Do you use a magnesium supplement? Do you know that you can dehydrate your cells if you don't take the right measures?
This post is going to give everything you need to know in order to get the most out of a magnesium supplement, including how to hydrate your cells effectively as well as tap into the best sleep of your life!
Magnesium is an essential mineral, meaning your body won't make it by itself. It plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the human body. It's been shown to improve:
- Sleep quality
- Exercise performance
- Blood pressure
- Insulin sensitivity
- Immune system
It’s well known that many people are magnesium deficient. This has led to a flurry of magnesium supplements hitting the shelves and everyone calling it a miracle supplement.
The truth is, if you don’t understand its mechanisms you may do more harm than good. Here's what you need to know:
- Magnesium is hydrophilic, meaning it requires water to perform its functions effectively in the cell.
- Luckily our cells can make their own water under the right conditions. How is this?
- Remember that plants take CO2 and water -> Sugar and O2 in the presence of sunlight, this is called photosynthesis.
- As a human, your mitochondria reverse this process via electron transport chain (ETC), leaving you with high quality water. Again, in the presence of sunlight.
So all you need to do is eat more carbohydrates, right!? Unfortunately not.
The process of metabolizing carbohydrates isn’t a full combustion process, meaning it won’t supply enough water on its own. Luckily our mitochondria have a way to activate the end phase of ETC without the need for food intake... using light!
Red/infrared light is able to stimulate cytochrome C (4th cytochrome) in your mitochondria in order to make water.
Think about that for a second...
In summer your body hydrates itself through strong light cycles, in winter you hydrate through fat metabolism (fasting, ketogenic eating, cold therapy).
It should be clear now why eating a high carb/low fat diet in a poor light environment will dehydrate you! #vegan
Back to magnesium...
Now that your cells are dehydrated, can you see why adding hydrophilic magnesium is going to exacerbate this problem!?
With all that said, magnesium can be an extremely powerful hack. It’s actually been one of the best things I ever did for my sleep quality.
If you want to find out how to use magnesium without drying up your cells, you can use this protocol to prime your cells for using magnesium and improve your sleep quality.
Magnesium Protocol for Sleep
Warning - This will get you into some DEEP sleep. Don’t do this if you still have evening plans. Warn your partner: nookie will not occur.
The steps in this protocol are in a specific sequence for a reason, which I’ll go into in more detail below, but basically:
- Drink 500-750ml good quality water
- Red/NIR light therapy (15-30J/cm2)
- 20 minute magnesium flake bath (not Epsom salts)
- 20-30 minutes of self myofascial release (MFR).
There are a few things coming up which are going to move around some fluids in your body and alter your temperature. If you’re planning on getting some high quality Zs, you don’t want to have to drink a whole bunch of water before bed and then need to pee in the middle of the night. I’m currently drinking Acqua Panna, but I recommend spring water if you can source it near you.
2- Red Light Therapy
Red and infrared wavelengths stimulate the production of metabolic water within your cells, gearing them for the next step. I use my MyLight Midi for 5 minutes on my chest, and 5 minutes on my back.
3- Magnesium Bath
For the magnesium bath I use magnesium flakes (magnesium chloride) rather than Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate). Magnesium chloride has been shown to have a higher absorption rate than magnesium sulphate. I’m currently using magnesium flakes from BetterYou.
4- Myofascial Release (MFR)
This step can’t be skipped if you want to really get some high quality sleep. If you’re not familiar with MFR, head to the Functional Patterns YouTube channel where there’s a ton of free videos.
Basically it's a form of self massage, which allows you to release any tight muscles as well as calm your nervous system.
The perk of having this at the end is that you get the added benefit of a temperature drop. If you keep minimal clothing on after your hot bath, you'll allow heat to dissipate quickly. This acts as a strong signal for sleep onset.
Even if you’re someone who’s already taking magnesium baths, I highly recommend you try this protocol. It really is a game changer!