What is one thing that every person in modern society has in common? A magnesium deficiency!!!! Cool, right? Not quite.
If you have a random headache, muscle pains that occur for no reason, muscle twitching or spasms, chronic fatigue, you may simply have a magnesium deficiency. Women, especially, become magnesium deficient during their periods. If you’ve wondered why nearly all women crave chocolate during their period or PMS, it’s because chocolate contains high levels of magnesium. Our cravings actually mean something! When you crave a certain food, it usually means your body needs a nutrient in that food, so listen to your body and give into your cravings!
Magnesium supplements can relieve pain and other symptoms such as menstrual cramps, headaches, muscle pain, and fatigue. The good news is that it’s unlikely you’ll take too much. When you have too much magnesium in your system, your stools will become loose and then you’ll know you need to decrease your intake.
I used to take ibuprofen like it was candy, for any and all ailments (especially headaches and menstrual cramps), but now that I take a daily magnesium pill, I no longer need to! Even my doctor said it was okay for me to be nearly inhaling ibuprofen every day because it’s an anti-inflammatory and it blocks the neural pathways to the point that they may be depleted and you won’t have to deal with pain for a good week or so. However, ibuprofen not only usually contains other strange additives, but it’s also an NSAID which can react with other medications. Your pharmacist should tell you not to take ibuprofen with these medications, but they may not. They may assume you’ll read the whole packet of information they give you (OMG read those packets). Doctors won’t really know because that’s not their area of expertise (unless the drug is quite common or you’re lucky and have a fantastic doctor). For instance, I had a reaction when I took ibuprofen on a certain antibiotic. I got this from an Urgent Care without any warning information and considering I felt like I was going to pass out, it would have been good to know. Luckily, there are natural ways to suppress pain!
Fun Fact: Ibuprofen is made of white willow bark, so it’s likely that grinding some of that bark up in a smoothie will have the same effect.
Even if your blood has been tested for magnesium levels, only 1% of your magnesium is found in your blood, so your blood levels usually don’t tell you too much about the magnesium levels in your body. However, if taking magnesium supplements or eating foods high in magnesium (dark leafy greens, fish, beans, dried fruit, dark chocolate, to name a few) makes you feel better, chances are you were magnesium deficient. Eating healthy is always a good option, by the way. Listen to your body!
Naturally we find magnesium in whole foods such as leafy greens and in dirt through the soles of our feet while walking on bare ground, but in modern society, we don’t stress eating too many leafy greens and many people barely spend time outside, especially not barefoot. Now of course, the whole toxins eliminating through our feet and absorbing nutrients through our feet thing is controversial, but plenty of experiments have shown positive results when absorbing magnesium topically, in terms of magnesium oil and epsom salt baths. Perhaps it doesn’t work for all substances, as this hilarious experiment The Chronicle Flask did with alcohol in 2013 shows, but it definitely shows results with magnesium. If you’re experiencing muscle pain especially, I urge you to sit in a hot epsom salt bath for at least twenty minutes and hopefully you’ll experience some sort of relief.
If you suffer from headaches, I can’t recommend eating chocolate because of the usual sugar content and the fact that chocolate is a common migraine trigger (it’s definitely a trigger for me). Try eating a smoothie of dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, or swiss chard (or a mix!). Try drinking some organic peppermint or dandelion root tea, use peppermint essential oil (don’t get that stuff in your eyes), take a hot bath, drink a ton of water, take a nap, or simply take some magnesium supplements. Adding peppermint and ginger into your diet or lifestyle as well as eating spicy foods can also help chronic pain.
When purchasing a magnesium supplement, make sure it’s a quality supplement. Even Whole Foods doesn’t stock quality supplements, so you may have to go to your local health food store or purchase online. It’s best to find a whole food supplement considering the isolated supplement won’t have the other necessary chemical bonds necessary for your body to process it as effectively, but the supplement will work nonetheless.
Best type of magnesium supplements: Malate, Taurate, Glycinate, Threonate (for brain), Chloride (for muscles)
Magnesium supplements to avoid: Stearate, Oxide, Citrate
One Last Thing: Stress
When you become stressed, your body uses its magnesium reserves and therefore they become depleted. ESPECIALLY if you have an anxiety disorder, you should be taking magnesium. Take magnesium supplements after a stressful day at work, during final exams, and after having a panic attack. It’s important to replenish your magnesium reserves so you won’t feel sluggish, like you have a “stress hangover” the next day. Remember, your mental health and your physical health are very closely linked. Taking care of both simultaneously will allow you to remain healthy.
What natural things have you done to help with pain management? Have you tried any of these methods with significant results? Tell me in the comments below!