Could Magnesium be the Answer You’ve Been Searching For?

Body Supplements

Around 80% of the population is deficient in magnesium, a mineral required for 300+ enzymatic reactions in the body. Are you one of them? Let’s take a closer look at magnesium deficiency and the many health benefits of this essential mineral.

Not so fun fact: I have a chronic bladder condition called interstitial cystitis that can be extremely painful.

Fun fact: I began supplementing with magnesium over a year ago and within a week felt great relief. Long story short, it was the answer I had been searching for FOR YEARS.

And after a little bit of research, it seemed that, hey, magnesium may be the answer others are searching for as well. Thousands, millions of others suffering from migraines, insomnia, anxiety, blood clots, hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis…. and so the list goes on.

Let’s backtrack for just a moment — what is magnesium?

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and is essential for initiating more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps the heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, keeps bones strong, regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.

Magnesium deficiency affects around 80% of the population and has been called “the silent epidemic.”

In the past, humans were able to get enough magnesium through a varied diet. (Oh, the simple days.) Unfortunately, modern farming methods and chemical fertilizers have stripped natural magnesium from the soil.

This, coupled with the fact that stress and certain medications (diuretics and antibiotics) decrease the absorption of magnesium, has led to what really could be considered an epidemic of magnesium deficiency.

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND — author of The Miracle of Magnesium — magnesium is very intimately connected to the following 22 facets of health and conditions:

Anxiety and panic attacks

Magnesium keeps stress hormones under control


Magnesium deficiency increases histamine production and bronchial spasms

Blood clots

Magnesium thins blood, much like aspirin but without the side effects


Magnesium deficiency causes constipation, potentially leading to toxicity, malabsorption of nutrients, or colitis


Magnesium deficiency can increase the frequency and severity of bladder spasms


Serotonin, which elevates moods, is dependent on magnesium


Magnesium is necessary for the natural removal of toxins and heavy metals


Magnesium enhances insulin secretion, facilitating sugar metabolism. Without magnesium, insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells.


Magnesium is necessary for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. So when the body is magnesium-deficient and these enzyme reactions are not working properly, we can experience fatigue.

Heart disease

Mg deficiency is common in people with heart disease. Mg is administered in hospitals for acute myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmia. Like any other muscle, the heart muscle requires Mg. Mg is also used to treat angina, or chest pain.


Magnesium deficiency causes blood vessels to spasm and increases cholesterol levels, which lead to blood pressure problems.


Magnesium regulates insulin, keeping blood sugar levels constant.


Magnesium deficiency interferes with the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.

Kidney Disease

Magnesium deficiency contributes to kidney failure and throws off lipid levels.

Liver disease

Magnesium deficiency commonly occurs during liver transplantation.


Magnesium balances serotonin levels. Serotonin deficiency can result in migraines.

Musculoskeletal conditions

Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, eye twitches, cramps, and chronic neck and back pain may be caused by magnesium deficiency

Nerve problems

Magnesium alleviates peripheral nerve disturbances throughout the whole body, such as migraines, muscle contractions, gastrointestinal spasms, and calf, foot and toe cramps. It is also used in treating central nervous symptoms of vertigo.

Female reproductive health

Magnesium helps alleviate PMS and menstrual cramping; plays an important role in fertility; helps alleviate premature contractions, preeclampsia, and eclampsia in pregnancy; helps alleviate morning sickness and pregnancy-induced hypertension. It is also given to pregnant mothers to decrease the risk of cerebral palsy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). According to Dr. Dean, “Magnesium should be a required supplement for pregnant mothers.”


When combined with calcium and vitamin D, magnesium helps increase calcium absorption. For this reason, magnesium deficiency promotes bone loss.

Raynaud’s Syndrome

Magnesium helps relax the spastic blood vessels that cause pain and numbness of fingers.

Tooth decay

Magnesium deficiency causes an imbalance of phosphorus and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth.

So how much magnesium should we be getting?

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium is between 350 and 400 milligrams per day. But this is just enough magnesium to ward off deficiency.

Twice the RDA is suggested for those suffering from the 22 conditions triggered by magnesium deficiency.

And how can we best up our magnesium intake? Diet or supplements?

Leafy greens and nuts are great sources of magnesium, but likely not enough. One tablespoon of almonds has 33 milligrams of magnesium. So you would have to eat more than 20 tablespoons to consume the suggested amount! That’s a lot of almonds.

Fortunately there are many ways to supplement magnesium: oral supplements, magnesium oil (which is really just magnesium chloride diluted in water; this may irritate some so be sure to spot-test first), and magnesium flakes which can be diluted in water to make your own magnesium oil or sprinkled in baths. Since oral magnesium supplements can have a laxative effect and are not easily absorbed, applying magnesium topically is a great way to supplement.

Everyday after showering, I spray some magnesium oil (again, not really oil so it won’t stain clothing) on my legs and arms. It absorbs completely before I dress. I consider this a critical part of my daily routine along with dry body brushing and my morning warm lemon cayenne pepper water.

Don’t go crazy now! Though it is thought to be impossible to overdose on magnesium, you know what they say about too much of a good thing. Individuals with improperly functioning kidneys may not be able to handle magnesium supplementation and should consult a doctor. It can also cause loose stools. Furthermore, magnesium may interact with certain prescription medications, so be sure to do your homework!

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  1. I suffer from PTSD so I have problems with anxiety, occasional depression, random debilitating panic attacks, nightmares and a very exaggerated startle response. A few months ago I started taking natural calm (magnesium citrate) and using magnesium oil on my skin. I have worked up to having two teaspoons a day of natural calm (one in the morning, and one at night). My life has seriously improved so much. I don’t panic if something wakes me up in the middle of the night, I have had almost no nightmares and sleep peacefully. I also suffered from terrible tightness in my chest from my anxiety that has almost completely disappeared. The only time I have had a panic attack so far since starting magnesium was when I forgot to take it. I didn’t have any digestive problems to speak of before but magnesium has also made me very regular! I would recommend natural calm to anyone since it seems to be very easily absorbed and it’s easy to take. 🙂

  2. The vitamin that I am taking is from spring valley sold at walmart and includes magnesium. This is a 3in1 vitamin and helps with absorption. I am down to taking just two tablets (recommended dose on the back label) a day. No IC flare ups in 2 months. I also noticed apples to be a huge trigger of my IC. I will only allow myself to have one or 2 apples a week.

  3. I see everyone talking about taking Magnesium.. Exactly what type of Magnesium do I need to look for when at the drug store? After being checked for many things and no answers. I was finally told I had IC, it has been a burden on me ever since and I thought I would try to Magnesium to see if it helps. I can not sleep at night due to spasms and then during the day I have to constantly drink baking soda to help take away the pain.

  4. I am wondering how you drink lemon juice in the morning if you have IC. That would put me over the edge.

  5. From my research, there are many excellent forms of magnesium, including angstrom magnesium, chelated magnesium, and magnesium oil. Magnesium citrate (like in Natural Calm) is good too, but probably not if you’re dealing with bladder issues since it contains citric acid. And there are bad forms like magnesium oxide and sulfate. It just depends on how well your body absorbs each form and how you feel when taking it. Supplements like chelated magnesium are great if you don’t have gut issues. Angstrom magensium and magnesium oil are probably easiest to absorb because they bypass your gut. Personally, I like chelated magnesium because it’s easy to take, but I’ve had success with angstrom and the oil. Taking baths with the Ancient Minerals bath salts can be very relaxing for your entire body, but is a very low dosage unless you’re using large amounts. I don’t see anything wrong with making magnesium oil from the bath salts, but the Ancient Minerals web-site may address this very question. If you check out the web sites for Dr. Carolyn Dean and Dr. Mark Sirucs, you’ll find that many forms of magnesium are good, with many different preferences between individuals. You may need to try a few different forms and see what works best for you.

  6. Nadia,
    I was just listening to a podcast about magnesium and the way to absorb it and the hosts said that only Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate was the one we want, and that Magnesium Chloride was insufficient.
    Do you know anything about this difference? I just bought the Ancient Minerals Magnesium Chloride flakes to make my own Magnesium oil and am hoping I didn’t waste money on the placebo effect.

  7. For the last year and a half, I’ve had bladder issues pointing to IC. Last summer, I began taking magnesium after discovering that I might have a deficiency. Although I didn’t make the connection at the time, taking it improved my bladder symptoms. After becoming pregnant this summer, I cut down on my magnesium dose and began experiencing flare ups and unending bladder irritation. I increased my magnesium supplement again (only to 400mg per day) and noticed a huge improvement. It’s hard to know the exact function of the magnesium, but I’m excited to see that others have experienced the same benefits. Dr. Carolyn Dean and Dr. Mark Sircus have very informative web sites and books discussing magnesium uses and contradictions if anyone is looking for more info.

  8. Hi, it is Pamala with an update. YES, MAGNESIUM WAS THE ANSWER I WAS SEARCHING FOR!!! Nov 2nd 2014, and I am 99 percent better from my IC and flare up. I cannot believe how this article has transformed my life. In the last 2 weeks, I have not had to drink diluted apple cider vinegar or baking soda. Only had one uncomfortable day in the last two weeks feeling pressure and urgency. As soon as the pressure and urgency came on, I added alkaline (ph balancing) drops to my water along with my magnesium vitamin regimen and within an hour I already felt relief. Within 2 hours, I was back to normal. I continued the alkaline drops the rest of the day. This article truly has been a life saver. Thank God for the internet and kind souls to share their painful stories, and successes to help others! Thank you so much for your article on magnesium! To pay it forward I am going too link your site to other message boards that I searched for help. Blessings, Pamala.

  9. Today was day one with 2 doses of magnesium, and I cannot believe how much better I am already feeling!!! I have had IC for over 10 years. I have been endlessly searching for help on the internet that last few weeks because I was having the worst flare up of my life. Nothing has worked so far like the magnesium. I am in utter shock. I am going to keep taking it and hopefully this will be my saving grace. I was so intrigued by all the other systems I had that point to being deficient in magnesium. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!! Bless your heart.

  10. This is off the topic but I wanted to tell anyone who has pain that I found that heating up to a warm heat some castor oil and applying it onto the area and cover with a hot water bottle of warm towel can reduce the pain by 80%. My daughter had a really sore little cut on her hand and she just placed a tiny amount straight from the bottle onto the cut and the pain went at once, also her bad period pains also went for the rest of the cycle….it is noted that another name for castor oil is Palm Of CHRIST

  11. Hi Nadia,

    sorry I meant inflammation and not infection. I first started with this cystitis when I was 17 years old, my mother had it for 12 years constantly for all that time, My mother worked in a sugar factory where the uniform pants made out of nylon, so when I started working in the same place I had the same uniform and got cystitis the same year. It went worse with each months cycle. When I left this job aged 19 to have my baby the problem stopped, my mother worked in the same place for a further seven years and still had cystitis . She then left that job to start our own fruitful antiques business for a further seven years so she did not have to wear the uniform, but her problem did not go away even though we thought the nylon uniform caused it and only wore pure cotton she still got worse with it and in 1978 was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder and died in 1979.

    My daughter developed cystitis in the 1999’s and despite being in the hospital for two months having test after tests the doctors apologised to her telling her they were sorry but did not know what was wrong with her. A week or so after coming out of hospital and a cretanin test showing normal, and also in every other test, she was telling a mutual friend of ours who was a German naturopath, and she did a close of inspection of her eyes and told her to get to the doctors quickly that she has some major health problems, My daughter was also aware that she had a very constant high ANF and although this can occur with even just a toothache you don’t want to have it non stop…a few days later my daughter was in hospital with renal failure…now to cut a long story short…after having a very high cretanin reading of 990 when 95 is normal her tests showed a dramatic drop and she avoided life changing operations and just had a shunt placed in her arm for future renal problems, however three years later when the shunt caused her vein to be overgrown and dangerous it was decided to have it removed. The one test my daughter was suspicious of and the doctors should have paid more attention too was her phosphorus which was very elevated, It may be a good idea to get a test on that.
    I feel sorry for anyone who has this cystitis problem and hope yours goes away, with our family it seems to be in the DNA for us to have bladder problems and my specialist keeps a close eye every year.

    In our day ( mum and me) we only knew cystitis for what it was we did not know there was more than one strains of them.

  12. Cystitis is not an infection, it is a chronic condition with no known cause. Individuals with IC all suffer differently and to a different degree, and thus find relief in different treatments.

    But thank you for the info about herbalism! Glad it’s been able to help you.

  13. Hello Melissa, I cannot stress enough to you to be careful with any over use of Magnesium oil I had used it everyday when I first bought it three years ago or so in the end I had an elevated reading as shown in a “deep red cell” magnesium blood test, this test is more precise than just the regular test. The 2nd test showed no change a year later and last week a year later again it has come down slightly but not as bad a other times. I gave some to a friend who had bad cramps and he was so grateful and it brought him great relief , BUT he gave some to his wife who has renal problems and she should have not taken it at all and her readings for something else has never been the same since. The next thing I heard from him was that he was rushed to hospital with heart beat problems but is OK now and that oil is also the cause of that. Having too much magnesium oil can cause heart beat irregularity.

    There is a herb whose ancient name is ‘knit together and heal all’ it is the only thing that has helped my severe vaginal itch within minutes of using it. Plenty of leaves make a strong pot of tea and left until the water is really dark, usually after three hours, leave the leave in and use them as a douche, but also get some in a glass and add hot water and drink a few times a day. The other name of it is Comfrey, now if people tell you it is dangerous take no notice because there are no real cases to support it, in fact if you can get you local library to search for an Australia book called HOW TO USE HERBS EVERYDAY”
    by a woman named Shippard, her book gives vast amounts of knowledge and research for every herb.

    It is said by the ancients that women use to soak themselves in comfrey juice to restore their virginity.
    Also since Borage is almost the same as Comfrey, you can use it the same way.
    Mother of all Herbs is another one to use. My daughter is studying to be a herbalist so I get to read a lot of stuff which is helpful. Since the cystitis is a nasty infection chewing a single clove of garlic will kill it, it is best eaten raw I’m afraid or chop it up very fine and eat it with something else. There are many many natural cures… you need to go to Dr Christopher’s website a master herbalist of the 19th century and click on articles on comfrey.

  14. I have battled IC for over 15 years. I started going the Urologist after the birst of my 3rd daughter. They started by treating the frequent UTI’s and when the cultures started not growign and the pain was still there they suggested Dilation. It was the most horrifying experience for me alone in that room. I saw some impovement but again had flare ups and used Urosed or Pyridium for pain. OVer the years the Pyridium made me violently vomit and that wasnt an option anymore. I then found another Urologist and he did a test to tell me if I had IC and this was a bladder instillation of Potassium. People with IC will not be able to tolerate it and immediatly I jumped off the stretcher and almost ran away. I endured 1 year of weekly bladder instilations of Heparin (blood thinner) and Lidocaine. They eventually added Elmiron which heals the linning of my bladder. But if taken orally or long periods of time will cause hair loss. I was healed for a year or so and began having UTI symptoms after having intercorse with my husband and then started taking antibiotics after every time. I recently returned to the Urologist due to different but just as intense spasms of my bladder and lower pelvis. The catheter treament was so diffiuclt because of the muscle spasms. I battle with anxiety/depression because of this and often wonder if I will ever be the same. I started taking Ditropan and Hydroxizine to prevent the constant spasms. Being a nurse I knew that Magnesium had a huge role in muscle contrations and smooth muscle tone. It makes sense. We give Respiratory patients Magnesium in their IV to help them breath. I saw your article and then things began to make sense. I struggle with constant constipation and I believe it is all linked together by the damage of my 11 lb daughter at birth when my pelvic floor was weakend. I have some hope that this Magnesium supplement or oil will make a huge difference in my life. I also have researched using Aloe Vera Gel and its improvemnt of bladder and bowel health. Use of Valium as a suppository can be helpful in extreme flare ups. I am getting a referral for the Pelvic Floor Specialist to do Biofeedback and retrain those muscles. I have also started Comfrey herb infusion and Osha Root tinctures by mouth. I really appreciate your article and am hopefull of the results!

  15. Hi, Kay. May heart goes out to you. I occasionally had burning (which of course went misdiagnosed as UTIs for years!) but suffered mostly from intense spasms. This is what the magnesium has helped most with. Doing an elimination diet and finding trigger foods to eliminate has greatly helped with the burning (I still feel it occasionally, but it is simply there rather than a painful distraction).

    I take both a pill and rub the oil on my arms daily.

  16. Nadia, I am crippled with IC and very grateful to find this article after trying pretty much everything else on the market over a 6 year period! I have very intense burning in my bladder and urethra so I’m trying to be more alkaline. May I ask which form of oral Magnesium you took? Did you also experience the burning bladder and urethra prior to discovering magnesium and did the magnesium cure this symptom? Thank you!

  17. The most powerful source of magnesium is the oil and it is transdermal, meaning it is only rubbed on your skin and not taken internally. If you are very low in magnesium this is the best way to get it into your body since taking it in tablet form will take much longer, however it is my advice that you get a deep red cell blood test to measure how much magnesium is in your blood. When I first got my oil I was rubbing it into my skin everyday and when I told my doctor she was a bit concerned to see if I had overdone it. My blood test came back indicating my magnesium was elevated and I had to stop using the oil. Having too much magnesium in the blood can be as bad as not having enough, it can cause irregular heart beats. Magnesium can stop a heart attack while it is happening, because many people who take heart attacks are low in it anyway it is also good for cramps in the legs but it is best to have tests done to see how low it is in your body to be on the safe side.