Magnesium is an essential mineral that is used by the body for regulation of muscular contraction, insulin metabolism, blood pressure regulation, cardiac excitability, nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction. The use of magnesium compounds have been widely used as medicinal and dietary supplementation, and its positive effects have been well documented. Along with being essential for many physiological processes it also plays a role in sleep, relieving muscle cramping, improving mood and reducing anxiety and depression. It can help relieve restless leg syndrome and is important for pregnancy and lactation. Talk about a super mineral!
Magnesium During Pregnancy and for exercise recovery
Magnesium helps contribute to a healthy pregnancy and has been shown to decrease the occurrence of certain complications like preventing pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and low birth weight. Its need during pregnancy is increased therefore many women don’t receive enough magnesium during this time. One of the most common signs of magnesium deficiency is leg cramping which is experienced by 30- 45% of women, mostly at night and often becomes more prevalent from the second trimester onwards. Using magnesium during pregnancy can help to decrease muscle cramps and can also help give relief from the muscular pain that persists days after a cramp.
With magnesium helping to assist in muscle recovery its use after training can be an excellent way to gain relief from the pain and discomforts when DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) sets in. During exercise, magnesium levels are depleted with loss through sweat, urine and alterations in blood magnesium levels. This makes magnesium supplementation important for athletes or those who work out regularly as they will have a higher magnesium needs than the sedentary population. Many studies have shown that loss of magnesium affects performance however they haven’t yet been able to show that supplementation with magnesium will increase performance!
So apart from oral supplement which most of us would receive from a basic multivitamin how else can you ensure you’re getting enough magnesium?
Ever heard of Transdermal magnesium application? Transdermal magnesium is applied directly to and absorbed by the skin. This may sound like a new fad but transdermal application itself isn’t a new way to administer products with certain medications like pain relief and smoking cessation patches having been used for some time. The difference is magnesium isn’t a drug it’s an essential mineral to the body and its delivered in a natural form. Applying it transdermally ensures it doesn’t have to pass the gastrointestinal tract and can be delivered straight to the body’s cells and tissues. This is a quick and easy way to reap the benefits of this product particularly, if taking magnesium orally gives you gastrointestinal upsets.
What happened when I started using magnesium spray?
It wasn’t until I was about 19 weeks pregnant that I started getting muscle cramps during the middle of the night partially in my calves. My sleep also started being affected by more restlessness and frequent waking which meant feeling more fatigued throughout the day. Wanting to improve my sleep and ease the cramping I went on the hunt for a magnesium spray to use and came across base recovery spray. A lovely small business based in Geelong who sources their magnesium chloride (the main ingredient in magnesium spray) naturally from the dead sea. One thing I liked about the products that set them apart from other brands is the addition of essential oils. The sleep recovery spray has a hint of lavender to assist with sleep, relieving tension and calming the mind. Whereas the recovery spray has a touch of peppermint oil which assists in clearing the airways, boosting digestion and enhancing energy levels. I hate deciding on one product and felt these products had different purposes, so I decided to try both! The sleep spray to help with my leg cramps and restless sleep and the recovery spray to assist with muscle soreness from my workouts.
I first used the magnesium sleep spray before bed with a spray on the sole of each foot and one on my abdomen. It smelt amazing, not too much lavender which meant it was not overpowering to my sensitive pregnancy nose. The spray left a cool tingly sensation on my tummy and feet and I jumped into bed. I felt the soles of my feet become more relaxed and it didn’t take too long to drift off to sleep. I still had a few night waking’s that night and a small foot cramp which I would take over a leg cramp any day! Night two of using the spray I applied the spray to my feet and tummy and again got a slight tingly feeling. I also decided to spray the sleep spray on the bottom of my toddler’s feet to see if it helped him with his night waking also. I have now been using the sleep spray on us both daily, and it’s become one of his favourite bedtime routines. I am happy to say our sleep has improved and I’m not waking in pain from muscle cramps (insert happy dance)!
The recovery spray I use for muscle soreness after my training and have been carrying in my handbag to use whilst at work. I reentered the workforce at 24 weeks pregnant as an oral health therapist after having almost 2 years off staying at home to raise my son. Dentistry is a demanding job both physically and mentally and although you sit down for a lot of the procedure the use of your arms, head and neck in sometimes awkward positioning can cause pain and strain. My first day back was exhausting and the next morning my upper back muscles felt practically sore, just like I’d done a workout. So before work the next day I sprayed the recovery spray on my back, neck and upper traps. Again, I felt a tingly sensation, but it felt like it took the edge off my discomfort and relaxed these areas. I had read that the tingling feeling was a sign that you are deficient in magnesium, however, I wasn’t able to find any evidence to support this claim so did a small experiment on myself. From personal experience, I have found the tingling sensation to decrease even when applying the spray to different areas (testing to see if the skin somehow got used to the feeling when applying in the same spot). So perhaps as I have increased my magnesium levels with regular use the sensation has gone away.
How to use magnesium spray
Magnesium sprays are incredibly easy to use. Simply spray the magnesium oil onto your skin and massage in. Or, for harder to reach areas, spray into your hands first before rubbing in. If you don’t enjoy the tingly sensation you can dilute the spray with some water or coconut oil or rinse off after 20 minutes. I have been using the sleep spray about half an hour before bed with a spray on the sole of each foot and one on my tummy and the recovery spray I spray directly to sore muscles after work or exercising. Since using base recovery magnesium spray I am no longer getting muscle cramps at night, which is, in turn, improving my sleep and the muscle pain is eased after training and work.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy to use product to help relieve cramping, aches and pains and improve your mood and most importantly your sleep. Then you need to get yourself some magnesium spray!
My top picks on where to buy magnesium spray
Note: base recovery no longer supply their amazing product so a few other recommendations are
KASS, L., Skinner, P. and Poeira, F. (2013). A pilot study on the effects of magnesium supplementation with high and low habitual dietary magnesium intake on resting and recovery from aerobic and resistance exercise and systolic blood pressure. J Sports Sci Med, 12(1), pp.144-50.
Ragnar, R. (2015). Treatment with Magnesium in Pregnancy. AIMS Public Health, 2(4), pp.804–809.
Tarjan, A. and Zarean, E. (2017). Effect of Magnesium Supplement on Pregnancy Outcomes: A Randomized Control Trial. Advanced Biomedical Research, 6(1), p.109.
Tarleton, E., Littenberg, B., MacLean, C., Kennedy, A. and Daley, C. (2017). Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE, 12(6), p.e0180067
Supakatisant, C. and Phupong, V. (2012). Oral magnesium for relief in pregnancy-induced leg cramps: a randomised controlled trial. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 11(2), pp.139-145