Recently, a paper was published reviewing the research to-date on the use of anti-depressants and their efficacy in treating depression, compared to supplementation with magnesium. It turns out that magnesium supplementation is more effective in treating the symptoms of depression than medication. Interestingly, these findings seem to have been ignored by news outlets and only the most hardy health nuts and enthusiasts shared this information with each other. This is just one example of how important this mineral is in the human body.
Your body uses magnesium when dealing with the effects of stress (yes – this is why we reach for chocolate when we feel stressed).
Your body uses it when you eat sugar. For one molecule of sugar, your body will use 54 molecules of magnesium and, of course, you need it for healthy muscle function, as low magnesium levels can cause muscle cramps, which can be very painful, among other health problems.
The Standard Western Diet is quite poor in magnesium-rich foods like nuts or cacao nibs and as these are energy-dense foods, trying to meet your magnesium requirement through these might cause you to overeat. There is always the option of oral supplementation, but when taking supplements, bear in mind that magnesium doesn’t absorb very well orally and that only about 10% is utilised by your body. Another method of supplementing magnesium is transdermally, in the form of bath salts. Our skin is a great barrier from the external world, but it is also a semi-permeable membrane, meaning that skin is a highly absorbant organ (that is why chemical-free cosmetics are a good investment). Magnesium salt baths have the added benefit of relaxation and taking the opportunity of soaking in the bath and having some well-deserved ‘me time’. Whatever you choose, make sure you get enough magnesium for the benefit of both your mental and physical bodies.