Magnesium, pain & osteoporosis

I didn’t really know anything about magnesium, other than that it was a metal, until I was ill.

One of the first things I was told  was that you needed plenty of it to help with pain and so back in 2010 I bought my first big sack of Epsom salts, known to be a good source of magnesium, and started my daily Epsom salt bath.

I’ve since learned, during my studies of herbal medicine and human anatomy that magnesium is very important to aid the absorption and synthesis of calcium. It’s well known that women of a certain age can have calcium deficiency  which can lead to osteoporosis but  little discussed is the fact that to absorb calcium we’ll need to have sufficient amounts of magnesium.

In 2015 I was introduced by my mother to the Simply Naturals sizzling minerals and until then I had no idea about the difference between plant-based or metallic minerals. I have been taking all kinds of supplements to try and help my body recover from the Ehlers-Danlos flare up and like many people I was taking magnesium but I wasn’t aware  that I was taking it in a metallic form can be difficult to absorb the required amounts. I believe this is why I noticed such a difference when I started bathing in Epsom salts where absorption through the skin was so efficient.

How much to take?

Research has found that 350 mg today can be taken without any self safety issues and magnesium is often combined with chloride, magnesium chloride, magnesium lactate or magnesium oxide to aid with digestion. Individuals with a renal or  kidney in insufficiency can find problems with taking magnesium. Alcohol diuretics and  some antibiotics can interact with magnesium so it’s important to know what you’re taking. I’ve since learned is the difference between the metallic magnesium and the plant-based magnesium. We are meant to absorb minerals and vitamins from the food that we eat and so it would come from the metallic minerals in the soil absorbed by the plants into a digestible form, we then eat the plants which have all the minerals and vitamins that we need small enough to be directly absorbed into the body cells. This is how we are meant to go get our daily allowance sufficient to keep a body is running efficiently. This is all well and good if the minerals are in the soil to begin with.

Minerals in soil

It has been well documented that our soil has become severely depleted of minerals and in 1991a survey was done about the quantity of mineral content in 17 different fruits between 1940 and 1991. Just taking magnesium, your average selection of fruit had reduced in the magnesium content by 16% by assessing seven different vegetables between 1978 and 1991 the magnesium content  dropped by 33%.

The world health organisation UNICEF, UK Ministry of agriculture and the Royal Society of chemistry have confirmed that mineral depletion is a serious issue North America has an 85% loss and Europe is 72% not very far behind. This means that even if you’re eating a really healthy diet of organic fruit and vegetables the chances are that you’re not getting the 60  different minerals and vitamins every day that your body needs. Dr Gary Price told is quoted as saying ‘the human body requires at least 60 minerals in order to maintain disease and element free State’, and without minerals your body is unable to absorb vitamins. This does help explain how just by taking a daily mineral supplement made such a dramatic difference in my health and well-being.

One of the foremost magnesium experts Mildred Seelig, M.D., began her research career over 40 years ago working for drug companies. It was there she first noticed that many of the side-effects of drugs were actually magnesium deficiency symptoms. It  seemed to her that many drugs cause increased demand for and utilisation of magnesium- for example by creating acidity in the body, which then draws on available magnesium from the cells to try to neutralise the acid to minimise its toxic affects. Other drugs seem to deplete magnesium from the body or, conversely, manifest their positive effects because they increase the level of magnesium in the body. Common diuretics, birth control pills insulin and some heart condition tablets, some antibiotics and Cortisone can create magnesium deficiencies.

According to environmental experts, magnesium is essential to build up the bodies energy and fully utilise its detoxification systems. The source of environmental toxins, however, must be eliminated or avoided; otherwise it’s like bailing out a sinking ship by hand. You first have to be aware of chemicals in your environment, avoid them like the plague and then worked diligently with the therapies that follow to clean out your body.

Three things you need to know about magnesium osteoporosis and kidney stones.

  1. One magnesium is just as important as calcium to prevent and treat osteoporosis.
  2. Magnesium keeps calcium dissolved in the blood so it will not form kidney stones.
  3. Taking calcium without magnesium for osteoporosis can promote kidney stones.

Susan Brown, Ph.D., director of the osteoporosis education project in Syracuse, New York warns that “the use of calcium supplementation in the face of magnesium deficiency can lead to a deposition of calcium in the soft tissue such as the joints, promoting arthritis, or in the kidney, contributing to kidney stones.” Dr Brown recommended daily dose of 450 mg of magnesium for the prevention and  treatment of osteoporosis.

Women with osteoporosis have lower than average levels of magnesium in their diets, according to survey reports. Magnesium deficiency can compromise calcium metabolism and also hinder the body’s production of vitamin D, further weakening  bones .

Magnesium’s role in bone Health is multifaceted  

  1. Adequate levels of magnesium are essential for the absorption and metabolism of calcium
  2. Magnesium stimulates a particular hormone, calcitonin, that helps to preserve bone structure and draws calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones, preventing some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.
  3. Magnesium suppresses and another bone hormone called parathyroid preventing it from breaking down bone.
  4. Magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form so that it can help calcium absorption.
  5. Magnesium is also required to activate and enzyme necessary to form new bone.
  6. Magnesium regulates active calcium transport.

With all these roles magnesium plays it’s no wonder that even a mild deficiency can be a risk factor for osteoporosis, further if there is too much calcium in the body especially from calcium supplementation, magnesium absorption can be greatly impaired, resulting in worsening osteoporosis and the likelihood of kidney stones, arthritis, and heart disease.

Other factors are important in the development of osteoporosis include diet drugs endocrine imbalance allergies vitamin D deficiency and lack of  exercise.

Reviews of osteoporosis literature show that chronically low intake of magnesium, vitamin D, Boron and vitamins K, B12, B6, and folic acid lead to osteoporosis. Similarly chronically high intake of protein, sodium chloride, alcohol, and caffeine adversely affect bone health. The typical western diet which is high in protein, salt and refined, processed food, combined with an increasing sedentary lifestyle contributes to the increasing incidence of osteoporosis.

Personally I found that my pain was significantly reduced as soon as I started taking Epsom salts bath but my energy bone strength and general health and well-being with all dramatically improved when I started taking the Simply Naturals plant-based mineral supplement.

I have since met so many people have also benefited from taking these plant-based minerals so it’s not just me recommending them. the thing is to treat it unlike allopathic medicine, which is something you take after you become ill. This is a supplement that you take every day as part of a healthy diet instead of that apple a day! Take your minerals every day to ensure that you’re doing the best thing for your body to help prevent further disease.

Best food sources for Magnesium:

  • Brown rice
  • Soybeans
  • nuts
  • wholewheat flour
  • legumes

Best herb sources for magnesium

  • Raw cacao beans ( try Emily’s chocolate)
  • nuts & seeds
  • basil
  • parsley
  • coriander
  • caraway
  • cardamom
  • rosemary
  • oregano
  • thyme

This just covers the tip of the iceberg where Magnesium is concerned but I hope it gives you an indication of why it is so important. I shall be making up some ‘magnesium rich’ herbal teas following this post. Sign up to my newsletter to find out more about my teas, my husbands cider and all my honey and wax products.


The Miracle of Magnesium, Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. Ballantine Books New York 2003

 Better Bones, Better Body, S.Brown, Keats Publishing, New Canaan, CT 1996

Simply Naturals UK.

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