Magnesium & Type 1 Diabetes
Magnesium is essential for over 300 reactions in the human body. As an essential nutrient, being deficient in magnesium can be extremely detrimental to your overall health. And if you’re a type 1 diabetic or a person with an autoimmune disease, you’ve likely been deficient in it for some time now.
Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous & cardiovascular system, well functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency.
Magnesium, Where You At?
In general, magnesium has become less abundant and incredibly hard to absorb. Between modern farming methods, heavy pesticide use, fluoridated water, high sugar diets, processed foods, birth control pills, and other pharmaceutical drugs, even if you were able to ingest a decent amount of magnesium the odds of you being able to absorb it are fairly low due to the reasons stated above. And that’s just the average person. Throw type 1 diabetes in the mix and we just went from a David problem to a Goliath problem.
Type 1 Diabetes Actively Depletes Magnesium Levels
- High Sugar: It takes 28 molecules of magnesium to metabolize a SINGLE glucose molecule! (source).
- Lack of sleep: Getting a good night’s rest is a rare commodity in the T1D world. Between setting alarms, waking up from dex/pump alerts, or excessive middle of the night bathroom breaks, solid sleep is hard to come by. How to do you pay for a bad night’s sleep? Two words: magnesium dollars.
- Stress: Stress is a magnesium vacuum and having type 1 diabetes (or any autoimmune disease) is extremely stressful on the body (both physically and mentally).
- Icing on the cake: Having low levels of magnesium contributes to inflammation in the body, which contributes to autoimmune diseases. (source) Literally the LAST thing we need.
How to Tell If You’re Deficient
Blood tests aren’t super accurate at detecting a deficiency because only 1% of your body’s magnesium levels reside in the blood stream. A better test is to look at your symptoms. If you google symptoms there are about 20+ symptoms. Rule of thumb is if you have 5 or more you’re likely deficient. Some of the more common symptoms (in alphabetical order) include:
- Carbohydrate & salt cravings
- Frequent Cavities
- Hard time focusing (mentally)
- Hard time sleeping
- Heart “flutters”
- Lack of appetite
- Muscle soreness
- Poor coordination
- Poor memory
- Sensitive to noise
Oh Sh*t, I May Be Deficient
Now before you start ordering magnesium supplements off Amazon you should know that magnesium isn’t well absorbed in the digestive tract, especially if you have gut issues or have sub par levels of good gut bacteria (cough-cough everyone with an autoimmune disease). Experts estimate that only 20-50% of magnesium supplements taken orally get absorbed. Low levels of vitamin D (which is another nutrient that most people with an autoimmune disease are deficient in) also hinders absorption of magnesium.
So How Do I Get Magnesium?
I see the best results when I bypass the digestive system entirely, since us autoimmune’ies have a massive roadblock there. I apply magnesium topically; using it on the skin with either a lotion or oil. This is also the safest way because the body will only absorb what it needs.
For the past few years I have been using homemade magnesium oil spray. Every night before bed I spray 15-20 sprays on my skin. I do it at night because it can feel sticky, like ocean sticky, and I don’t notice it as much when I’m laying in bed.
I like to use magnesium chloride because I find it less irritating on the skin and highly absorbable (more so than magnesium sulfate – epsom salt – which, still is very absorbable through the skin). When my magnesium levels are low I do notice a slight tingling sensation on the areas sprayed. If the tingling is too much, add more water until you become more sufficient in your magnesium stores.
Homemade Magnesium Oil Spray
- 1/2 cup Magnesium Chloride Flakes
- 1/2 cup water (use distilled water for a longer shelf life)
- Boil water
- Once boiling, remove from heat and add magnesoum chloride flakes.
- Stirr until flakes are compeltly disolved.
- Allow to cool completely before pouring into spray bottle.
Store at room temperature. Will keep for 2-3 months. 6-8 months if using distilled water.
Other topical ways to get magnesium
- Love taking baths? Epsom salt baths (Which are magnesium sulfate) are wonderful way to absorb magnesium topically.
- Live near the ocean? Sea water is another great way to absorb magnesium and trace minerals though the skin.