Magnesium is a mineral workhorse—needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It wears many hats— playing a role in nerve and muscle function, supporting the immune system, keeping our heartbeats steady, and our bones strong. It also adjusts our blood glucose levels, helps produce energy and protein, and is required to synthesize DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. We would do well to ensure that we have adequate amount, especially since stress can reduce our levels. And low levels can create more stress, a vicious cycle.
Magnesium supplements are a bit controversial in the benzo withdrawal community. Some people swear that they help them stay a bit more calm and sleep better while others complain that magnesium supplements cause an increase in withdrawal symptoms, especially anxiety and panic. (The increase in withdrawal symptoms may be due to magnesium activating GABA A.)
There are many magnesium supplements to choose from, and each has its merits. There is magnesium citrate (very popular as a supplement and easily absorbed), magnesium chloride (used to treat heartburn, constipation, and sore muscles), magnesium lactate (which is thought to perhaps help with anxiety and is easy on the digestive tract), magnesium malate (easily absorbed and less laxative effect), magnesium taurate (help with high blood sugar and blood pressure), magnesium L-threonate (thought to help brain function), magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt), magnesium glycerinate (thought to help with anxiety, depression, and insomnia), magnesium orotate (boots heart function), and magnesium oxide (found in Milk Of Magnesia and not easily absorbed to increase magnesium levels).
Should you take a magnesium supplement? That answer is totally up to you. If you can take one without an increase in symptoms, that’s wonderful. (Just don’t take more than the recommended daily allowance as too much magnesium can be harmful.) But what if you’ve tried and had a bad reaction, or what if you don’t want to risk trying a supplement? Here are some foods that are high in magnesium. (An adult male over the age of thirty needs 420 mg, and a woman needs 320 mg.)
Pumpkin seeds roasted, one ounce, 156 mg, 37% of daily total
Swiss Chard, one cup, cooked, 151 mg, 36 % of daily total
Chia seeds, one ounce, 111 mg, 26% of daily total
Almonds, dry roasted, one ounce, 80 mg, 19% of daily total
Spinach, boiled, 1/2 cup, 78 mg, 19% of daily total
Peanuts, oil roasted, 1/4 cup, 63 mg, 15% of daily total
Black beans, cooked, 1/2 cup, 60 mg, 14% of daily total
Edamame, shelled, cooked, 1/2 cup, 50 mg, 12% of daily total
Baked potato, with skin, 3.5 oz, 43 mg, 10% of daily total
Brown rice, cooked, 1/2 cup, 42 mg, 10% of daily total
Avocado, cubed, 1/2 cup, 22 mgs, 5% of daily total
Magnesium is magic! We need it for so many processes in our bodies, and the stress from benzo withdrawal may be lowering our levels, so it’s wise to include some magnesium rich foods in our daily diet, even if you are able to tolerate a supplement.
Thank you so much. As I try to get off the benzos, I have researched various ways people have done this. And in tbe process have realized the importance of a plant based diet. Thank you so much for your help. You are a treasure of information. God created a beautiful world overflowing with healing plants. God is patiently waiting for us to rediscover their healing powers. Just as tbe native cultures who were here before us already knew.
I’m so pleased you are normalizing magnesium. I have used it during all 3 of my tapers and did not have issues with it. I know some people do have issues with it and I respect their experience.
I started low and slow and gauged my bodys reaction.
I am now 6 months off of a 22 month taper of Clonzapam. I am doing really well. I continue to use between 50-150mgs of Magnesium Gycinate at night when I need help relaxing into sleep, which is not completely healed yet.
Hello Dr. Jenn,
Thank you for another promising blog post. I took to heart your post on (good) carbs and have been (finally) sleeping better the last six weeks. :OD
Welcome back from your vacation, I hope it was wonderful.
Hi Dr Jenn,
Thank you very much for this post.
I am very sorry to ask, but are you back in a wave after your journey to Hawaii? Were the festivities and flights and travel too much? I see you have a very reduced calendar again?
No wave. I’m feeling great!! My reduced schedule is due to four classes I am taking— nutrition, gut microbiome, and trauma, plus creating teaching content about benzos withdrawal for a university in Canada. I’m busy, busy, busy. I feel healthier and happier than ever. Life is good!
Glad you’re sleeping better. My vacation was fairy tale perfect. I’m back and excited about all I am learning in my classes.
I’m glad it works for you. It revved me up horribly. Your experience of taking small amounts to gradually acclimate to it is spot on. A great piece of advice. Keep healing!
I could talk all day and night about the healing power of plants. It’s mind blowing!
It’s sad that we’ve been marketed to about animal products. We’ve been brainwashed to think we need them. We don’t. They harm us. We aren’t designed to consume them— or their secretions or eggs.
Put a baby in a playpen with a bunny and an apple. She will play with the bunny and eat the apple. We aren’t born with a prey drive. But we buy cut up meat in plastic wrap and think we are omnivores. Once you understand the science about the gut microbiome— it’s the king of health— you understand what to eat and you see the truth about the standard American diet. I wish I had learned decades ago. But at least I learned. I feel fantastic! I am excited to share what I’ve learned. Detox pathways are my jam at the moment. Stay tuned for info on how to repair them!!
Dear Dr Jenn,
Oh thank goodness. I am really happy to hear that you are doing great even after flying to Hawaii and the festivities. I am glad to hear there really is healthy life after withdrawal is “finally” over.
The benzo withdrawal course is so exciting! All the best