Our muscles require sodium for muscular contractions, and we require magnesium for those muscles to relax again. Ideally, we would consume 4x as much magnesium as sodium to maintain a proper balance. Unfortunately, in Western societies, our diets usually contain 10x the amount of sodium as magnesium, so we are off by 40x!!! A person who has a magnesium deficiency will often present with muscle twitches or cramps that may feel like knots in muscles that just will not go away. Magnesium deficiency may also present with mental disorders like persistent apathy, can contribute to osteoporosis, weak muscles that fatigue easily, elevated blood pressure, heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and may be related to some asthma conditions.
It would seem that taking magnesium supplements would be a quick and easy fix to this prevalent deficiency. Unfortunately, we can only absorb magnesium at a relatively slow rate through our digestion, so it is far better to consume a little bit of magnesium more often throughout the day, as opposed to taking a large magnesium supplement once daily. So a person is experiencing a magnesium deficiency can take supplements several times daily or add more magnesium-rich foods into their diet. Luckily there are lots of readily available food choices that are high in magnesium. Foods such as dark chocolate, avocados, leafy greens, bananas, nuts (especially almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts), legumes like beans and lentils, tofu, as well as seeds and grains of all types have significant quantities of magnesium. Making an effort to consume additional quantities of these foods will make a difference over time.
People who are suffering from the effects of magnesium deficiency have another option other than consumption to increase their systemic magnesium levels. We can easily absorb magnesium directly through our skin. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) and are therefore an excellent source of magnesium. Taking a hot Epsom salts bath for 20 minutes will quickly deliver magnesium to all the tissues that get submerged under water. If no bathtub is available, taking a towel and soaking it in hot water, then sprinkling Epsom salts on it, and applying the towel directly to an area with cramps or knots will help locally as well. Remember it is very important to stay well hydrated throughout this process, and a good idea in general.
For more information call San Rafael Chiropractor Stabilized Chiropractic at (415) 472-2232.