Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in our body and is essential to good health. Approximately half of the magnesium in our body is found in bone. The other half is predominately inside the cells and only about 1 percent is found in circulating blood. Magnesium is essential for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, as well as cardiac health, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and helps keep bones strong. Magnesium is even involved in energy metabolism (production of ATP) and protein synthesis. Simply put, we must have it to have good health.
Epsom salt is Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate (MgSO4·7H2O). It is most commonly mined from the earth. People have been taking Epsom salt baths for centuries. We absorb Epsom salt wonderfully through our skin. In fact, our absorption of both Magnesium and Sulfates are significantly higher when soaked through the skin rather than ingested. The “float tank” makes a perfect tool for people to absorb the magnesium that we need. By spending a session in a float tank these elements are allowed to bypass our digestive track, which both saves us energy and is especially important in helping our body process sulfates well. Besides it’s naturally relaxing effect, we have hundreds of uses for Magnesium and Sulfates throughout our body. Magnesium is an essential dietary mineral, and the second most prevalent electrolyte in the human body. A deficiency increases blood pressure, reduces glucose tolerance and causes neural excitation.
Early signs of magnesium deficiency also include loss of appetite, anorexia, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, poor memory, reduced ability to learn, apathy, worry and confusion. Magnesium deficiencies are common in the western diet because grains are poor sources of magnesium. Other prominent sources of magnesium, like nuts and leafy vegetables, are not eaten as often. It is possible to fix a magnesium deficiency through dietary changes. This would be the optimum way to achieve the greatest balance between nutrition and floating. Soaking in an Epsom Salt bath is one of the most effective means of making the magnesium your body needs readily available. Epsom Salt also delivers sulfates, which medical research indicates are needed for the formation of brain tissue, joint proteins and the mucin proteins that line the walls of the digestive tract. Studies show that sulfates also stimulate the pancreas to generate digestive enzymes and help to detoxify the body's residue of medicines and environmental contaminants. Studies indicate that sulfates are difficult to absorb from food, but are readily absorbed through the skin.
Maintaining healthy magnesium levels is also associated with a protective effect against depression and ADHD. The intestinal absorption of magnesium varies depending on how much magnesium the body needs, so there are not very many side-effects associated with supplementation. If deficient, high acute doses of supplemental magnesium can be slightly sedative. This reaction explains why after a float, people experience a well-rested night of sleep, and arise feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. One other study has reported synergism between B6 and Magnesium in regards to anxiety reduction, when the subjects were women experiencing PMS; it is theoretically possible that the ZMA formulation enhances the actions of pyridoxine allowing some extent relief for those going through their own cycle of PMS. *individual and special cases call for the advice of a qualified medical/wellness practitioner. *Do Not Confuse With Manganese.
Sleep It seems that magnesium is actually able to create feelings of drowsiness that help us to drift off. Magnesium is also able to relax the muscles and regulate the heart rate, this can further help us to doze off into a deep slumber.
Relieves Constipation Magnesium is a quick remedy for constipation. This is due to the laxative quality of magnesium that helps the intestinal muscles relax.
Strengthens Bones Magnesium is essential for bone formation since it helps with calcium absorption. Ideal magnesium intake is linked with higher bone density, and a lower risk of osteoporosis
Treats Migraine Headaches Magnesium deficiency is associated with factors that trigger headaches. People who suffer from migraines usually have lower levels of magnesium. Magnesium may help reduce or prevent symptoms of migraine headaches.
Helps Manage Diabetes Magnesium plays a key role in glucose and carbohydrate metabolism. Numerous studies have linked a higher magnesium intake with a lower risk of diabetes.
Improves Heart Health Magnesium is critical to retain the health of your muscles, which include the heart. Sufficient magnesium intake is linked with a lower risk of hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
Relieves Premenstrual Syndrome An adequate intake of magnesium, particularly combined with vitamin B6, may help alleviate symptoms of PMS, such as insomnia, bloating, weight gain, leg swelling, etc.
Relieves Anxiety Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with high anxiety levels. This appears to related activity in the HPA axis, a set of 3 glands that regulate a person’s reaction to anxiety.
Helps Treat Psychiatric Dysfunctions Magnesium is well-known for curing some of the common psychiatric disorders like stress, panic attacks, and stress.
Prevents Asthma People suffering from chronic asthma may be able to stabilize their breathing patterns with magnesium supplements that help sooth bronchial muscles and manage breathing.
Increases Energy Levels Magnesium helps increase the production of energy in the body and it encourages enzyme activation to create cellular energy.
Helps Produce Collagen Magnesium is key for making proteins that are gradually turned into collagen. Which is a naturally occurring protein present in tissues like ligaments, the skin, and tendons. Moreover, it is present in the bones, cornea, cartilage, intervertebral discs. The more collagen you have in your system, the stronger those body parts will become.
Regulates Functions of the Bladder A lot of people with bladder issues and constant urge to urinate may find magnesium supplements to be especially relieving. Magnesium intake can offer relief from such ailments.
Stimulates the Absorption of Minerals It helps absorb key minerals and vitamins like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. Mineral absorption typically occurs in the small intestine, which allows detoxification of numerous dangerous toxins.
Prevents Eclamptic Attacks It is one of the most essential elements that help ensure a trouble-free pregnancy. Magnesium sulfate is the best remedy for stopping eclamptic attacks in expectant ladies who may suffer from high blood pressure.
Offers Anti-inflammatory Benefits It’s deficiency is associated with chronic inflammation, which can contribute to chronic diseases and obesity. However, magnesium supplements can help reduce CRP and other inflammation markers in older adults, pre-diabetic people and overweight people.
Brain Plasticity Brain plasticity describes the ability of the brain to grow and change shape in response to its experiences and learning. Brain plasticity can help us to prevent age-related cognitive decline and will also improve your ability to quickly learn new skills.
Muscle Pain This same function also makes magnesium effective at relieving muscle pain and preventing cramps. This also makes magnesium a great choice for athletes that train hard in the gym and then suffer from ‘DOMS’ or ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness’.
Heart Health Magnesium is actually found in the very highest quantities in the heart and specifically inside the left ventricle supporting proper blood pressure. Of course, it also means it can help to relieve high blood pressure and lessen your risk of heart disease or stroke.
Stress Stress can increase the amount of magnesium we lose from our body (in urine), leading to a magnesium deficiency. When you have low magnesium levels, the point at which your adrenal glands produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol is also lower.
Creativity Did you know that magnesium could also increase your creativity? Studies show that a more relaxed brain is more creative because the mind is allowed to wander. Got writer’s block? Add some magnesium to your diet!
Testosterone Magnesium is a crucial ingredient in the formation of testosterone. This can increase virility, fertility and sexual performance, but moreover, it boosts muscle mass, combats depression and anxiety, improves performance and burns calories to reduce fat.
Gut Flora We often think of bacteria as being a negative thing, but in fact, bacteria can be both good and bad depending on the kind and the location. Having the right bacteria in the gut, for instance, is actually very important for our general health. This produces important chemicals which help us with our digestion.
Immune System Magnesium is actually also a great tool for strengthening your body against germs and preventing colds, flu and more serious ailments. Magnesium interestingly acts like a kind of ‘armor’ for your immune system to help block incoming attacks and to support it in its various crucial jobs around the body.
Inflammation Inflammation can cause swelling in the joints, spine, and other key areas resulting in pain and impaired movement, but it also causes inflammation in the brain. That inflammation can actually cause our brain function to deteriorate and cause symptoms associated with ‘brain fog’. This is the reason that you might struggle with concentration during a cold.
Fights Osteoporosis Magnesium doesn’t just strengthen the bones, it also fortifies them against troubling problems and specifically can prevent you from developing osteoporosis. As men get older their testosterone production drops significantly and this combined with lack of exercise can result in easily broken bones leading to hip replacements and other medical conditions.
Antioxidant Magnesium is in itself an antioxidant. By taking antioxidants you can prevent damage to the exterior of cells that builds up to create the appearance of wrinkles and sun-spots, reducing your likelihood of developing cancer and combat the effects of aging!
Diabetes Magnesium might be a useful supplement if you have a family history of diabetes. This is because studies show that a magnesium deficiency is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Thus, increasing the magnesium in your diet might be able to prevent the onset of this life-changing illness. In addition, magnesium might also be useful for managing the condition if you are already a diabetic patient. This is because magnesium improves the metabolization of carbohydrates following a meal, thereby reducing the likelihood of serious blood spikes.
If deficient, high acute doses of supplemental magnesium can be slightly sedative. This reaction explains why after a float, people experience a well-rested night of sleep, and arise feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. One other study has reported synergism between B6 and Magnesium in regards to anxiety reduction, when the subjects were women experiencing PMS; it is theoretically possible that the ZMA formulation enhances the actions of pyridoxine allowing some extent relief for those going through their own cycle of PMS. *individual and special cases call for the advice of a qualified medical/wellness practitioner.
What is ZMA and does it cause “Weird” Dreams? ZMA (Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, Magnesium Aspartate and Vitamin B6) is a supplement used primarily by athletes, gymnasts, and bodybuilders. It is most often used as a recovery aid; notably, studies show that ZMA helps the body achieve deeper levels of REM sleep. Is it possible that ZMA can cause weird dreams? Zma is a proprietary blend of Zinc bound to monomethionine, Magnesium bound to aspartate, and the vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine). It is sometimes reported to give users weird, vivid dreams.
As of this posting, research has not yet been completed in regards to dosing ZMA, and having it in a person’s biological system while they float. As some people are searching for ways to dream, mind travel, astral project, and basically just explore their own minds, ZMA may hold the hope to assist in reaching these places of lucidity.
One other study has reported synergism between B6 and Magnesium in regards to anxiety reduction, when the subjects were women experiencing PMS; it is theoretically possible that the ZMA formulation enhances the actions of pyridoxine allowing some extent relief for those going through their own cycle of PMS.
Human Effect Matrix The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (excluding animal/petri-dish studies) to tell you what effect Magnesium has in your body, and how strong these effects are. *The listing of percentages denotes the collaborative scientific consensus.
Blood Pressure – 60% There appears to be a significant reduction in blood pressure assuming one of two conditions is met, either the subject is low in magnesium levels in the body (deficient) or if the subject has elevated blood pressure (140/90 or above), with the latter not requiring a deficiency to precede the blood pressure reducing effects.
Asthma – 75% There appears to be a reduction in asthmatic symptoms associated with magnesium supplementation to a low degree. There may be a role for magnesium in aiding untreated asthma, whereas already medicated situations are not certain.
Blood Glucose – 42% There appears to be some reduction in blood glucose in diabetics and persons with elevated glucose with magnesium supplementation, which may be secondary to better insulin functioning from the pancreas.
Insulin – 60% Decreases in fasting insulin appear to occur over long term supplementation with magnesium in persons at risk for diabetes or already with the disease state; decreases in insulin may not occur in normoglycemic persons.
Insulin Sensitivity – 75% There appears to be increases in insulin sensitivity as assessed by HOMA-IR, which is thought to be secondary to aiding pancreatic function.
Aerobic Exercise – 100% The one study to assess aerobic exercise capacity noted a significant improvement during extreme physical stress, which is notable and needs replication.
Muscle Oxygenation – 100% The one study to measure muscle oxygenation in high-intensity exercise noted quite a remarkable increase in oxygenation in healthy athletes.
Bone Mineral Density - 100% An increase in bone mineral density has been noted with magnesium supplementation.
Migraine – 100% One study has noted a reduction in symptoms of migraines associated with oral magnesium supplementation.
*A migraine is an intense and prolonged headache that may or may not be preceded by an aura. Supplementation for migraines either reduces the severity of a migraine or, when taken daily, reduces the monthly frequency of migraines.
Sleep Quality – 100% An improvement in sleep nature has been noted in persons with poor sleep quality, no studies assess persons with normal sleep function.
Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy – 100% A reduction in symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathy has been noted with magnesium supplementation.
Depression – 100% Reduced depressive symptoms have been found in diabetics.
Symptoms of PMS - 100% A slight reduction in symptoms of PMS has been noted with magnesium supplementation.
Symptoms of Tinnitus – 100% Decreased symptoms associated with tinnitus have been noted following magnesium supplementation.
Biological Significance of Magnesium Magnesium is used in the body primarily as an electrolyte and a mineral cofactor for enzymes. As an electrolyte it serves to maintain fluid balance, and as a cofactor it serves a purpose in over 300 enzyme systems, most notably ATP, Adenyl Cyclase, and required for the activation of Creatine kinase as well as many of the enzymes in the glycolysis pathway. Body stores of magnesium are approximately between 21-28g (in a reference 154lb adult male), of which half is deposited in bone tissue. The majority of the rest of magnesium is located inside of cells. Non-bone and extracellular magnesium stores make up 0.3% of overall body magnesium stores, and exist as 55% free form magnesium, 33% bound to protein (such as enzymes) and 12% in anion complexes.
Deficiency of Magnesium The state of obesity may induce a Magnesium deficiency, which can be treated with injections of Vitamin D and may be more reflective of abnormalities in Vitamin D metabolism of which low Magnesium is a symptom. Diabetic persons (Type II) appear to have a greater risk of deficiency, approaching 25-38% of all persons.
Magnesium’s effect on Sleep Magnesium appears to have some role in sleep due to sedative-like actions, and being significantly but weakly correlated with the late midpoint of sleep independent of dietary energy composition. This may be more of an effect than a cause, as intentional sleep deprivation (sleeping 80% of normal length) for 4 weeks has been shown to reduce erythrocytic Magnesium levels by 3.5%. In a study on 12 healthy elderly persons, effervescent Magnesium (10mmol, working up to 30mmol) over 20 days led to an increase in slow-wave sleep (63.3%) and reduced sleeping cortisol levels, which acted to normalize age-related changes in sleep patterns. Benefits to sleep have also been found in persons aged 59+/-8 years who consumed less than the EAR for magnesium via their diets (265-350mg) where 320mg Magnesium Citrate over 7 weeks improved sleep quality and some inflammatory parameters additionally; interestingly, magnesium supplementation did not increase serum magnesium any more than placebo overall, but only when looking at deficient persons.
Magnesium and Depression Magnesium is associated with depression due to persons with depression having lower erythrocytic Magensium levels than healthy controls (75-77% of control in Major Depression), with some anti-depressants (amytriptiline and sertraline) increasing Magnesium stores in erythrocytes. However, this correlation is not noted at all times, and there doesn't appear to be a good relationship between serum Magnesium and depression. Additionally, removal of Magnesium from the diet of rats appears to result in anxiety and depressive-like symptoms. One review notes that increased rates of depression in society coincide with dietary reduction of Magnesium, with the beginning phases of wheat processing reducing Magnesium content of breads to 19% of their former (wheat) value and reducing the 450mg average intake in the 19th century to 250mg or less in subsequent centuries. When looking at the diets of persons suffering from depression, there appears to be an inverse relationship between dietary Magnesium intake and depressive symptoms. One hypothesis notes that a Magnesium deficiency, causing NDMA receptors to be chronically active, may lead to a form of neuronal injury misdiagnosed as treatment-resistant depression based on the phenotype.
Magnesium and PMS If deficient, high acute doses of supplemental magnesium can be slightly sedative. This reaction explains why after a float, people experience a well-rested night of sleep, and arise feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. One other study has reported synergism between B6 and Magnesium in regards to anxiety reduction, when the subjects were women experiencing PMS; it is theoretically possible that the ZMA formulation enhances the actions of pyridoxine allowing some extent relief for those going through their own cycle of PMS.
Measurement of Magnesium in Humans Measurement of Magnesium can be done in serum (from the blood) but does not tend to correlate well with bodily stores of Magnesium ions. Better measurements are erythrocytic (red blood cell) and mononuclear (white blood cell) with the latter correlating best with intramuscular Magnesium stores; muscles themselves can be subject to biopsy and measured.
Magnesium and the Brain Magnesium is critical to preserving neuronal function during periods of downtime, when the neuron is not firing. A deficiency of Magnesium in the brain (which tends to only occur during chronic deprivation of dietary magnesium) makes cells have more activation during periods where they are not intentionally activated.
Magnesium and ADHD Currently, there is some evidence for Magnesium being of use to children with ADHD as ADHD may be related to Magnesium deficiency. There is not enough evidence to assess the potency of Magnesium in this regard, but it may have value as adjunct therapy alongside standard drug therapy. Magnesium deficiency may be more common in children with diagnosed ADHD, with one study of 116 children noting a deficiency rate of 95% and another study noting a reduced Magnesium content in the saliva of children with ADHD relative to control children, where control saliva had a concentration of 0.70+/-0.2mmol/L and ADHD had a concentration of 0.23+/-0.06mmol/L. At least one study dividing children into subgroups of ADD and ADHD (with the difference being the presence of hyperactivity) noted that Magnesium deficiency only occurred in the hyperactive subgroup and not the inattentive group or control. Subsequently, an intervention of 50 diagnosed children (7-12yrs) with ADHD and dietary magnesium deficiency, there was a significant improvement in hyperactivity (relative to baseline) as assessed by two rating scales in response to daily ingestion of 200mg Magnesium over 6 months. These benefits may be augmented by Fish Oil omega 3 fatty acids, as evidenced by one cohort of 810 children followed for 12 weeks that showed benefit to symptoms as assessed by SNAP-IV (a rating scale different from the one in the previous study).
The preceding information pertaining to Magnesium and all other useful findings within this document has been collected, edited and used from data found at Examine.com