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Friday Q & A

Aisling FitzGibbon

Q. Hi Aisling I’ve been reading  about the importance of magnesium in our diet and how many of us are deficient in it today. I would like to know why you would recommend it, what is the best kind of magnesium to take and how much would you recommend?  I sometimes find it difficult to fall asleep, especially if I’ve had a busy day.

A. Hi Laura, thanks for your question this week. Many people are deficient in magnesium due to post -industrial practices that have made the soil deficient. Vegetables that grow on deficient soil are very low in magnesium, a mineral that we need for our vitality and our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Magnesium really is nature’s chill pill. Without this mineral people find it difficult to relax. I always know when I am getting deficient as I become a jitter bug. I tend to worry about everything, from my impending driving test to buying my ideal home. Worry thoughts jostle for pole position in my brain and I feel myself rapidly going into fight and flight while being somewhere innocuous such as sitting on a chair! To counteract this I reach out for my magnesium capsules and begin to replete.

The first difference is my mind seems to slow down, my worry thoughts vanish and I feel calm. Although I don’t take magnesium everyday I take it whenever I need it for a few days. I feel that the body absorbs what it needs from the capsules and I feel happy and contented. The driving test is still looming but hey it’s not the end of the world and next time I’m taking the test in an automatic electric car that drives like a dream. Magnesium is one of the first minerals we lose when we are stressed so this could be why you find it hard to sleep when you’ve had a busy day. What happens is we become too tired and too wired to sleep. I’ve never had a problem sleeping but magnesium deficiency affects people in different ways and some people find it difficult to either fall asleep or they tend to wake up during the night and are unable to fall asleep until it's time to get up. 

The magnesium that I take is magnesium citrate along with B vitamins, zinc, selenium and manganese.  I find this formula is very soothing to my nervous system.I also use magnesium oil as this oil is readily absorbed transdermally. I often use this after a shower as a barometer and find that if my magnesium levels are getting low it tends to slightly sting my skin. I tend to alternate between these two types of magnesium.

From my experience I have found that many of my clients sleep well with magnesium in its citrate form but others swear by magnesium glycinate. They swear it lets them sleep like a baby. 

Without knowing your case history I am unable to prescribe exact dosages as there can be contraindications when taking magnesium such as if you have kidney problems or if you are taking blood pressure medication.  Magnesium naturally lowers blood pressure so medication would need to be adjusted. People respond differently to magnesium. In some cases the oral dosages may need to be increased or decreased according to how the person is responding.  In other instances the person is very sensitive to taking oral supplements and can only tolerate using  magnesium oil on the skin.