Ooooo, I am so thrilled to chat about magnesium with you because it’s been incredibly helpful for me! Magnesium is a critical nutrient for our bodies and most of us are actually deficient. I started using it internally and topically to help with stress, sleep, period symptoms, and sore muscles. This post explores some simple ways you can add magnesium into your daily routine and why it’s suuuuuper beneficial (and why you might want to hop on the magnesium train, like, now).
This post contains affiliate links. The contents are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be medical advice. Consult with your doctor before taking any new supplements!
This post covers:
- Major Health Benefits of Magnesium & Why It’s Crucial for Our Wellbeing!
- Magnesium-Rich Foods to Eat
- How to Supplement with Magnesium Internally
- 3 Easy Ways to Apply Magnesium Topically
- Key Takeaways
Major Health Benefits of Magnesium & Why It’s Crucial for Our Wellbeing!
Magnesium is responsible for activating over 300 cellular, biochemical reactions in our bodies and helps regulate calcium, potassium, and sodium. Deficiency used to be considered rare, but nowadays about 80% of people have low magnesium levels! Whoa.
Why ARE most of us deficient in magnesium in the first place?! There are a couple of reasons. First, soil depletion and GMOs have changed the nutrient composition of our food. In fact, a 2011 report in Scientific American showed that crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than varieties most of us get today. We also have to consider that there’s a higher rate of digestive disorders and chronic illnesses which can all impact mineral absorption.
I could go on and on about this, but let’s keep ‘er moving!
Magnesium has many roles and can provide tons of benefits:
- Can alleviate PMS symptoms and lessen discomfort from cramps and bloating
- Helps control inflammation and pain
- Acts as a muscle relaxer and can ease spasms or restlessness
- May stop headaches and migraines
- Is a natural mood booster and can counteract depression and anxiety
- Has a natural calming effect and improves sleep quality
- Promotes digestion and can remedy constipation
Magnesium-Rich Foods to Eat
According to the National Institute of Health, adult men should consume 400-420 milligrams of magnesium daily, and adult women should aim for 310–320 milligrams daily. But roughly 48% of adults in the U.S. consume a diet that is deficient in magnesium! Consuming foods that are naturally rich in magnesium is an easy way to boost your intake. Here are some foods that contain higher amounts per serving that you can incorporate into your diet:
- Avocado 🥑
- Banana 🍌
- Brazil nuts
- Dark chocolate 🍫 (I’ll take ANY excuse to eat more chocolate!)
- Grass-fed beef
- Oysters 🦪
- Pumpkin seeds
- Raw milk, yogurt, or kefir 🥛
- Salmon and mackerel 🍣
- Spinach 🥬 (one of the highest vegetable sources with about 157 mg per cup!)
- Swiss chard
How to Supplement with Magnesium Internally
In addition to eating foods that are naturally loaded with magnesium, you can also supplement. First, it’s important to know that there are multiple types of magnesium. Here are some common forms:
- Magnesium chelate (bound to amino acids; highly absorbable and supports tranquility and eases muscles)
- Magnesium citrate (combined with citric acid and can promote digestion)
- Magnesium glycinate (bound to glycinate which supports relaxation)
- Magnesium chloride (the oil form that is used topically because it can pass through skin into the body – more on this in the next section!)
(source: Dr. Axe)
One major downfall of supplementation is that not everyone can fully absorb it during digestion. Dr. Norman Shealy is a medical researcher that has done various experiments with magnesium and wrote about it in his book Life Beyond 100: Secrets of the Fountain of Youth:
“Magnesium salts are laxatives so that all of them may lead to a more rapid gut transit time. Magnesium needs to travel through the intestinal system slowly, so if the gut transit time is less than twelve hours, one is not likely to absorb the magnesium well.”
I also want to note that the key with magnesium supplementation is to START SLOW! Learn from my mistakes, people 😂 Let’s just say…magnesium is good at calming (including your bowels) and promoting digestion. A little TOO good sometimes. Starting off with a high dosage too quickly might be a recipe for frequent bathroom visits 💩 It also varies between the various forms.
Basically, there are numerous factors that can contribute to how your body absorbs magnesium when taken orally (such as your gut health, stomach acid levels, what else it’s paired with, etc.). Supplementing might not work for everyone!
Becca’s Go-To Magnesium Supplements:
Now, since I’m not a doctor, I don’t wanna tell you what supplements to take. Chat with your doctor to see what will work for your unique situation! But I do want to share some products that I have used and take myself:
Perfect Supplements Magnesium Citrate Powder: This is what I use most often! Perfect Supplements is super high-quality and even tests for heavy metals. This powder is an organic, bioavailable form of magnesium and doesn’t contain any synthetics. You just add a scoop to water and it dissolves; it’s mostly flavorless but there is a very faint metallic taste. Each serving is packed with 338mg. It makes me feel so peaceful and I swear by this at nighttime for restful sleep! 💤 You can use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount.
LMNT Electrolyte Powder Packets: These have a lower dose of magnesium malate (60mg) but are a nice way to get additional minerals and electrolytes if you’re depleted! They’re quite salty, heads up! But I think they taste delicious (especially the Mango Chili and Lemon Habanero flavors IMO). The packets dissolve in water and are handy for on-the-go or traveling. Tons of flavors to choose from, even unflavored!
Ortho Molecular Reacted Magnesium: These capsules have di-magnesium malate, magnesium citrate, and magnesium glycinate which are highly absorbable forms and are supposed to be gentler on the gut. Each serving is 235mg. If you’d rather pop a capsule instead of mixing powder in water, these are a good way to go!
3 Easy Ways to Apply Magnesium Topically
Okay, I am *secretly* most excited about this section of the blog post! Since the skin is our largest organ, applying magnesium topically is an ideal way to replenish your levels. Not to mention, you get a more direct absorption this way! And bypassing the GI tract is a good alternative if you can’t handle oral supplementation.
The only downside to applying magnesium transdermally is there can be a salt-like residue when it dries. This is normal and you can always rinse or wipe off the product after about 30 minutes if you want. But I never wipe mine off!
Why does magnesium feel tingly or make me itch?
A slight tingling or itchy sensation is also normal! Magnesium is a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes muscle cells and increases blood flow in capillaries. It should subside after a few minutes when it soaks in. There are multiple reasons you might experience this:
- Your body is extremely low in magnesium
- You’re applying too much at once
- Or it’s just your skin reacting to the salty residue and different pH level
Keep in mind, the severity of the sensation might also depend on where you apply it to your body and how tense the area is. Similar to supplementing, it’s best to start small and gradually work your way up to a higher amount.
Where to apply magnesium on your body:
I like to apply magnesium at night to my torso, arms, legs, feet, or a tense muscle area. For example, rubbing some on my lower belly during my period feels amaaaaaazing for cramps. I’ve also heard from my mom friends that they rub it on their kid’s legs when they are antsy or restless. Avoid eyes, mucus membranes, or sensitive areas such as your face. I also don’t recommend applying it right after you have shaved or anywhere you have cuts or wounds.
Now, here are some of my personal FAVORITE topical magnesium products!
This is my preferred method for applying magnesium topically! I love these creams so much (my husband too!). My friend Chels handmakes these in small batches with minimal, natural ingredients. There are two formulas: the Original Cream or the Muscle Rub Cream. Both use Ancient Minerals magnesium oil (see below) for the base, but have different essential oils. For instance, the Muscle Rub uses organic peppermint and copaiba essential oils for added relief on sore muscles.
I apply these after showering while my skin is still slightly damp. It’s so awesome that they double as a moisturizing lotion and I am OBSESSED with the whipped frosting texture. Highly recommend 💯
You can use code BECCA10 for a discount at Wild Sage!
For the bath lovers! This indulgent bath soak has magnesium chloride flakes, coconut milk powder, organic lemongrass oil, and organic rosemary oil. It smells divine! Aside from the magnesium, coconut milk can help soothe dry skin and lemongrass is naturally antimicrobial and may fight body acne. All you have to do is sprinkle some into your bath water and slip away into meditation mode 🛀 (pairs well with a glass of red wine and Norah Jones, in my experience)
You can use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount at The Choosy Chick!
Also available at The Detox Market.
Another topical option is magnesium spray. I like this brand because it has no weird ingredients or preservatives; just water, Zechstein magnesium chloride, and naturally occurring trace minerals. Zechstein is one of the purest and most pristine sources. It’s a geological formation in Northern Europe that has protected the magnesium salt in a preserved state 1600-2000 meters beneath the earth’s crust. It’s kind of the gold standard when it comes to magnesium! Six sprays of this contain about 100mg.
You could also use this oil as a base to DIY your own mixture with whatever essential oils you like! I use Mountain Rose Herbs organic essential oils.
Key Takeaways About Magnesium:
- Most adults are deficient in magnesium but it’s responsible for hundreds of reactions in our bodies
- Magnesium can help with stress, relaxation, sleep quality, pain, cramps, digestion, and anxiety
- Supplementation is an option but numerous factors contribute to how your body digests it; some people can’t fully absorb it
- Applying magnesium topically might be a better alternative for those that can’t handle taking it as an internal supplement!
You might also like this post: “5 Natural & Holistic Remedies for Period Cramps, Pain, and Bloating That I Swear By!“
Have you ever considered adding magnesium into your routine, either via supplementation or a topical product? It has made a world of difference for me and I cannot recommend it enough! Let me know if you give it a try. Thanks a bunch for reading and I hope you learned something new 💚