One common test that we naturopaths perform is a hair tissue mineral analysis. Based on an analysis of a strand of your hair we are able to identify the mineral profile and existence of heavy metals and their influence within your body. This is the first test I always conduct on people who are ‘burning the candle at both ends’ and almost 100 per cent of the time these people have one thing in common, a magnesium imbalance.

Magnesium is a simple mineral that is essential to your nervous system and to your adrenal glands being able to relax.

Bottom line; “when you are low in magnesium you get stressed, and when you are stressed you lower your magnesium levels”.

See if you can relate to any of these signs of magnesium deficiency.

  • Anxiety / high blood pressure
  • hyper-irritability
  • broken sleep
  • muscle cramps/twitches/jumpiness
  • increased perspiration or body odour
  • over-sensitivity to heat, light and noise
  • urinary frequency
  • constipation
  • craving salty foods

If you have been experiencing any of the above you could be low in magnesium. If you are eating foods high in phytates, such as refined and processed grains and cereals (that is, white bread and pasta), these will interfere with magnesium absorption, causing it to be excreted instead of used. So it’s not just what you are putting in your mouth that counts, it is also what you are absorbing and keeping in your body.With minerals such as magnesium there are constant drains on your reserves, so it is vital that you keep your levels up.

Increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods such as unrefined whole grains, dark green vegetables rich in chlorophyll and nuts and seeds like almonds, pecans and walnuts will help to balance your magnesium levels. The only challenge is if you are burning the candle at both ends you can be draining out more than you can put back in with foods.Today our diets today are very different from those of our ancestors though our bodies remain similar. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors ate foods high in magnesium and low in calcium. Because calcium supplies were scarce and the need for this vital mineral was great, it was effectively stored by the body.

Magnesium, on the other hand, was abundant and readily available, in the form of nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables, and did not need to be stored internally. Our bodies still retain calcium and not magnesium although we tend to eat much more dairy than our ancestors. In addition, our sugar and alcohol consumption is higher than theirs, and both sugar and alcohol increase magnesium excretion through the urine. Our grains, originally high in magnesium, have been refined, which means that the nutrient is lost in the refining process.The magnesium content of refined foods is usually very low. Whole-wheat bread, for example, has twice as much magnesium as white bread because the magnesium-rich germ and bran are removed when white flour is processed.

Most people who are aware of the need for magnesium supplementation take their magnesium in an oral form, but many things can affect magnesium absorption from the gut, including medications. The health status of the digestive system and the kidneys significantly influence magnesium absorption. Only one third to half of dietary magnesium is absorbed into the body at best. Transdermal application of magnesium chloride is an effective way to get it into the system. This way we bypass completely the digestive tract and avoid the problems discussed above. Studies on magnesium chloride that had been both sprayed on the entire body and used in a footbath on individuals with low intercellular magnesium levels showed substantial improvements in their magnesium levels. The application of magnesium chloride to the skin is very well tolerated (avoid cuts and scratches- it stings), gets absorbed very quickly (20 minutes) and is inexpensive.

Being a “go fast adrenal junkie” myself I am always aware of my magnesium intake and am constantly looking for easy ways to maintain magnesium levels. Recently I found the Transdermal Magnesium Oil and have been trailing it myself on my body with great success. For me it is a no brainer to use the magnesium oil as a deodorant daily to facilitate my magnesium supplementation. It magnesium oil absorbs through the lymph glands in my armpits, prevents me getting body odour and supplements me effectively.