The Magic of Magnesium

Vitamins and Minerals – should you take them? How do you know which ones? It can be confusing and overwhelming not to mention expensive. I am going to take a look at the supplements I most regularly prescribe. Some are no brainers like Magnesium which I talk about here, check my blog for more.

Having a balanced diet is where good health begins, it should contain all of the nutrients we need for optimal health and wellbeing. However, most of us are vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies due to diminishing food quality, toxins and stress. So, supplements are essential health-boosters that fill in nutritional gaps and whilst they won’t make up for a bad diet, they can go a long way in helping to support good health and improve wellbeing. 

It is thought that around 60% of the Western world is deficient in Magnesium. Which in part is due to eating too many refined foods from which Magnesium – and other minerals, vitamins and fibre have been removed.

Magnesium is crucial for almost everything that goes on in the body, hundreds of chemical reactions depend on it. It helps convert food into energy, muscles need this to contract and relax, it regulates the central nervous system, it keeps the heart beating steadily, your immune system strong and plays a critical role in brain function and mood.

Signs that you maybe low in this essential mineral are depression, low energy levels and fatigue, constipation, elevated blood pressure, muscle cramps, migraines, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Magnesium regulates the hormone melatonin, which signals the sleep-wake cycle in your body. It also binds to the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric (GABA), which is responsible for soothing nerve activity, quieting the nervous system and helping to prepare your body and mind for relaxation and sleep.

Chronic long term Magnesium deficiency can result in more serious medical conditions and has been linked to inflammation which can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, anxiety disorders, some cancers as well as osteoporosis. There is evidence that taking a magnesium supplement can reduce inflammation, support healthy blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity, a pre cursor to Type 2 Diabetes.

Magnesium can have a positive effect on the hormone Oestrogen. It can be used for the treatment of PMS, PCOS and Menopause, by calming the central nervous system and reducing symptoms such as mood swings, bloating, fluid retention, period pain and hot flushes. Research shows it also supports the liver in promoting the healthy excretion of Oestrogen which may reduce the risk of conditions such as fibroids, breast and uterine cancer, all associated with excess Oestrogen.

Eating foods high in Magnesium should be your first approach, so including the following into your daily diet: nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, mushrooms, tofu, egg yolk, avocado, bananas, whole grains and whole dairy foods.

Even with an adequate diet you may still be at risk of a deficiency especially if you have digestive disorders or are taking certain medications such as blood pressure tablets, anti-biotics and diuretics. Keeping an eye on symptoms or having a blood test can indicate whether a supplement could be useful.

So, in essence supplementing with Magnesium could reduce inflammation in its tracks and good things will follow, like reduction in pain and fatigue and improvements to mood and cognitive functions. It can boost sports and exercise performance, improve energy levels and can have a dramatic effect on improving anxiety and depression, improve blood glucose levels, promote healthy sleep, lower blood pressure and balance your hormones. A total winner in my book!

Ways to take Magnesium.

Magnesium citrate – this is one of the most common formulations, taken orally, it is bound with citric acid (found in citrus fruits) and is easily absorbed.

Magnesium oxide – not easily absorbed by the digestive tract, it is the main ingredient of milk of magnesia, so is commonly used as a treatment for occasional constipation and digestive problems.

Magnesium chloride or sulphate – a good topical treatment to relieve muscle soreness and improve skin conditions. Best used in the bath (Magnesium flakes or Epsom Salts) or as a cream or lotion

Always consult a healthcare professional before taking supplements.

For more information –

Poignant Pause – Menopause & Covid-19

There are many challenges, tragedies and anxieties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, and women in particular are experiencing lock down very negatively. Recent research shows that lockdown has further affected anxiety and sleep patterns in women over the age of 40. Studies have found that women, more than men are increasingly turning to alcohol to cope with the changes to work and finances, home schooling, fears for the health of elderly parents or children away at university. This is not only raising concerns that we could suffer more from chronic diseases in years to come, but that this is also a recipe for a mental health disaster.

Menopause and peri-menopause can be emotionally and physically exhausting at the              best    of times without a pandemic halting ‘normal’ life. Dealing with a myriad of menopausal symptoms like; sleep disturbance, weight gain, low mood, memory loss, mood swings, loss of confidence and anxiety as we get used to home isolation is taking a real toll!

If you are going through the menopause or peri-menopause during the Covid-19 crisis, your immediate concerns may be how to manage hormonal symptoms, especially as many of our usual coping mechanisms have diminished during lock down and with a lack of routine the temptation to over-eat, drink more alcohol and not take exercise will only aggravate menopausal symptoms. You will undoubtedly also be wondering how the virus may affect you given you also feel under siege by your hormones.

Most research shows that its advanced age and those with underlying health conditions that are more likely to contract Covid-19 and suffer with more severe symptoms. For women frustratingly it appears that losing the protective effects of Oestrogen and Progesterone also increases the risk of not only type 2 diabetes and heart disease, both these co-morbidities will increase the risk for those who contract Covid-19. But also, a decline in these hormones could increase your chances of both contracting the virus or coping less effectively with it.

 What can we do to protect ourselves from this virus and ease our menopausal symptoms?  Important new research is suggesting hormone therapy in the form of Oestrogen and Progesterone (DHEA and Testosterone may also be prescribed) offers not only benefits to menopausal symptoms but protection to women against contracting Covid and are more likely to cope better if they do. BHRT can help with many other health issues, such as heart disease, insomnia, depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

But in spite of Covid-19 cases dropping, less hospital admissions and fewer deaths being recorded lock down restrictions are painfully slow to abate. We are learning about new strains, continued restrictions to travel and social interactions. So, it seems we are not out of the woods yet and may not be for a considerable time. We need to look at ways to adapt to this new normal!  Can we use this forced pause to life to allow us the time to re-examine our priorities, and enable us to manage our health and menopause better than before?

 The pandemic has forced us to evaluate all that is really important. We have had to learn how to cope without social interactions, changes to our working lives and restricted time with friends and family. So now more than ever health and wellbeing have to take priority. By taking a step back now with fresh eyes to explore the benefits of lifestyle changes, evaluating how improving our diet, taking time to exercise and for relaxation to ease anxiety will not only ease the challenging menopause burden but improve overall physical and mental wellbeing.

 When this pandemic is over, whenever that maybe, there has to have been a silver lining to pausing all of our extra-curricular activities, cleared diaries and social gatherings!  Could we try to maintain time for more pauses in our ‘normal’ life? Can we learn from the time saved by working from home, zoom meetings, the importance of time to just be, for exercise, gardening, baking, meditation, sitting and reading, going for walks and taking time to reach out to friends and family? If we do not, will we look back at this time as just “when time stood still”? Or can we look back on it to a time when we took control of one the few things we could, our health.

Five things you can do right now to improve your overall health and wellbeing and help ease menopause and peri-menopause symptoms.

  1. Speak to a health care provider to explore BHRT. (Body or Bio Identical Hormone therapy).
  2. Take daily exercise (at least 30 minutes a day), find a combination you enjoy and stick with it. For e.g.: walking and weight training, running and Pilates, HIIT and yoga. A cardio and resistance combo will ensure you improve your overall health: cardio-vascular, muscle tone, increased metabolism and emotional health.
  3. Take supplements – a naturopath or nutritionist can advise which ones you need.
  4. Make changes to your diet: eat more fresh vegetables – at least half of your daily consumption should be plant-based, think about half your plate containing non-starchy vegetables, a quarter protein, a quarter carbs, have fruit or nuts and seeds for snacks and drink more water 1.5 litres a day for most people.
  5. Take time to relax every day: a long soak in the bath (add lavender and magnesium flakes to further improve relaxation and ease aching muscles), read a book, take time in nature, download an app and meditate before bed, especially if you have trouble sleeping.

What is the magic of mushrooms?

Today a news report confirms an early-stage study suggesting that the psychedelic compound, Psilocybin, found in Magic Mushrooms, can be as effective at reducing symptoms of depression as other, more conventional pharmacological treatments. There are numerous favourable other studies on micro dosing of this particular mushroom. However, I am not suggesting you try this at home! This should be done with medical supervision. There are, however, numerous health benefits to be found in other edible mushrooms.

Coincidently, I recently had the pleasure of reviewing a fantastic new book ‘Medicinal Mushrooms: How Medicinal & Psychedelic Mushrooms Can Protect Body & Mind’. Written by Anthony Knight-Peters.

“This inspirational and well researched book explains in simple terms how medicinal mushrooms could help manage many of today’s diseases. A fantastic and really important health read”

Pamela Kingston. Naturopath & Phlebotomist

If you’d like to learn more about the medicinal power of mushrooms for supporting good mental health and prevention of many of today’s chronic illnesses and disease, I highly recommend getting a copy! Purchase it here: medicinal-mushroom-book.

Plus, get a 25% discount when you use the code PKINGS2020 on products on their website: