Your muscles need magnesium

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

If your muscles are giving you trouble, increasing your intake of magnesium may provide relief.

Magnesium insufficiency may cause muscle cramps, spasms and twitches. Supplementing with magnesium can help to relieve these conditions because magnesium has a relaxing effect on the muscles.

The most common location for muscle cramps is in the feet, calves and hamstrings, and they tend to strike while you’re asleep, while sitting or lying for long periods.

Reasons why muscle cramps occur

Muscle cramps can occur for a number of other reasons, including:

  • Mineral deficiencies, such as potassium, calcium or sodium. You are more likely to become deficient in these minerals if you exercise regularly in hot weather, as the increased perspiration causes you to lose large quantities of these minerals.
  • Dehydration. Not drinking enough water makes you more prone to cramps.  Again, this is more likely to occur if you exercise in hot weather.  Cramps caused by dehydration usually occur during physical activity, rather than during rest.
  • Excessive diarrhoea or vomiting. They cause a loss of minerals as well as water from your body.
  • Poor circulation. This can be caused by blocked arteries in the legs.  Anaemia can also cause poor circulation and cramps.
  • Physical over-exertion. Particularly in cold weather or if you have not warmed up your muscles adequately before exercise.
  • Prescription diuretic drugs. They increase the risk of cramps because they cause you to lose excessive water and minerals through your urine.

Other benefits of magnesium

A blood test is not a reliable way to measure your body’s magnesium status because very little of the magnesium in your body is in your bloodstream.  Most of the magnesium in your body is in your bones, and the rest is spread among your muscles and organs.  Therefore we use symptoms to determine if a person is low in magnesium.  Magnesium is required for approximately 300 metabolic processes in your body.  It is that important! Other conditions that magnesium may improve include:

  • Feeling stressed and uptight
    Magnesium helps to relieve the symptoms of stress.
  • Poor quality sleep
    Magnesium helps to relieve restless or disturbed sleep. If sleep is a significant problem for you, you should find effective solutions in the book Tired of Not Sleeping?
  • Premenstrual syndrome
    Magnesium helps to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual tension. For best results, take supplemental magnesium every day of the month, with your evening meal.
  • Headaches
    Magnesium helps to relieve headache symptoms. Staying hydrated is also very helpful for preventing or relieving headaches.

Gut problems can also affect your muscles

Fibromyalgia is a very common problem presenting itself as pain and tenderness in the muscles, ligaments, joints and connective tissue. Sufferers experience muscular pain that is similar to what results from injury or muscle overuse. You can feel like you’ve been beaten up or lifted heavy weights, when you’ve done no such thing. Fibromyalgia is often associated with chronic fatigue, headaches and disturbed sleep. It shares many features with autoimmune disease, and some researchers are starting to label it as autoimmune.

The gut is often the source of the problem. For many years I’ve seen that a lot of my fibromyalgia patients experience gut symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, reflux or abdominal bloating. Even if they don’t have those symptoms, when sent off for tests, they are often found to have an imbalance between good and bad bowel bacteria.

Having too much bad bacteria in your gut can inflame the lining, giving you a leaky gut. Bacterial and fungal waste products get into your bloodstream and trigger inflammation in the muscles, with accompanying pain. Cleaning up your gut, improving liver health and reducing inflammation can all be achieved with the Dr Cabot 15 Day Cleanse.