If there was one supplement I would choose for fibromyalgia it would have to be magnesium, a mineral that is vital for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body yet alarmingly many of us may be deficient!
What causes Magnesium Deficiency?
One of the reasons may be down to bad food choice. Let’s face it the odd takeaway or processed meal seems like an easy option when you’re dead on your feet and who feels like veggie prep and slaving at the cooker when you’re struggling with pain and wiped out by fatigue!
Although this may be tempting at times unfortunately this is not a good solution for managing depleted levels of magnesium and results with further deficiencies, poor gut health and other health complications. Other robbers of magnesium include:
- Stress: Magnesium, along with other nutrients, is needed for stress hormone production. Whether it’s emotional or environmental stress our bodies have to produce higher levels of stress hormones to cope and perpetuates depletion of magnesium.
- Medication: Some medications deplete magnesium and other nutrients that our body needs to function efficiently.
- Caffeine: To much caffeine causes internal stress robbing the body of magnesium and disrupting hormone balance.
- Sugar: Sugar and the hidden sugars increase fibromyalgia pain. For each molecule of sugar consumed we need at least 50 molecules of magnesium to process it.
- Cooking: Levels of magnesium and other nutrients are destroyed in the cooking process.
Magnesium is a busy mineral! To name just a few of its roles: It’s needed to synthesize protein in our body. It’s vital for heart health and maintaining the electrical charge in our cells, especially blood vessels, muscle, heart and bowel. It helps to regulate blood sugar and energy levels, maintains our bones and teeth, helping to regulate calcium, sodium and potassium.
Magnesium for fibromyalgia is particularly important for helping to relax the muscles as well as supporting the neurotransmitters in our brain that affect memory, mood and nerves. It also boosts the immune system and helps to protect against sensitivities and allergens.
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
- Cramp and muscle twitches, restless legs
- Muscle tremors, numbness, tingling and weakness
- Migraines and headache
- General aches and pains
- Low mood and depression
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Hormone Imbalance
- Fibromyalgia pain
How to Increase Magnesium for Fibromyalgia
The first course of action is to eat a wide variety of foods that are abundant in a broad spectrum of nutrients. Magnesium rich foods include dark leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and salad greens. You can add these to smoothies along with a choice of nourishing super food powders packed full of a variety of health giving goodies of vitamins, minerals and essential fats, try:
Spirulina Chia Seeds Maca Cacoa Flax Seed Hemp Oil
Other foods to increase your magnesium intake include avacado, banana, nuts and seeds, almond milk or butter, quinoa, wheat, legumes and fatty fish like mackerel. Many herbs and spices are a good source and if you do have a sweet tooth treat yourself to some dark chocolate.
Magnesium Supplementation for Fibromyalgia
Used topically as a spray, lotion or gel means you can massage it directly onto painful areas and for many sufferers this gives instant relief or enjoy a soak in a warm Epsom salt bath to help give you a peaceful night’s sleep. When you consider what might be depleting the levels of magnesium in your body, it’s estimated that only 20 to 50% of magnesium is absorbed in your body so it might be worth taking a supplement as a precautionary option.
Not all supplements are created equally and you will benefit from one that is in an easily absorbed form such as magnesium citrate. It’s advisable to seek advice from a Nutritionist or your Doctor before taking a supplement to make sure there are no contra-indications with medications or health concerns. Some forms of magnesium supplements may cause nausea, diarrhea or other less common side effects.
My personal favorite as a fibromyalgia treatment option is Natural Calm, from Natural Vitality, a pleasant tasting powder that can be taken at intervals throughout the day to give 325 mg of magnesium in 2 teaspoonfuls. It’s advised that you start off with a quarter of a teaspoon and build up gradually.
If you’re looking for Home Remedies for Fibromyalgia look out for our Health and Well being Workshops at the clinic or call into our Support Group to find out more, we look forward to seeing you.
author Jok Saunders, Fibromyalgia Health and Well being Practitioner at the Fibro Clinic South West