A magic mineral? What magnesium can — and can't — do for you

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Over meal successful Hollywood, a friend confides that she’s spritzing it connected nan soles of her feet astatine nighttime and getting “the champion slumber of my life.” At Erewhon successful Silver Lake, a noticeably focused and relaxed worker tells maine she stirs it into beverage for attraction and relaxation. In my TikTok feed, a female tries to extremity her three-day conflict pinch constipation by chugging it consecutive from nan bottle. (Disclaimer: Don’t.) Her giddy triumph speech, afloat of schematic specifications that perfectly cannot beryllium repeated here, has 27.8 cardinal views and counting.

All 3 of these group sanction nan aforesaid constituent arsenic nan cardinal to their saccharine alleviation — not immoderate recently patented molecule aliases ancient herbal extract but 1 of nan astir communal elements connected earth: magnesium.

After decades of middle-of-the-alphabet anonymity connected vitamin shop shelves, nan humble metallic abruptly is taking a prima move successful nan wellness community, popping up successful thousands of posts and moreover inspiring its ain viral recipe, nan Sleepy Girl Mocktail. (Tart cherry juice and magnesium powder, pinch an optional ringing light.) Since nan online debut of that elixir connected TikTok past year, Google searches for “magnesium sleep” person more than doubled, while mixed mentions connected respective different platforms — YouTube, X, Reddit, and Tumblr — person jumped 87%, according to nan societal media analytics institution Sprout Social.

"Lypo-Spheric" magnesium gel, for squeezing into your beverage. A container of 30 packets goes for $70 astatine Erewhon.
Magnesium products photographed successful Altadena connected February 27, 2024.

“Lypo-Spheric” magnesium gel, for squeezing into your beverage. A container of 30 packets goes for $70 astatine Erewhon.

Magnesium’s online occurrence besides has been spurred successful portion by a Cambrian detonation of products and formulations, each adapted for a different niche successful nan wellness ecosystem. At Alo Yoga successful nan Grove, you tin prime up Magnesium Reset Spray for misting complete tense muscles. (“It’s our astir celebrated wellness product,” an worker location told me.) At Malibu Vitamin Barn, you tin drawback packs of “Lypo-Spheric” magnesium gel, cleanable for squeezing into your greeting latte. Erewhon sells much than 30 forms of magnesium, each claiming a different benefit: magnesium carbonate for patient sleep, magnesium bisglycinate for accent relief, ozonated magnesium oxides for amended digestion, magnesium L-Threonate for cognitive support — nan database goes on. A specified $250 will get you a massage supercharged pinch “heat activated” magnesium oil astatine nan Conrad Hotel downtown.

Financially speaking, nan wellness manufacture has yet succeeded wherever hundreds of years of alchemists failed: turning magnesium into gold. Total income of nan supplement successful its myriad forms are projected to apical $1.5 cardinal successful 2024, according to nan Nutrition Business Journal, and location are nary signs of slowing down.

“In nan past year, we’ve brought successful a batch of caller magnesium products, and it keeps gaining traction,” said Maren Giuliano, VP of wellness and wellness astatine Erewhon, wherever income of nan supplement are up by much than 50% complete past year. “It’s decidedly basking correct now.”

In nan wellness world, this isn’t moreover magnesium’s first infinitesimal successful nan sun. (Actually, each magnesium started retired inside a sun, aliases rather, wrong decaying supernovas wherever helium and c nuclei were fused by unimaginably powerful forces to shape caller atoms, immoderate of which person had nan grant of ending up successful Goop’s magnesium-rich Detoxifying Superpowder.)

The first recorded magnesium craze started successful 1618, erstwhile a husbandman successful nan English municipality of Epsom noticed that his cows wouldn’t portion from a bitter excavation of water. Perhaps seeking immoderate 17th-century shape of clout, he decided to portion it himself. He quickly noticed nan laxative effect for which Epsom salts would go world-famous, drafting hordes of stopped-up visitors to nan municipality for decades to come.

Over nan years, nan supplement has been ascribed galore aesculapian powers, immoderate much reliable than others. In 1934, nan New York Times announced a breakthrough discovery by a Johns Hopkins professor who recovered that “magnesium tends to sweeten nan quality disposition and that ‘grouchiness’ whitethorn beryllium caused successful portion by nan absence of this mineral brackish successful nan system.”

Alo Yoga's Magnesium Reset Spray, for misting complete tense muscles aliases connected nan soles of your feet earlier bed.

Alo Yoga’s Magnesium Reset Spray, for misting complete tense muscles aliases connected nan soles of your feet earlier bed.

In our existent magnesium moment, nan supplement is being marketed arsenic a occurrence cure for conscionable astir everything from musculus cramps to insomnia. The committedness that magnesium tin soothe, crushed and calm america — for illustration a gravity broad for nan mind — is particularly alluring successful anxious times erstwhile prices are surging, wars capable nan news and nan embers of nan pandemic are still smoldering.

As a result, healthcare professionals are fielding a dependable watercourse of questions from patients who are funny astir what magnesium tin do for them. The answer, according to experts interviewed for this article, could beryllium summed up as: much than you mightiness think, but little than you mightiness hope.

So, what is it bully for? Biologically, your assemblage can’t tally without magnesium. Unless you person a superior chronic illness, you astir apt person astir 25 grams of it successful you correct now, mostly successful your bones.

“Magnesium plays galore basal roles successful nan body,” said Dr. Zhaoping Li, head of UCLA’s Center for Human Nutrition. “It’s portion of nan musculus relaxation process, it’s progressive successful neurotransmitters. It is an basal portion of each compartment types. So arsenic you tin imagine, lacking it would person wide-spectrum antagonistic impacts connected health.”

Pure Encapsulations magnesium capsules, utilized arsenic a dietary supplement.
Pure Enscapulations magnesium capsules products photographed successful Altadena connected February 27, 2024

Pure Encapsulations magnesium capsules, utilized arsenic a dietary supplement. (Jessica Miller / For The Times)

That doesn’t mean you needfully request to return magnesium supplements, though. While nan USDA says that little than half of Americans get their regular recommended dose of magnesium from food, Dr. Li said that medically speaking, deficiency isn’t communal successful different patient people. “If anyone has a regular diet, this is not thing you would easy lack. The root of magnesium [in food] is beautiful wide.”

As for magnesium’s estimation arsenic a slayer of accent and bringer of sleep, nan assemblage is still out, according to Steven Chen, subordinate dean for objective affairs astatine USC’s Alfred E. Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“The subject is not highly beardown successful this area,” he said. “But location are associations betwixt magnesium supplementation and betterment successful depression, betterment successful anxiety, successful migraine headaches. There are immoderate investigation reports that propose that’s nan case.”

Still, magnesium occurrence stories are progressively easy to find.

“It’s for illustration nighttime and time for immoderate people,” said Amanda Cohen, a expert of Chinese medicine and proprietor of Sourcepoint Wellness successful Atwater Village. “They’re like, ‘I yet slept done nan night.’” Cohen has utilized magnesium successful her believe for much than a decade because it has a ample scope of applications for patients and is mostly good tolerated. “It’s already successful our bodies, truthful we’re conscionable supporting it, whether it’s done nutrient aliases a mini dose.”

Despite their different backgrounds, nan practitioners I said to each work together connected a fewer points. First, supplemental magnesium isn’t a cure-all, nary matter really galore societal media posts whitethorn opportunity otherwise. Second, you should consult a healthcare master earlier starting immoderate supplements to norm retired harmful effects aliases interactions. (This is particularly important for group pinch immoderate benignant of kidney impairment, since excess magnesium is flushed retired successful urine.) And finally, successful capable doses, magnesium will almost surely make astatine slightest 1 point hap for you. “Magnesium citrate is utilized earlier colonoscopies to really get nan bowel going,” said Dr. Li. Or, successful Cohen’s words, “It tin beryllium very moving.” Turns retired nan woman successful nan TikTok video wasn’t wrong.

Moon Juice's $42 Magnesi-Om powder, utilized for relaxation and sleep.
Magnesi-Om powdered portion supplement photographed successful Altadena connected February 27, 2024

Moon Juice’s $42 Magnesi-Om powder, utilized for relaxation and sleep.

Regardless, magnesium seems poised to instrumentality astir successful wellness circles — moreover successful L.A., wherever caller wellness trends get pinch nan dependable hit of water waves. When I dropped by Moon Juice successful Venice connected a clear January day, an worker gave maine free samples of nan company’s caller Magnesi-Om powders, which sprawl crossed astir half a wall of show space.

“These are very calming, awesome for anxiety,” she advised. “And they travel successful different flavors, successful lawsuit you don’t for illustration one.”

A fewer minutes later, I walked up nan thoroughfare to an herbal apothecary that offers roseate quartz crystals alongside dropper-bottle tinctures branded “Happiness.” When I asked if they waste thing pinch magnesium, an worker turned apologetic.

“No,” she sighed. ”But I wish we did. It’s amazing.”

Adam Markovitz is simply a writer and editor based successful Los Angeles.

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