It’s fall and as we become more cozy at home, I’m ready to get our troupe of supplements in the cabinet ready for winter as well. Since spending more time inside is on our horizon, it’s time to get things in order and maximize our results. So today I am thinking about one of our best friends: magnesium. Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 325 enzymatic reactions in DNA and neurotransmitters, in the bones, heart and brain, in every cell of the body. Many people have a deficiency in magnesium – not just kids or adults with autism. Plus, magnesium is needed for calcium and vitamin c metabolism. It’s essential for nerve and muscle functioning, and to convert blood sugar into energy. It’s a good idea for anyone to take a magnesium supplement each day since it’s a big part of the puzzle to balance the entire body. For kids with autism, you can take magnesium threonate (or multiple different forms of magnesium throughout the day or week, some say it can be a better effect) twice a day. At the moment, I prefer magnesium threonate? MIT researchers discovered and patented magnesium L-threonate based on its unique ability to boost brain levels of magnesium. You can also take magnesium citrate or a liquid mag twice a day to help with any constipation.
But the biggest help for a child is to take magnesium threonate each day along with B6, calcium and Vitamin D3 to increase absorption of magnesium in the cells.
It is also a good idea to take these supplements together along with a meal which contains carbohydrates to improve intestinal absorption.
Magnesium is the mind mineral. Some of the highest levels of magnesium in the body are found in the central nervous system, with studies dating back to the 1920s showing how crucial magnesium is for a balanced brain.
Magnesium is available in capsules which you can empty into food, or liquids and powders ready to add into food as well. It’s also easy to get capsules or liquids for B6, calcium and D3.
There are over 20 studies of vitamin B6 with magnesium for autism, including 12 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, making it one of most studied treatments for autism. Almost all of these studies found that 45-50% of children and adults with autism benefited from high-dose supplementation of vitamin B6 with magnesium.
Magnesium in the diet
Foods high in saturated fat cause the body to get rid of magnesium. The cleaner your child’s diet, the more chance there is for minerals and nutrients to absorb and be a benefit to your child’s behavior. If you are taking supplements with a bad diet and poor digestion, you are wasting the power of the supplements.
Foods that are naturally rich in magnesium are:
Whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and dark leafy greens, as well as cocoa and molasses
Magnesium at bath time
For any child on the spectrum, bath time is a very important time of the day. It’s a time for the child to relax and get ready for bed. The water is a source of warmth and pressure around their body if they are sensory seeking. It’s also a place where they can feel relaxed and pay attention to playtime even better since they are in an enclosed space. While all of these good things are happening, you might as well make sure the water itself is playing a role in helping autistic symptoms. Here are recipes for bath soaks to help absorb magnesium into the body and to detox the body at the same time. Make sure the water is very warm when you add the ingredients to make a perfect bath.
1. Magnesium Bath: Bath soak with mag chloride flakes
1/2 cup magnesium chloride flakes
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup himalayan pink salt or dead sea salts
2. Epsom Salt Bath: Detoxing bath soak
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1/2 cup of epsom salt
3-5 drops of essential oils of your choice
During the bath, rub the skin with a washcloth all over to open the pores to allow more absorption.
It should go without saying, do not let your child drink the water.
You can alternate these baths during the week to help the body absorb magnesium more efficiently.
Topical magnesium on the body
Transdermal administration of magnesium bypasses processing by the liver. There are magnesium oil sprays and lotions. Many people say the best places to absorb lotions or sprays containing minerals are under the armpits and on the head.
Magnesium for sleep
There is a melatonin pathway in the body and magnesium helps its functionality to improve sleep naturally without having to ever take melatonin separately or other sleep aids. But the body also needs the right amounts of B6 and calcium to make melatonin production run more smoothly. It all starts to sound complex, but having the body in balance is the key. Once your child has the right balance, more processes in the body will start to come together better than ever, letting your child be more calm and learn better as they grow. Speaking of complexities, I should add finally that having tryptophan in the diet is also a good idea for helping any sleep issues, but you can add that after your magnesium/calcium/B6/D3 mission is on track and your child still struggles with staying asleep. B12 is also essential for so much in the body, including sleep patterns, which cannot fit into this post right now. Kids with autism usually always benefit from adding B12 in some way, at some point. But once magnesium is taken care of, B12 has a better chance of working as well, whether in a supplement, lozenge or injection. So with one step at a time, the balance can be found.
Different types of magnesium supplements explained:
The best forms:
Magnesium glycinate: This chelated form of magnesium tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability, typically considered for those who are trying to correct a deficiency. It’s easily absorbed which makes it good for leaky gut.
Magnesium chloride / lactate: Contains 12 percent magnesium, but better absorption than others containing more. It’s great for detoxing and kidney function.
Magnesium malate: This is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that provides the benefits of this mineral, along with the benefits of malic acid, a nutrient found to contribute to the process of transforming food into ATP, the body’s energy source. Malic acid is a key component for creating energy in the body. This is great for low energy, fatigue and muscle pain.
Magnesium aspartate: Aspartate is combined with minerals and is available as copper aspartate, iron aspartate, magnesium aspartate, manganese aspartate, potassium aspartate, and zinc aspartate. Aspartates are used to increase absorption of the minerals they are combined with and to enhance athletic performance.
Magnesium taurate: This is a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind.
Magnesium orotate: This is created through the use of mineral salts of orotic acid. Orotates can penetrate cell membrane, enabled the effected delivery of the magnesium into the innermost layers of the cellular mitochondria and nucleus.
Magnesium threonate: Newer type of magnesium supplement penetrates the mitochondrial membrane.
The least helpful forms:
Magnesium sulfate / hydroxide: Milk of magnesia – used typically as a laxative.
Magnesium carbonate: Antacid properties, 45 magnesium.
Magnesium citrate: Magnesium with citric acid, laxative properties. This should not be used long term.
Magnesium oxide: This non-chelated magnesium is bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60 percent magnesium and has stool softening properties. Not a good choice for helping the body long term.
Obtaining Magnesium Through the Diet
Foods high in magnesium are:
- shredded wheat cereal
- soy milk
- black beans
- peanut butter
- whole grain bread
“Nutritionists in Canada find sunflower, squash and pumpkin seeds, black-eyed peas, tempeh, and Brazil nuts to be the richest sources of magnesium per serving.
Eating legumes, seeds, and grains won’t help as much as you’d expect since they also contain naturally occurring compounds called phytates that inhibit the absorption of minerals including magnesium.
Drink Magnesium-Rich Mineral Water
Another way to get more magnesium is to drink mineral water from natural springs.
Minerals waters have a long history of promoting health.
People around the world have been soaking in hot springs and drinking these waters for thousands of years.
Popular bottled brands include San Pellegrino, Perrier, Fuji, and Evian.
Gerolsteiner sparkling water from Germany is particularly high in magnesium.”
Some say that the best way to get magnesium is through your skin. Besides baths with mag chloride flakes, you can also rub magnesium oil or lotion on your feet at night before bed.
Cofactors for Magnesium
B6 helps the liver work optimally and allows cells to absorb magnesium. Food based vitamin B can be from liver, raw bee pollen, and yeast flakes.
Baking soda helps magnesium reach the cells. Drink a 1/2 tsp or less of baking soda at night before bed or take baths with baking soda added.
Boron is found in prunes most of all. You can also take it in a supplement to help absorb magnesium.
Selenium is found in brazil nuts. It supports immunity and heart health.
Vitamin D and K2 must be taken as well to increase the absorption of magnesium. D is found in cod liver oil which everyone should take daily. K2 is found in natty, some cheeses, and can be supplemented.
Lastly, you need potassium. White potatoes with skin, lima beans, avocados and sweet potatoes have the highest amounts of potassium.