Like a gold miner, I keep digging for nuggets of information that could assist my healing from mental and physical issues. In one of my earlier posts on the fascia and scoliosis, I stumbled upon the benefits of Epsom salts as a muscle relaxant. Curious I looked it up – magnesium sulfate is its scientific name.
On further probing, I have discovered that magnesium is a critical mineral required for numerous chemical synthesis in our mind-body system. Unfortunately, modern diets are sorely lacking in this master mineral.
Moreover, a majority of the doctors overlook magnesium deficiency when diagnosing numerous medical conditions. Insufficient magnesium could cause heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, arthritis, asthma, migraines, insomnia, thyroid problems, muscle cramps/spasms, PMS, kidney stones, constipation, hypertension, nerve dysfunction, joint pain, epilepsy, fibromyalgia. autism. ADHD and more.
Why Magnesium is so Important
According to Dr. Carolyn Deen author of The Magnesium Miracle, magnesium is necessary for the activation and function of 700- 800 different enzyme systems in the body. It synthesizes proteins, stabilizes our DNA, transmits nerve signals, relaxes muscles, maintains bone health.
Additionally, it helps keep our heartbeat steady, regulates our blood pressure, balances blood sugar, helps in ATP production, a molecule that captures chemical energy from food and uses it to fuel other processes in the body.
It also helps to balance and control stress hormones. Specifically, magnesium is essential for the production of serotonin, which is responsible for relaxing the nervous system and lifting moods.
Alas, chronic stress depletes this mineral from our body.
Stress and Magnesium Deficiency – A Vicious cycle
Magnesium suppresses the ability of the hippocampus to stimulate the release of ACTH, a stress hormone. ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) tells your adrenal glands to rev up and pump out cortisol and adrenaline. In short, magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm down and stop the adrenal glands from going haywire.
Further, magnesium interacts with GABA receptors, supporting the calming actions of this neurotransmitter. Magnesium also keeps glutamate—an excitatory neurotransmitter—within healthy limits. Furthermore, people with higher magnesium levels also have healthy amounts of serotonin in the cerebrospinal fluid. What’s more, dopamine synthesis requires magnesium. This means your feel-good hormones are dependent on optimal magnesium supply.
Chronic stress causes our body to use up magnesium to counteract the stress hormones cortisol and adrenal. Magnesium is released to calm our nervous system. However, ongoing stress ups magnesium utilization which in turn increases our body’s susceptibility to stress and thus a vicious cycle of magnesium deficiency causing mental health issues.
Calcium Magnesium Synergetic Connection
Magnesium is needed in order for the body to properly absorb calcium properly. It stimulates the hormone, calcitonin. Now. calcitonin is responsible for increasing calcium absorption in the bones and stops calcium from being absorbed into the soft tissues.
If you’re deficient in magnesium, your body has trouble absorbing calcium. It keeps calcium dissolved in the blood. Without magnesium, calcium deposits are left in the kidneys, arteries, and joints. Kidney stones, cardiovascular calcification, vascular calcification in the breast are some of the conditions that have an underlying magnesium deficiency.
Many forms of arthritis are precisely due to excess calcium (plaque-like build-up) in the soft tissues but low calcium levels in the skeletal system.
Furthermore, excess calcium and insufficient magnesium could cause heart palpitations. Both synergetically work together – calcium contracts muscles while magnesium relaxes the muscles. Always combine the two to avoid calcium build-up.
Signs of Deficiency
In today’s world, more than 80% of people suffer from magnesium deficiency which is usually misdiagnosed. Food refining and modern dietary habits are the culprits.
Lack of this mineral causes a number of unpleasant side effects.
- twitching (esp. eyes!)
- menstrual / leg cramps
- sleeping and insomnia
- struggle to relax
- constipation / diarrhea
- mood swings
- chronic fatigue
- aches and pains
- heart rhythm changes or spasms
Foods Rich in Magnesium
Obtaining this mineral from natural foods is always the best strategy. And magnesium is present in a variety of foods:
1) Whole grains: wheat, oats and barley, buckwheat, and quinoa which has the highest among grains
2) Legumes: black beans, lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans.
3) Vegetables: spinach, kale, avocado, swiss chard, edamame (green soybeans), tamarind, potato with skin, okra, turnip greens, and mustard greens.
4) Nuts and Seeds: flax, pumpkin, chia seeds, almonds, peanuts, cashews, brazil nuts, sesame seeds
5) Fruits: banana, avocado, dates, figs
6) Non-veg: Fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Meat and poultry don’t have a lot of magnesium
7) Others: dark chocolate, soy, cheese, yogurt, peanut butter
Do keep in mind, no single nutrient or food prevents disease. It is better to eat a varied, balanced diet than to concentrate on individual foods.
Types of Supplements
If like many you suffer from magnesium deficiency you could add supplemental magnesium to your diet. Here is a list of the various varieties of magnesium available.
More Popular Supplements
2) Magnesium L-threonate: It is the only form of magnesium to pass the blood-brain barrier. It supports brain health, helpful in mental health issues like depression and memory loss.
3) Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt): It is used to relieve stress, sore muscle, and body aches. Mostly used in soothing baths.
4) Magnesium chloride It is easily absorbed orally and used to treat heartburn, constipation, and low magnesium levels. Also, applying it topically may help relieve muscle soreness. Topical magnesium utilizes the bloodstream to circulate throughout the entire body to the specific sites where your body needs it most.
Less Effective Supplements
6) Magnesium taurate: This also has heart health-boosting benefits. It is good for managing high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
7) Magnesium malate: It is easily absorbed but may have less of a laxative effect than other forms. It’s occasionally recommended for chronic conditions like fibromyalgia.
9) Magnesium citrate: It improves your digestion and is the most bioavailable form of magnesium.
Epsom Salt Remedy for Scoliosis
Even though out 99% of total body magnesium is located in bone, muscle, and non-muscular soft tissue there is no real information with regards to using magnesium in the treatment of scoliosis. However, Epsom salt has always been recommended for sore muscles and pain, thus it makes sense it should be the go-to treatment for managing scoliosis.
Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body, including reducing inflammation and helping muscle and nerve function. Sulfate plays a vital role in the formation of brain tissues and increases the absorption rate of nutrition in our body.
According to my research, most cases of idiopathic scoliosis are due to muscle armoring which leads to tightening of the myofascial tissues. What better remedy than using Epsom salts for relieving tight and painful scoliotic muscles.
Nonetheless, since I have nothing to lose by experimenting I must admit that just adding Epsom salt to my daily routine has helped immensely. Like most who have scoliosis, I too suffer from tight muscles, muscle tension, pain, and emotional mood swings.
I am happy to confess that simply applying Epsom salt mixed with water, some castor oil, and coconut oil and rubbing it all over my body has immensely reduced the pain and have relaxed my taunt muscles. Also, my mood has improved substantially, I feel calmer.
Alternately, one can opt for a long Epsom salt soak in the tub.
According to, Dr. Dean transdermal (via the skin) magnesium application is very effective. It is one of the most effective applications for use in musculoskeletal issues
Dr. Carolyn Dean on the Importance of Magnesium
Pay Attention To Your Mind and Body
Low magnesium levels are connected to nearly all dis-eased states, in both the mind and body. Are you feeling tired? Is your blood pressure high? Are your muscles sore and painful? Is your sugar level high? Does your skin itch? Do you suffer from sleeplessness?
The first step is to check your magnesium levels.
Though a blood test is usually the most common way to check magnesium deficiency. it is not very accurate. One of the best ways to measure tissue levels of magnesium is through Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA).
Try increasing magnesium in your diet via food or supplements. Pay attention to how you feel before and after additional magnesium. However, do consult a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and correct dosage of magnesium.
Remember, being proactive when it comes to maintaining your health goes a long way in keeping away debilitating illnesses.