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NATURAL HIGHS OF CHILL: MAGNESIUM - THE MIND AND MUSCLE RELAXANT: WHERE TO FIND IT

Dark green leafy vegetables are one of the best sources of magnesium - chard, kale, broccoli, wheat grass, watercress, parsley and Chinese greens, but not spinach, as the oxalic acid it contains blocks absorption. Also excellent are organic pumpkin seeds, almonds, molasses and brown rice and other whole grains, especially buckwheat. In truth, magnesium is found in most foods, though according to official UK food composition tables the levels in vegetables have declined by around 24 per cent in the last 60 years. So buy organic where possible, and be sure to include magnesium-rich foods in your regular diet.

II you're stressed, anxious or suffer from some of the deficiency symptoms listed on page 48, you probably need more magnesium than your diet alone can provide. Magnesium supplements are widely available in health food stores as capsules or tablets.

Alcohol, caffeine and sugar, often major players in a stressed person's diet, all trigger an increase in the amount of magnesium excreted from the body. Inevitably, you end up more stressed, anxious and tense when this happens, so cut down on these substances as much as possible and use healthier alternatives.

How and When to Take It and How Much

The most absorbable forms are magnesium chelate or magnesium citrate, which are better than magnesium carbonate or sulphate. Many other forms of magnesium are also available but these are the most common. Multivitamins rarely contain more than l00mg, so lake an extra magnesium supplement of around 200mg in the evening. In most cases, magnesium is best taken in conjunction with calcium. Supplements of combined calcium and magnesium are available. Pick those that give no more than twice the calcium to magnesium (such as 500mg calcium to 250mg magnesium).

Any Precautions?

There are no known side effects from taking up to l000mg magnesium a day. Above this, magnesium can cause diarrhoea. Magnesium is very safe, except in the following cases. People with kidney disease may develop excessive levels of magnesium in their blood, so they should only take magnesium supplements under strict medical supervision. And people suffering from severe dehydration should avoid taking magnesium until they are fully hydrated again.

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