For many sufferers, IBS is linked not only to digestion but also to emotional or stress triggers. When stressed, magnesium is lost from the body in our urine. If you have problems digesting and absorbing magnesium, then you could find yourself with less magnesium than you need, causing you to feel particularly:
Maybe you also have muscle pain, leg cramps, insomnia, twitching eyelids
According to the NIH office of dietary supplements, “magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation”.
The average adult should be consuming around 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women. For more detailed information, read here. Many of us are consuming less, or losing magnesium through stress and poor digestion, and this can be affecting our general health and how we feel.
IBS-C sufferers: Did you know that magnesium is traditionally used particularly for people who are bothered by constipation?
If you suffer from IBS-C, magnesium can help you become more regular. You can take a magnesium supplement, but you will have to digest it first. On IBS forums I have seen many IBS sufferers finding magnesium citrate very effective, but I have not used it myself.
As ever I prefer natural remedies. Here are a few that I found to be effective:
Special note for IBS-D sufferers:
Over time diarrhea can deplete magnesium levels in your body, so you do need to take this into consideration. Over-the-counter magnesium supplements are also known to cause or worsen diarrhea when unabsorbed magnesium reaches your intestines.
The first natural remedy below should help you overcome this problem. Obviously, if you do find it is making your diarrhea worse, then you should stop.
What you can do to boost magnesium levels:
1) Take a relaxing bath with Epsom salts
Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate. The advantage of Epsom Salts is that you can sprinkle some into a bath and absorb the magnesium through your skin, without it going through your digestive tract.
If you can, once a week have a relaxing bath and pour in 2 cups of Epsom Salts. You can also add about 5 drops of essential oil of lavender, known for its relaxing, calming properties. I found this to be very useful to wind down at weekends.
Where can I buy Epsom Salts? You can usually buy medical grade Epsom salts from your pharmacist. I have included the following Amazon affiliate links to reputable online US suppliers:
Don’t have a bath?
You can make a spray. Dissolve equal parts of Epsom salts and warm water in a container, pour into a clean household spray container and spray it onto your skin before you shower. This seems a much less practical solution than a bath, but it may work for you.
2) Have a Banana brew
This recipe is reproduced with kind permission by Marie Kelenn (www.nourriture-sante.com).
Bananas are known to be rich in magnesium, but a large part of that magnesium is found in the skin.
This “banana brew” is natural, rich in magnesium and prescribed by a French doctor Michaël BREUS to patients lacking magnesium.
For 2 servings:
Take an organic banana. Leave the skin on it and wash it well.
Cut off the two ends, and cut the banana in two, still with the skin on.
Put it in a saucepan with about 3 cups (750ml) of boiling water. Leave to cook for about 45 minutes (the banana goes brown).
Take the banana out, and drink the liquid, adding some cinnamon and cane sugar to taste (white refined sugar is known to feed bad gut bacteria, so get into a good habit). Note that cinnamon gives a great taste, but also is known for its health benefits.
You can oF course also eat the banana too.
You can drink this as necessary, every day if you need to until you feel improvement. If you have a magnesium deficiency you may find it takes a few weeks before you see results.
If you experience diarrhea as a result of either of these suggestions, you should stop.
3) Eat more magnesium-rich foods rich in magnesium
Another way of boosting your magnesium levels is by increasing the amounts you include in your diet. If your diet is rich in magnesium, you still have a better chance of absorbing some into your body even if your digestion is not optimum.
In this list I have included a few foods that are generally well tolerated by IBS sufferers. Choose organic, fresh products without preservatives where possible:
For more detailed information on serving sizes and levels of magnesium content, read here.1