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About two years ago, when I was starting to think about a fourth baby, I was in search of something, anything, that would allow me to have an easier pregnancy next time around. I’d had minor morning sickness that lasted the whole pregnancy with my third, plus a ton of soreness and fatigue.
My husband, too, had struggled — with muscle soreness, insomnia, headaches, and more.
What my research turned up was interesting. In fact, the same mineral was responsible for nearly all our symptoms. Maybe it’s responsible for some of yours, too.
Magnesium Solves the Problem
These days, magnesium deficiency is quite common. And unfortunately, it leads to a lot of different symptoms and issues. Let’s take a look at what it can cause:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Recurrent bacterial infections
- Fungal infections (like candida — yeast)
- Low stomach acid
- Diabetes (type II)
- Hearing loss
- Muscle weakness
- Potassium deficiency
- Some types of cancer
- Iron accumulation
- Muscle cramps
- Morning sickness
- …and more
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
Magnesium can also impact vitamin D and calcium absorption, as well as hormonal balance. It’s recommended that adults get 300 – 400 mg of magnesium per day. The average adult gets just 68% of this amount, though.
Magnesium levels are also hindered by excess fat in the body, high stress levels, strenuous exercise, improper thyroid hormone balance, and low levels of selenium, B6, and vitamin D. If you’re often stressed, if you’re overweight, if you work out a lot — you’re more likely to need magnesium than others. Pregnant women need more, too.
With magnesium so critical to health, we all need to do a better job at getting more. Unfortunately, there’s no accurate test that can tell us if we’re deficient (see the link above for the recommendation for that info). A combination of blood, urine, and overall clinical assessment will give you a clue. Fortunately, for most, excess magnesium is easily eliminated and the chances of toxicity are low. In fact, the most common side effect of too much magnesium is diarrhea, and that’s just temporary.
Curious how upping my magnesium worked out?
By the time I got serious about it, like, I really have to do this, I had already discovered I was pregnant again. (This was July 2012.) I immediately knew there was no more time to waste, so I got magnesium and began using it. First, through baths (Epsom salts, initially, and later magnesium chloride), then magnesium oil, and finally magnesium lotion.
This pregnancy was night and day different from my previous pregnancy. I had only two weeks where I felt a little “off” but otherwise, no morning sickness (and that wasn’t very severe anyway). I hadn’t lost the last 10 lbs. of baby weight, but I didn’t gain anything until 20 weeks — and then only gained about 20 lbs. total. I had lots of energy. I had very little soreness. I felt great, right up until the last week!
My baby was born on his due date (second time that happened) in a quick, 2-hour labor, perfectly healthy. He just turned 1, and you can read his birth story here.
I’ve used magnesium inconsistently since the birth, which is probably not the best, since I gained weight due to hormonal imbalances a couple months after he was born. That’s really a story for another day. But, that’s finally leveled out more so, and I have a new plan to combat that…you’ll see more on this next week, actually.
But back to magnesium.
How To Get Magnesium
Magnesium is found in only a limited number of foods, making it hard to get enough. Food high in magnesium include:
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Brown rice
- Spinach (preferably cooked)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Dark chocolate
Other, similar foods contain magnesium at good, but lower levels, including beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, leafy greens, and fish.
A lot of people don’t eat many of these foods, though, which is why their magnesium levels are so low. And if you’re not feeling very well, trying to prepare all this super-healthy food may not sound appealing to you!
I personally prefer to use topical supplements (the magnesium lotion), primarily because it’s easy, and because any kind of oral medication seems to be hard on me. Small doses often seem to be quite a lot for me.
There is an oral supplement, though, that’s easy to take, carry, and which has been very popular with many of my mommy friends.
Oral Magnesium Supplement
Some of you may have guessed already — it’s Natural Calm.
Natural Calm is a natural magnesium drink that you can take to get extra magnesium. They actually make a newer version, too, which is a balanced cal-mag drink (I got some of this one to try). I was really drawn to this one because we all really need both calcium and magnesium, and most people actually get too much calcium and not enough magnesium. I like the idea of a simple supplement that has both.
Each serving (3 tsp.) has 350 mg of magnesium, which is around 100% DV (a bit more for women, a bit less for men). They offer a raspberry-lemon flavor. It’s super easy to mix up in a little water and drink.
I took it a few times. I noticed that if I was feeling edgy, the Natural Calm seemed to make me feel a bit better. I had trouble taking a large enough dose of it, though, to really help — but that’s common for me with most oral supplements. A little goes a long way. They do recommend taking it in 2 – 3 smaller doses throughout the day, which probably would have been easier.
A lot of moms do find this very helpful though. And it’s easy on the tummy (and, for pregnant ladies — good for constipation!). If you’re looking for a simple, natural oral magnesium supplement, this is a good one. Good ingredients, and effective.
Comments from my colleagues who’ve used the product:
“My teenage daughter loves Natural Calm. When she feels she needs it she takes it at night. She says it helps with anxiety, as well as regularity.” –Andrea from It Takes Time
“My baby’s heart was skipping beats in utero. The doctor said it was probably nothing but it was very scary to hear (imagine: boom boom pause boom). I was told that this happens to some babies in the womb due to the strain of rapid change and growth. This can also happen to athletes when they are in heavy training and I read that it’s recommended that they supplement with magnesium. Knowing magnesium is safe and even recommended during pregnancy I started taking Magnesium Calm daily and there were no more issues with my baby’s heart.” –Natalia from An Appetite for Joy
“It helps me sleep so much better. It helps me when I am stressed and when I am having period cramps.” –Kerri from Whole Journey Mama
“Natural Calm is one of the supplements I take every day. I LOVE it and recommend it to everyone. It has helped tremendously with regularity, improved my sleep, and stopped my achy legs at night.” –Sherri from This House of Joy
“It has helped me with my auto immune symptoms. I can tell when I haven’t been taking it because my muscle pain creeps back in.” –Shannon from Simply Smiles