When skin-care guru Julia March was having trouble sleeping, and super stressed out from work, and getting bad leg cramps all the time she knew needed a solution.
What she didn’t expect was to find it in the form of a mineral.
That mineral was magnesium, and functional medicine physician Frank Lipman, MD, (also Gwyneth’s go-to doc) has a shocking stat about it: About 80 percent of people are magnesium deficient (whoa!).
What does magnesium do?
March’s husband, a certified health coach who also works as a naturopath, was the person who suggested she try it. “I started putting magnesium oil diluted with water on my stomach or legs [in the form of a spray] every evening,” she says. (She usually buys the oil from Ancient Minerals.) “I started noticing my muscle spasms going away, my stress level improved, and I felt more relaxed.”
Magnesium has super-power benefits like improving your muscle and bone strength. It controls hundreds of chemical reactions in the body, helps regulate blood pressure, and keeps the immune system strong,” Dr. Lipman says.
What contributes to magnesium deficiency?
Magnesium can be found in your blood, bones, and organs. “But stress, caffeine, sugar, and alcohol can lead to magnesium depletion,” Dr. Lipman explains. Also implicated? Birth control pills, hypertension medications, and certain antibiotics, he says.
How should you apply it or supplement it—and how much is just right?
It sounds surprising, but topical magnesium oils and sprays are just as beneficial as oral supplements. Epsom or sea salts and/or magnesium flakes in a hot bath are also a great way to increase your magnesium levels, Dr. Lipman says. Your skin can absorb it and put it to great use, hence spas being big on a soak. (So fill your tub!)
As for supplements, he suggests taking 300 to 600 mg at night. March has started to take supplements in addition to the sprays and is using it in lotions during treatments with clients.
“Everybody talks about vitamins but they never talk about minerals,” March says. “This is a feel good mineral.” —Molly Gallagher