Discover the Mighty Mineral: Easy Ways to Amp Up Your Magnesium Levels Without Pills

If you could choose only one mineral to keep you healthy, magnesium would be the one you absolutely need. Often called the most crucial mineral in the human body, magnesium is a vital component of over 300 biochemical functions. It helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function, keeps your heartbeat steady, supports a healthy immune system, strengthens your bones, regulates blood glucose levels, and aids in energy and protein production.

Despite the importance of this powerhouse mineral, a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) revealed that at least 50% of the U.S. population does not consume enough magnesium.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

If you aren’t getting enough magnesium, a wide range of symptoms may develop. A few key symptoms include:

  • Muscle cramps: Those painful leg cramps that strike unexpectedly could be due to low magnesium levels.
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS): Magnesium has been found to alleviate insomnia caused by RLS, acting as an alternative therapy for those with mild or moderate RLS.
  • Migraine headaches: Balancing neurotransmitters in the body is crucial for preventing migraine headaches—a task at which magnesium plays a vital role. Several studies have shown that a daily intake of 360-600 milligrams of this mineral can reduce migraine frequency by up to 42%.

Other conditions linked to low magnesium levels include anxiety, insomnia, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fatigue, kidney stones, abnormal heart contractions, and depression.

Risk Factors for Deficiency

Some conditions or lifestyles significantly increase the risk of magnesium deficiency:

  • Gastrointestinal problems: Most dietary magnesium is absorbed in the gut, so gastrointestinal issues can contribute to deficiency.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Magnesium deficiency raises the risk of type 2 diabetes, which in turn increases the chance of becoming magnesium deficient.
  • Alcohol dependence: Long-term alcohol use depletes the body’s minerals and disrupts gut flora, making nutrient absorption more difficult and increasing the risk of magnesium deficiency.
  • Aging: Magnesium levels tend to drop as we grow older.

Supplementing with Magnesium

It used to be that simply eating magnesium-rich foods—like spinach, black beans, pumpkin seeds, chard, yogurt, and kefir—was enough. However, modern farming and food processing have decreased the levels of magnesium in the American diet by around 21% since 1940. As a result, supplementation may be necessary.

The variety of magnesium supplements available—including magnesium oxide, sulfate, aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride—can make choosing the right one seem daunting. A simple solution is using a magnesium cream.

A study conducted at the University of Hertfordshire (UK) discovered that topical application of magnesium creams could serve as an addition or alternative to oral supplements. These creams help combat the range of health problems linked to low magnesium levels, such as high blood pressure and poor immune function.

In the study, participants applied two spoonfuls of magnesium cream daily for two weeks and saw a significant rise in their blood magnesium levels. So, if you already take several supplements, adding a magnesium cream can be an easy way to get this essential nutrient without swallowing another pill.