Did you know that magnesium is known as the “relaxation mineral”? The brain, nerves, and muscles all respond to its calming effect. We need to supplement our “soils” since they have become increasingly depleted of the minerals that our bodies need.
It is not atypical to find patients with FM who have a magnesium deficiency. A study of 44 women with an average age of 43 showed that magnesium is one of the minerals the participants significantly lacked. This analysis was done using samples of the women’s hair.
Since we absorb magnesium better through the skin (aka transdermal), it is best to get it either by soaking in some magnesium salts or by using magnesium lotion or oil. Taking magnesium internally (think milk of magnesia) can disrupt our digestive process, causing loose stools. If you need a resource for magnesium, click here.
Another way we can get more magnesium is engaging in what is known as float therapy. The technical term is REST, reduced environmental stimulation therapy. If you can find somewhere near you that offers this, you might want to give it a try. An international study testing REST is ongoing, although it is no longer accepting new participants. For REST, about 1,000 lbs of Epsom salt is added to a warm, shallow pool. The density allows your body to float, and the magnesium relaxes your muscles.
The results of another study show that when we can maintain therapeutic levels of magnesium, it can reduce symptoms such as depression, tender points, and fatigue. I think this would be especially beneficial when we are in a flare. One woman also stated that it helped with her migraines and anxiety, as well as her dizziness.
Magnesium deficiency also affects our energy level. It is one of the minerals, along with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), that is necessary to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which our cells require to make energy. It stands to reason that when your muscles are tight, you will experience increased pain. Logically, relaxing those muscles with magnesium will then decrease the pain.
Magnesium is not a cure-all by any means. But it is a vital mineral that FM patients should ensure they’re getting enough of. Blood tests seem to be less reliable in determining your magnesium levels than hair analysis. As a nutrition consultant for over 20 years, I’ve always believed that transdermal and sublingual (dissolving under the tongue) methods are the better way to take our supplements whenever possible. Some people I’ve talked to find the magnesium oil to be irritating to their skin. If that’s you, perhaps a better choice would be the lotion or the Epsom salt bath. Please consult your medical team before supplementing magnesium.
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