Magnesium Part 2: A Mother’s Success Story

In our previous post, “Magnesium: The Wonder Mineral,” we praised magnesium as a key ingredient for keeping us physically and emotionally balanced. To recap, magnesium is a “co-enzyme” for over 300 fundamental biochemical reactions in our bodies ­– meaning these critical biological processes could not occur without the help of magnesium.

Among its myriad health benefits, magnesium is also known as the “relaxation mineral” and is a valued supplement among functional medicine pediatricians. In this post, we’ll illustrate its miraculous calming effects by sharing how magnesium helped to revitalize the life and health of Rachel – a new mother from San Francisco and a GetzWell patient.

Rachel’s Story.

Like a lot of new parents, Rachel was experiencing heightened anxiety after giving birth to her baby. As many of you know, caring for a newborn can feel like uncharted territory with a brand new little human depending on you 24/7.

Rachel struggled with the constant fear of being ill-prepared for motherhood, and couldn’t stop her mind from entertaining “worst case scenarios” such as her baby stopping breathing and needing to call 911 or harming her infant in some irreparable way. Rachel’s building anxiety was so severe that she couldn’t sleep and too often felt on the verge of a panic attack.

At a loss for what to do, Rachel considered consulting a psychiatrist – her mood and mind “running away with her” was becoming unsustainable. However, she feared that most mainstream physicians would likely prescribe medication(s) to treat her anxiety – pharmaceuticals that would mask her symptoms but wouldn’t deal with their root cause. Instead, Rachel sought our guidance, hoping to find a holistic solution for her distress. Luckily, we had one…

Magnesium to the rescue.

As functional medicine pediatricians, supplementing with often-depleted minerals and vitamins is an integral part of the personalized care we deliver to our young patients and their parents. When Rachel came to us with her issues of anxiety and sleeplessness, we encouraged her to give magnesium a shot.

Rachel began taking magnesium per our recommended dose and after 3 days she started falling asleep within about 10 minutes — prior to that she had been lying awake with a racing mind for 2+ hours. After a week of taking magnesium, she started noticing that she was having fewer escalating anxiety moments and was able to find ways to calm herself. Within two weeks, Rachel realized she no longer experienced the feeling of an impending panic attack. Thanks to magnesium, Rachel was able to enjoy her baby much more without the debilitating fears and anxieties that once plagued her.

Magnesium also aided Rachel in her transition back to work after maternity leave. Her job involved travel and adjusting to time zone changes, and it turns out that magnesium was all she needed to weather the jet lag and fall asleep easily no matter where she traveled. AND once her periods returned, Rachel experienced fewer menstrual cramps, headaches and other PMS symptoms – yet another added bonus!

Types of Magnesium

In order to get the most out of magnesium’s wide-ranging benefits, you need to make sure that you’re taking the form that is right for your needs. The basic forms of magnesium and their purposes are as follows:

  • Magnesium citrate helps constipation by drawing water into the intestines; however, too much can cause diarrhea and that’s the biggest “risk” of using it.
  • Magnesium glycinate and magnesium threonate are better absorbed and don’t draw water into the intestines like the citrate form. They should be used for conditions like anxiety, headaches, migraines, insomnia, and menstrual cramps.

But why is supplementation important?

Our diets lack magnesium because our food is only as magnesium rich as our soil. Unfortunately, our soil is direly depleted of magnesium due to over-farming and industrial pesticides like glyphosate, a “mineral chelator” that immobilizes nutrients so they’re not physiologically available to your body.

There are many safe magnesium supplements to consider – and many of them are available for purchase in both of our San Francisco offices and also at our virtual pharmacy: Fullscript. Examples include Natural Calm, a magnesium citrate supplement that comes in a powder or chewable form, and Pure Encapsulations, a producer of magnesium glycinate capsules.

How much magnesium should you take?

Every body is unique and it’s always best to consult a physician to find the dose that’s right for you. Below are Mayo Clinic recommendations to give you a range of magnesium requirements by age:

  • 1 to 3 years of age — 40 to 80 mg per day.
  • 4 to 6 years of age — 120 mg per day.
  • 7 to 10 years of age — 170 mg per day.
  • Adult and teenage females — 280 to 300 mg per day.
  • Pregnant women — 320 mg per day.
  • Breast-feeding mothers — 340 to 355 mg per day.
  • Adult and teenage males — 270 to 400 mg per day.

However, we’ve found that some adults need as much as 1000 mg or more a day! Again, the biggest risk to taking too much magnesium is diarrhea. Easing up from that dose will allow quick resolution of loose stools while still providing magnesium’s myriad benefits.

We’re here to help.

We helped Rachel manage the stress and anxiety in her postpartum life – and we’d love to do the same for you. Give us a call at our San Francisco offices at 415-826-1701 to discuss a customized magnesium supplementation plan for your unique needs.