Magnesium is an essential nutrient that plays a role in everything from the proper functioning of the nervous system to how well we sleep. But we do not always get enough magnesium in the foods we eat even if we have a healthy diet. While taking an oral supplement is one option, some research has indicated that using a topical cream containing magnesium may provide better absorption.
Magnesium is needed for almost all organs of the body to function optimally. In fact, the mineral is involved in about 600 body processes or reactions. For instance, magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle function. It also plays a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Magnesium also is needed to make protein and for bone growth.
But that’s not all. Proper levels of magnesium help promote relaxation and healthy brain function. Magnesium helps gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) work efficiently. GABA is a neurotransmitter that regulates messages between cells in the brain. Low levels of GABA are linked to mental health issues and mood disturbances.
Low levels of magnesium may also adversely affect how well you sleep. Without enough magnesium, you may have increased pain and restless muscles, which interfere with falling and staying asleep.
Increasing magnesium levels in your body may improve sleep in a couple of ways. For example, using magnesium supplements may help to improve sleep problems, such as insomnia.
A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences involved 46 elderly adults that had insomnia. The participants were divided into two groups. One group received 500 mg of magnesium every day for eight weeks. The other group received a placebo. The adults completed a questionnaire that accessed insomnia severity and kept a sleep log.
The results indicated that the group that took magnesium reported less insomnia, improved sleep, and had an easier time falling asleep than the placebo group.
Since magnesium also may help decrease pain levels, that may also improve sleep quality. Less pain may mean an easier time getting to sleep and less nighttime wakening. Magnesium also may decrease anxiety and promotes relaxation. We all know it is easier to fall asleep when we don’t feel stressed.
True magnesium deficiency is not that common in the United States. But a large percentage of people do not get the recommended daily allowance of magnesium, which means they may not have optimal magnesium levels.
When magnesium is low, it can contribute to several health issues. For example, low levels of magnesium may make pain worse. Researchers have found that magnesium may prevent pain hypersensitivity. Magnesium has been shown to improve pain from migraines, neuropathic pain, and menstrual cramps. Over time, low magnesium may affect brain and nerve function, bone density, and the digestive system.
Even if you think you are getting enough magnesium, you may be at risk for low levels. If you eat a diet low in foods that contain magnesium, you are at an increased risk of having low magnesium. But there are also additional factors and conditions that may also raise your chances of reduced magnesium levels. Having diabetes, thyroid conditions, and inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, may lead to a deficiency in magnesium.
Magnesium supplements are available in different forms, including tablets, liquid, and gummies. But topical magnesium is also an option, which may work even better.
A topical cream infused with magnesium is applied directly to the skin. It is an easy and convenient way of magnesium supplementation. Using topical magnesium may improve overall health in several ways, including the following:
When using topical magnesium, it penetrates the skin quickly. The hair follicles in the skin help the penetration of the mineral. But is using topical magnesium better than taking an oral supplement? It does appear to have several advantages.
The advantages of using topical magnesium include it may allow for better absorption than taking an oral supplement. The mineral is absorbed directly by the skin cells and does not have to go through the digestive process. It travels through the skin directly to the tissues in the body.
Another benefit of using topical magnesium is it does not lead to gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea and stomach upset, as an oral supplement may.
As with all supplements, it’s best to talk with your doctor to make sure magnesium supplementation is right for you. But most people can use topical magnesium safely without side effects. Keep in mind; it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
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