You can’t really classify minerals under spiritually but, if you could, magnesium would be the spiritual mineral.
The essence of magnesium is about relaxation, it’s about being in your body and expanding into yourself. It is the mineral that will allow you to let go on a physical level whilst simultaneously increasing your energy levels. Just increasing the levels of bio-available magnesium in your body will create a significant change in you as a person.
Magnesium is a macro mineral that is required in the body in fairly large amounts and as long as you’re eating right it is easy to get enough into your body to maintain your levels. But, this is the problem, there are alot of people out there who aren’t eating right and as a result it is affecting them on a cellular level because they didn’t have enough magnesium to start with. In fact they are actually depleting their levels by their food and drink choices. A high fat diet will reduce the amount of magnesium absorption and drinks that have a diuretic effect such as sugary or caffeinated drinks will cause magnesium (and potassium) to be lost through the urine. When we eat refined/processed foods the body actually has to tap into it’s own magnesium resources (as well as other vitamins and minerals) in order to be able to digest and metabolise this food.
Magnesium is present in about 300 different enzymes in the body and is used to activate starch digesting enzymes. We require the presence of magnesium in order to able to absorb calcium, it is involved in the activation of muscles and nerves and it is used in the synthesis of RNA and DNA in our cells. We really have got to pay more attention to our magnesium intake!
Let’s look at it in more detail on a cellular level. Magnesium sits inside your cell alongside potassium which is where these two electrolytes (the ionised constituents of a living cell – i.e. they carry an electrical charge) belong in our body (the other place you also find a high proportion of magnesium in the body is in the bones). Amongst other functions potassium assists in cellular biochemical reactions, protein synthesis, converting glucose into glycogen so it can be stored in the liver and maintaining an electrical charge between the inside of the cell membrane and the outside – this is referred to as the resting membrane potential which is the normal state that cell needs to be in to maintain ideal cellular volume and optimum function. Magnesium supports potassium in the process of maintaining this electrical charge by facilitating the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the mitochondria (the power stations) of the cell. ATP provides the energy to drive sodium/potassium pumps that sit inside your cell membrane pumping two potassium ions into the cell and three sodium ions out of the cell.
Why is the sodium/potassium pump important? Well, if the pump didn’t work properly then too much sodium would find its way into the cell. Wherever sodium goes water will follow and the cell would swell. If this was not quickly rectified the cell would burst and die. The problem with sodium is that if we have too much of it in our diets it will more aggressively find its way into our cells and push potassium out of the cell causing an imbalance.
Ultimately the four main electrolytes should be organised so that magnesium and potassium sit inside the cell and sodium and calcium are in the extracellular spaces. Calcium is also found in the bones and the blood where it helps to maintain blood sugar levels. The magnesium and the potassium in effect help the cell to detoxify and maintain an alkaline environment for cellular reactions to take place and, of course as mentioned, magnesium helps that cell to produce energy. If the cell gets too acidic, however, calcium is mobilised (often from the bones) to try and buffer this acidity. The only problem is that this will caused the cell to become more hardened and contracted, the opposite effect to magnesium which causes the cell to relax.
You may read the above discussion about what is going on at a cellular level and wonder how it affects you. The important thing to remember is that you are a reflection of the 70 – 100 trillion cells in your body – the macrocosm is just a bigger version of the microcosm. If your cells are swollen, contracted, acidic and low in energy then guess what, so are you! The flip side to this is if we ensure our magnesium (and potassium) levels are good and that we are in a position to absorb these minerals then our cells will be vibrant, relaxed, alkaline and healthy and so will we!
To put your cells in the best position to receive nutrients such as magnesium and potassium you need to work on ensuring that you cell membranes are open enough to allow for their efficient movement into the cell. You can do this by ensuring you are well hydrated and that you have a good intake of omega 3 essential fatty acids.
Initially, the best way to alkalise your body (i.e. increase your intake of magnesium and potassium) is to get this through diet. It’s simple, just eat more fruit and veg, particularly leafy greens. Yes other things like cashew nuts, almonds, some non-glutinous grains and sea vegetables also contain good amounts but just eat them in moderation. The main focus should be on good old fashioned fruit and veg. Occasional green juices are also a great way of making these nutrients more bio-available to the body. Needless to say aim to get as much of your food intake from organic sources.
Traditionally I would encourage people not to supplement with potassium as it can create an aggressive cleanse on a cellular level but you can supplement with magnesium.
You need to build up your intake of magnesium slowly though if you are supplementing or if you use magnesium chloride salts in the bath. I’ve had clients who have put 500g of salts in their bath and they have gone into a big cleanse. Likewise, early on in my own personal healing journey I have had too many green juices combined with magnesium citrate supplements and also gone into a cleanse because the magnesium has started to create a big detox on a cellular level. Imagine the magnesium going into the cell and providing the energy for the cell to have a good clear out. Those toxins need to follow a route out of the body (the Elimination Cycle – refer to my Got Water, Got Life blog). If there are any blockages along the way then this will produce cleansing symptoms which can vary from swollen glands, headaches, achy joints and muscles, nausea, diarrhoea and skin breakouts (itchy skin, eczema, rashes) amongst others depending on where in the Elimination Cycle you are stuck.
The best supplemental form of magnesium to use is magnesium chloride. Bronze Age Nutrition do the oral drops and we sell the magnesium chloride salts that you can use in the bath. Soaking in a magnesium chloride bath is a great way to get magnesium straight into your tissues but for daily intake of magnesium especially for your digestive functions you should take it orally.