As a Naturopath working in a busy sports medicine and sports therapy clinic, I see many patients with sore, stiff, achy muscles. Many patients have been lead to believe that muscle pain and tension are normal facets of aging that should be expected, and that popping over the counter pain relievers is ok in moderation, and necessary to achieve a pain-free existence.
For many of my patients, additional factors contribute to muscle pain and when addressed, impart significant relief. More often than not, simple nutrient support is required, and often includes vitamin D, B vitamins and Magnesium. Without sufficient magnesium, muscles are unable to fully relax, lending to chronic muscle tension, trigger points and pain.
When patients explore their own symptoms, they often recognize that other muscles in their body are chronically tight and unable to relax as well, this is where high blood pressure and constipation enter the picture.
Your blood vessels contain smooth muscle that contract and relax, contributing to your body’s intricate ability to control blood pressure. If your blood vessels aren’t able to full relax due to reduced magnesium, blood pressure goes up.
Similarly, when magnesium stores are low in the muscles of your intestines, constipation ensues as these muscles remain contracted, and are unable to fully relax and function appropriately during bowel movements and normal digestion.
Additional presentations associated with low magnesium include migraine, cluster or tension headaches, insomnia, asthma, arrhythmias, depression, ADHD, premenstrual syndrome and osteoporosis.
Addressing micronutrient deficiencies before they develop into major health concerns is by far the most cost-effective and preventative approach.
Common signs include tired, stiff muscles, infrequent bowel movements (less than 2 daily), high blood pressure, headaches and difficulty sleeping.
If you’d like to see whether magnesium is a good option, try it! Unless you suffer from diarrhea, kidney disease, or have a sensitivity to magnesium, supplementing is safe in the dosage schedule outlined below:
Take 1 capsule daily, before bed for 3 days. If after 3 days, you aren’t having 2-3 bowel movements daily, increase your dose to 1 capsule 2x daily. Continue to increase your dose in this fashion until you achieve 2-3 bowel movements daily. It is fine to take the magnesium in 3 divided doses over the course of the day, ideally with food. Magnesium capsules are available in doses ranging from 50 mg-1000mg, although lower dosed capsules are the most useful, as they allow the most sensitive dose titration. At Vitality Clinic patients are prescribed NFH Magnesium bisglycinate, containing 150 mg of elemental magnesium.
If you are able to find it, magnesium bisglycinate is the most effective form of oral magnesium when it comes to improving tissue stores. With time, as your magnesium status improves, you’ll likely need to lower your daily dose to avoid loose stools. If you’re unable to find magnesium bisglycinate, magnesium citrate is suitable. However, the body tends to excrete magnesium citrate much more readily.
Additionally, try to increase magnesium containing foods in your diet. Greens such at spinach, kale and collards in addition to beans, nuts and whole grains are good sources. Although increasing dietary magnesium is a great idea, many people find their need to supplement decreases, but is not eliminated entirely.
Correcting low magnesium can be an incredibly simple, yet effective tool in managing a myriad of health concerns. Sore, tired muscles really are the tip of the iceberg!
Have a great day,
Dr. Kaleigh Anstett