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Employee Wellness: 3 Ways to Increase Magnesium

Updated: Apr 3, 2023


picture of ‘Mg’ surrounded by dark chocolate, avocado, lettuce, cilantro, banana, almonds, garbanzo beans, seeds and lettuce, on a dark blue background.

Magnesium deficiency is very common among the general population. This is largely due to the way that stress depletes levels in the body. Remember that stress can come not only from our mental state but also from the food we eat, the physical trauma we face and the environment we live in. Magnesium is an essential mineral of life fueling our heart, bones, muscles, nerves and tissues. It can be supplemented orally, through the mouth, or transdermally, through the skin. Studies have demonstrated that transdermal supplementation is most effective because it can enter directly into the blood stream, instead of having to be absorbed by the gut.


Hypomagnesemia, or low magnesium, can begin as weakness or fatigue but can escalate into neuromuscular, cardiac and nervous disorders. In addition to stress, conditions that may result in magnesium loss include alcoholism, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, short bowel syndrome, Whipple’s disease, aldosteronism, hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, chronic renal failure, dialysis and Gitelman syndrome. In addition, the use of medications, such as antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, diuretics and proton pump inhibitors can cause magnesium loss.


Magnesium is in many foods such as dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, black beans, almonds, peanuts, cashews and dark chocolate. Even by consuming these foods, it still may be difficult to replenish lost magnesium. To find out if you are deficient, you should have blood work drawn or you can consider a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Test for a more comprehensive look. If you are deficient, like many are, here are some additional ways to restore magnesium status.


1. Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salts contain magnesium sulfate, which is a form of magnesium that is highly absorbable through the skin. Magnesium sulfate has been shown to manage multiple disease states such as constipation, hypomagnesemia, acute nephritis, cardiac arrhythmias (from hypomagnesemia) and healing of minor cuts or bruises. Magnesium sulfate is usually given in hospital settings, but you can also obtain it from Epsom salts. A study was performed with 19 subjects who were treated with Epsom salt baths to assess magnesium absorption. The subjects experienced full-body baths, with temperatures from 50-55 °C, for 12 minutes in a solution containing magnesium sulfate. After repeating the baths for a 7-day period, it was found that 16 of 19 subjects showed an increase in magnesium in the plasma. (It was hypothesized that those who did not show a rise in magnesium already had sufficient amounts, thus were excreting the excess).


How to Make a Magnesium Bath at Home

  1. 2 cup of Epsom salts

  2. 1 cup baking soda

  3. Tub filled with very warm water

  4. Relax and enjoy!


2. Magnesium Oil

Magnesium oil is a lesser known, yet highly effective way of raising magnesium status in the body. A study was done with 9 participants over a 12-week period to assess the effects of magnesium oil on the body. The treatment included 20 sprays of magnesium oil as well as a 20-minute foot bath utilizing 100 mL of magnesium oil, daily. After a 12-week trial period, a hair analysis test was conducted in order to assess the effects of the magnesium. The results showed that 8 out of 9 subjects effectively raised magnesium status by up to 262%. (Of note, one patient did not complete treatment, which is the probable cause for his or her unsuccessful result).


How to Make Magnesium Oil:


Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of Magnesium Chloride Flakes

  • ½ cup of purified or distilled water


Instructions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil

  2. Add the magnesium flakes and stir well until completely dissolved

  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then transfer into a glass spray bottle

  4. Spray on feet, chest or abdomen



3. Supplementation

There are several different forms of magnesium; most of which are absorbed well in the body. Magnesium oxide, however, is not as highly absorbed as other forms, though it is the form most commonly used in supplements. In addition to transdermal forms magnesium sulfate and magnesium chloride, some highly absorbed oral forms include malate, glycinate and taurate. I recommend selecting brands that list as few ingredients on the label as possible. For dosage, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults is 400-420 mg for men and 310-320 mg for women. Dosages may increase depending on present conditions and disease states.


Wrapping Up

Magnesium is necessary in order for the body to function and thrive. It is also extremely notable that magnesium effects calcium and potassium. Therefore, magnesium can assist in raising low calcium and low potassium. Everyone reacts differently to supplementation, so speak with a registered dietitian or doctor to see which methods may be right for you. After implementing a change, you should have your magnesium status assessed 4-6 months afterward to ensure you are successfully raising it. Magnesium supplementation is a safe and effective way to correct deficiencies and assist the body in functioning the way that it was designed to!


Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by

downloading our brochure.


Written by: Ashley Siuda, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern


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