What do you do when your Magnesium keeps you awake?
As a trainer, we have "go-to" solutions as a rule. When it comes to sleep issues or trouble with anxiety and depression, even insulin sensitivity absorbable forms of Magnesium rarely fail us (I use ATP's Synermag @ 4-5 caps after dinner nightly).
Time to time we get clients that respond opposite to what they're supposed to and we have to dig deep in research- not unlike your favorite episode of HOUSE.
Years back I was training two Russian girls, new to Canada, and dealing with real sleep issues- not responsive to the usual melatonin, carbs at night, dark cool room, turn off your WiFi, . .blah, blah . .
When we gave them various chelates of Magnesium (Glycinate, Taurate, Citrate, and even Orotate) it agitated their sleep making it worse. So what gives?
"Perhaps", I thought, "..they're just not absorbing it ?" "What if I skip the digestive tract and we use Epsom salt baths (Magnesium Sulfate) and topical Magnesium? Skipping the digestive tract, in effect going right into circulation. Still sleepless nights and energized at midnight.
Perhaps they are full of heavy metals ?. Many from the former Soviet Union have presented with high heavy metals- in effect blocking the absorption of the Magnesium due to high levels of Cadmium or Lead, etc.. The heavier metal, due to molecular weight gets to take the "parking spots" of Mg and Zinc until removed.
So we used Modified Citrus Pectin at a tbsp 2x/day for 2 weeks- it has a high affinity for heavy metals while sparing our preferred minerals like Mg and Zn. To ensure we were choosing the right protocol, we used a lab to test hair samples and tell us the mineral status- a good choice. Both girls were high in undesirable metals so the protocol did its' trick and they were better able to absorb the magnesium- but still they experienced energized nights with little sleep?
My friend and honestly a mentor at the time, Charles "the strength sensei" Poliquin reminded me that when individuals are chronically low in magnesium, the first thing the body does is shuttle it to aid the Krebs Cycle (our metabolic pathway for bursts of energy). What we were in effect doing was priming the girls' energy systems right before bed. So counter to all traditional advice, we moved the magnesium to morning dosing with breakfast- and sure enough, it energized their day. As they rebuilt their red blood cell Mg levels, our job was to track the energizing effect.
As they improved, the energy would level off mid-afternoon and now the sedating or calming effect of the magnesium started to present. At this time, we moved the magnesium to lunch so the "sleepy effect" would fall after dinner. Finally, as this became consistent, we moved the magnesium dosing to after dinner coupled with the melatonin and other sleep protocols, restorative nights of great sleep (as per their fit bit) returned.
All in all, it was about a 6-week time frame and we used ATP's Synermag at 3 caps on training days, 2 on off days. Hopefully, this helps Coaches and trainees alike. Here's to your good night's sleep.
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