holland & Barrett, Patrick Street and Wilton).
Start with five sprays, rubbing it into the skin, and build up to at least ten sprays per day. It will probably tingle a little at first but this goes away after one or two uses. This brand’s Magnesium Oil Goodnight spray combines magnesium with chamomile, clary sage and bergamot essential oils to help you switch off at bedtime while the mineral gets to work.
Another option is to run yourself an Epsom salt bath. You’ll find Epsom salts in most chemists as well as at the Quay Co-Op and other natural food stores. Add a scoop to your bath or foot soak and relax while the magnesium does its work. It’s even safe for children.
Here are six ways that extra magnesium will benefit your body and mind:
Stress and anxiety: Magnesium helps to control adrenal stress hormones and regulate the nervous system.
Chocolate cravings: Chocolate is high in magnesium, which is why we crave it when our levels are low. Top up your magnesium and the cravings disappear.
Sleep: Magnesium is necessary for the production of sleep-regulating melatonin. Without it, you’ll have trouble drifting off.
Bone health: Magnesium helps the body to absorb calcium with Vitamin D, preventing bone loss as we get older.
Muscle pain and cramping: Magnesium helps muscles to repair and rebuild after exercise, rub the oil into sore muscles before bed.
Mood: The original chill pill, magnesium regulates the neurotransmitters that send messages to your brain and nervous system.
PMS: Studies show that boosting magnesium intake can reduce water retention, period cramps and irritability at that time of the month.
With so many ‘vital’ health supplements on the market, it can be difficult to select the extra boost your body really needs, but experts agree that magnesium should be in everyone’s bathroom cabinet.