By Cat Weisweiller
Been feeling under the weather? It could be something as simple as magnesium deficiency…
As we move into the customarily frenetic summer season with its potential strain on our health and immune systems, we felt to arm you with a couple of useful health tips. To do this, we consulted a homeopath of the highest calibre, Sven Sommer, who divides his time between here and Germany.
Sven himself came to homeopathy – the principle of “curing like with like” in miniature doses – with a hefty degree of scepticism, “I came from a scientific background. Homeopathy claimed to be a cure-all surpassing all others, and yet, the miniscule dosages administered left me to question how on Earth they could produce such enduring results.” It is only after he had completed extensive training across medicine, psychology, nutrition and complimentary therapies, and set up his own holistic practice, that he witnessed firsthand its staggering efficacy. He has since published 15 books on the subject, many of them bestsellers.
In his practice, there are two very simple and yet integral themes that crop up time and again: DEHYDRATION and MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY. If any patient comes to him reporting headaches, for instance, these will be his first lines of investigation. In this edition we explore magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is crucial to the healthy function of our bodies, particularly our hearts, muscles and livers. Sven even ventures that “it’s as important, if not more so, as calcium”.
However, nearly all medical doctors fail to identify chronic magnesium deficiency in patients – this oversight often leading to startling misdiagnoses. Moreover, even if chosen as a route of investigation, the existing clinical tools for measuring magnesium levels are not sophisticated enough to highlight a deficiency.
Regrettably, modern-day lifestyle brings with it an increase in magnesium-leaching menaces: alcohol, antibiotics, caffeine and stress. Add to that our depleted soils, and it becomes impossible to significantly boost levels of magnesium without introducing supplements: “Once your body has fallen below its required level of magnesium, which is practically inevitable for anyone above around 40, no amount of good intention and magnesium-rich foods (nuts, greens and whole grains) can boost it back to the levels required. At this point a supplement becomes imperative.”
SYMPTOMS OF MAGNESIUM DEFICIENCY
Sven reports that the first indicators in his patients are most commonly headaches, muscle cramps (particularly of the calves), or both. The extensive list of additional potential symptoms includes: Fatigue, low energy, weakness, sleep disturbances, insomnia, muscle aches, irritability, nervousness, anxiety, confusion, impaired memory, blurred vision, abnormal heart rhythm, palpitations, numbness, tingling of the hands and feet, bruises that are slow to heal, facial tics, persistent under-eye twitches, dizziness, muscle spasms, twitching, pulsations, pre-menstrual syndrome, menstrual cramps, hormonal imbalances and sensitivity to light/sound. In essence, many a symptom that can evoke an alarming sense of general ill-health.
Once you have had (or at the same time as having) full medical checks to rule out any other more serious condition, magnesium deficiency should be your next line of enquiry.
(If you have existing health issues, particularly focused around kidney function, always consult with your medical practitioner before taking magnesium in supplement form.) Magnesium supplements are readily available at pharmacies or selected health food stores. Always consult the instruction leaflet, but as a rule of thumb Sven recommends 200mg, up to a max of 400mg, a day of magnesium, divided into 2 - 3 doses throughout the day, with or without food. As your symptoms subside, taper the dose and then stop altogether. If you get early warning signals that you may benefit from another top-up, just repeat as before. (However, never take magnesium for more than 4 - 6 weeks without taking a break of at least 2 weeks.)
On some occasions, certain preparations/dosages of magnesium can cause diarrhoea, if this happens, there is no cause for alarm, just reduce the dose to suit your body’s individual needs.
WHAT IF YOU EXPERIENCE NO IMPROVEMENT?
Generally speaking, if you are magnesium deficient and your symptoms are pretty pronounced, you will notice a marked improvement within even a couple of days. However, if you have observed no change after a few days, this doesn’t necessarily mean that magnesium supplementation isn’t the answer. It may mean that your body needs help absorbing the magnesium. For this, Sven recommends additionally taking *Magnesium Phosphoricum in 5 CH potency (or 6 DH, or D6, dependent on which country you are buying in). Take 3 pills, 3 times a day, dissolved under the tongue – 10 minutes away from food, drink or tooth cleaning to avoid interference with the effect of the remedy. Alternatively, it may be that the magnesium derivative you are taking isn’t the one best suited to you. At this stage it would be advisable to consult a qualified homeopath, herbalist or nutritionist for further guidance.
*Sven also recommends Magnesium Phosphoricum in isolation for sleep disturbances, or difficulty drifting off to sleep: for this, dissolve 5 pills into a hot cup of camomile tea before bed. Stop when sleep issues abate, or take a break after 4 - 6 weeks.
All information in this article is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and wellbeing.