I am not a nutritionist, dietitian or a doctor. This post is simply to share with you my experience of taking magnesium and how it's changed my life. If you’re feeling unwell or want to change your diet you should consult your doctor before doing anything. Let’s start from the beginning. I am quite a high-energy person, by that I mean I find it hard to sit still, and I love to work and train. I enjoy my work and for most of my working life I have been able to work long hours and work late into the evening.
However, for the past couple of years I have slowly and gradually struggled to work late or even concentrate. I felt very tired once the clock hit 2pm. Then in the evening I just wanted to go to bed. For someone like me, this has been extremely frustrating. I told myself ‘being tired at 2pm is normal’. After all, several countries have a siesta. Maybe it was because I’d reached my 30s and this was just how life was. I hoped not, as I have at least another 35 years of working.
I didn’t bother seeing a doctor, which was probably not a great idea. Instead I tried to fix myself. I took high doses of vitamin B, as that apparently helps with mental function. I increased my dosage of vitamin D, for energy. I tried to get more sleep. I drank more water. I don’t carry much body fat and I train a healthy amount, so that wasn’t the answer. Despite all of this, nothing changed. I was gradually getting worse. The last 6 months I noticed I was getting worse. Now I was becoming anxious and stressed. I constantly worried. I have for the most part of my life been a very confident and positive person who sees the good in every situation. Now I worried about all sorts such as work, people’s opinions and imaginary situations.
A lot of change has happened in my life over the past 6 months, so maybe it was because of that. I did what most men do and just put my head down and carried on. The last 10 weeks have been the absolute worst. I would get extremely anxious from just seeing an email from certain people – I ran all kinds of bizarre scenarios in my head of what they could be emailing me about. I was exhausted, completely and utterly exhausted. Sleep didn’t help. In fact, I felt more tired when I work up. Waking up and getting up was a struggle and I had always been an early bird in the past. With constant anxiety, which pumped adrenaline through my body all day and all night my sleep was terrible. I would wake up with so much adrenaline and anxiety, you’d think I was sleeping through a war zone. With terrible sleep, adrenaline, anxiety, stress and now depression I found people very difficult to handle.
I had lost all my patience, even for things that shouldn’t have irritated me. I turned to positive thinking techniques and positive self-talk (something that I used to do naturally), but it was like talking to a zombie - because I was a zombie. I now noticed that I was having extremely terrible nightmares. The ones that paralyse you and where you have a black shadow over the top of you pinning you down. That wasn’t great for my sleep either.
It was now Thursday 27 April 2017. At an all time low, I desperately subscribed to the podcast called ‘Anxiety Slayer’. It got to about 2pm and I wanted to be physically sick through sheer exhaustion. I couldn’t function, my brain wasn’t working and every thought was just a cloud of fog. I went home from work. On my way home, I decided to listen to a podcast from the Anxiety Slayer. It was called ‘What you need to know about magnesium deficiency and anxiety with Dr. Carolyn Dean’. All the symptoms they discussed were what I was experiencing, but I thought how could a simple mineral like magnesium help me. At this point I was willing to try anything, voodoo, magnesium, anything.
I ordered magnesium tablets from Amazon. I’m an Amazon Prime member, so they would arrive the next day. Friday came, which I decided to take off. I was even more exhausted than the day before, so I went back to sleep at 11am. When I woke up, groggy, about 2pm my magnesium tablets had arrived. I took one and continued to rest that day. A few hours later I felt very refreshed. I thought that nap must have really helped. I couldn’t sleep that night as I was very alert and full of energy. The next day I took another magnesium tablet and headed off to boxing class. After boxing class I got a shower, ate some food and headed back to the gym. I hadn’t done a double gym session in over a year. That night I was wired and alert and it was 12am in the evening. Oh I remember, this is how I used to be. Then it clicked, ‘is it the magnesium tablets?”.
The next day I did more research on magnesium than I did for my university dissertation. I read, blogs, articles and watched videos on YouTube. Many people had suffered and gone through the exact same thing as me. I won’t go in to the details on here, but in summary, most people are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium rich foods are leafy greens vegetables, something I’m embarrassed to say I don’t eat a lot of. I had noticed that recently my desire for chocolate had significantly increased. I discovered that chocolate is magnesium rich and that was my body’s way of trying to acquire more magnesium. But this was the weekend, let’s see how magnesium stood up to the working week. I upped my dose to two tablets a day (a total of 400mg), one in the morning to get me through the morning and one at lunchtime to get me through the afternoon. I can’t take them before bed, as they make me wide awake.
It was Monday and 2pm came. I felt fresh when I woke up. I was usually about to collapse by 2pm. To be honest, I’ve had to rely on naps to survive the past two years and I had no urge to nap. Monday night arrived and I had to force myself to stop working. Tuesday was the same, Wednesday was the same, Thursday and Friday were the same. For the first time in a long time I felt 21 again. Actually, I feel better than I was when I was 21. I really wished I had found out about magnesium 12 years ago. I wonder how much more productive I could have been.
I have no hard-scientific answers to what caused my magnesium deficiency, but you lose magnesium when you sweat, when you go to the toilet and your body uses it to function properly. Add those factors with a diet that doesn’t have high magnesium and I guess that’s how it occurred. The magnesium I take is Magnesium Citrate, because this is better absorbed by the body. Whereas magnesium oxide isn’t absorbed very well. So that’s my story and I feel like a high energetic 21 year old. If you have any questions, leave a comment below.