Have you heard about the second brain?
If you’ve ever “gone with your gut” to make a decision or felt “butterflies in your stomach” when nervous, you’re likely getting signals from an unexpected source: your second brain. Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this “brain in your gut” is revolutionising medicine’s understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think. I wrote about this very thing last year, in this blog.
This mineral is so essential for so many different metabolic pathways and bodily functions, and with up to 80% of Australians deficient in Magnesium, it should really be a public health priority.
Magnesium deficiency is associated with preterm labour, high blood pressure, muscle cramps, anxiety, constipation, diabetes, osteoporosis, and countless other common health issues.
In fact, women in Germany are routinely prescribed Mg during pregnancy as it has been shown to reduce the risk of premature birth. Through such a simple intervention as maintaining good Mg levels during pregnancy, babies are born at the right time which sets them up for a healthy start in life.
Premature birth affects a child’s health for a life-time – increasing health risks even as a mature adult. People born prematurely, for example, have higher blood pressure, a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems as adults.
You can easily meet your daily requirements of Mg through your lifestyle, yes diet although it is more about what you should avoid eating;
- Our food is grown in nutrient deficient soil
- Alcohol and coffee deplete the body of magnesium reserves
- Foods high in calcium actually 'pull' magnesium from the bones to buffer the high acidity high protein creates in the body. link
What Exactly Does Magnesium Do?
Magnesium helps you to relax and contract your muscles; your skeletal muscles, which help you move, run and jump, as well as your smooth muscles which make up some of your organs, for example, your heart and your intestines or gut.
Magnesium is just as important for your heart muscle and the peristaltic movement that moves food along your gut as it gets digested. If you are low in Mg, your bowels become sluggish, you become constipated and you may even get painful stomach cramps. Magnesium deficiency is an often overlooked cause of constipation and easily treatable.
Rather than filling yourself or your child up with laxatives that may have side effects (such as reducing the absorption of nutrients from your food), treat the cause of the constipation, which may be a combination of too little fibre and water in the diet, low Mg, and abnormal gut flora.
Eating more vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes can assist as they are high in fibre and magnesium, Magnesium in food promotes healthy gut flora, in part due to the insoluble fibre that acts as a prebiotic, or food for beneficial gut bacteria. 'As scientists continue to learn more and more about how important our gut microbiome is to our overall physical and mental health, they’re able to determine how individual nutrients, like magnesium, impact our microbial mix. In one study, researchers discovered that mice on a magnesium deficient diet had lower levels of beneficial Bifidobacteria in their guts' link
"You Know You're Soaking In It"
If you sense you may be low in magnesium, the quickest, and easiest, way to top up your levels is by using magnesium transdermally by applying it to your skin. Because it bypasses the digestive system, transdermal magnesium is perfect for those who get digestive upset from oral supplements, have absorption issues, or who just want quick results. In fact, consistent topical application of concentrated magnesium chloride oil (such as The Dead Sea) can restore magnesium levels in just weeks, compared to the many months oral supplementation can take. Taking a bath made of magnesium chloride rapidly raises your levels, and is a wonderful, nourishing way to relax and pamper yourself. Add ½ to 1 cup of the Magnesium salts to the bathtub and soak in it for 15-20 minutes to allow the Mg to be absorbed through the skin.
Magnesium creams and lotions can do the same: rub them into your skin and they get absorbed into the body.