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I have heard that magnesium can help with restless legs, which I suffer from. Will a cream with magnesium in it be good enough or should I take a supplement for best effect?
>> Magnesium can indeed help with restless legs, and the good news is that topical application is actually more bioavailable than taking it orally. You can typically find magnesium preparations in a spray, cream, or gel formulation. It works by helping to relax the muscles and nerves which are triggering your bouts of restless legs.
Crucial to more than 300 enzyme systems in the body, only 1% of the magnesium in our bodies is found in the bloodstream. Magnesium is mostly found within the tissues, which is why it is an important mineral for muscle health and also why a deficiency is unlikely to show up in a blood test.
Magnesium levels tend to drop significantly at night, so a deficiency often manifests as poor REM sleep patterns and leg cramps. Headaches, leg or foot pain, palpitations, twitching muscles, blurry vision, mouth ulcers, depression, and anxiety are all symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
The production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, responsible for the regulation of mood, sleep and appetite, is also dependent on magnesium levels. It is also a good idea to get magnesium in your diet where you can. Fortunately, there are many great sources of this mineral — such as fish, artichokes, banana, figs, grains, prunes, dairy products, nuts, beans, beet greens, broccoli, legumes, parsnip, pumpkin, spinach, fermented soy products, squash, courgette, tomatoes, potatoes. Greens, grains, nuts and seeds are the main contenders since they have the highest bioavailable levels compared with other foods.
Should I be taking a DHA supplement during pregnancy or is this optional?
>> It is important to know that any supplementation is optional, particularly during pregnancy, and you should always do your own research when it comes to what is right for you and your baby. Also discuss any concerns you have with your lead maternity care provider since they will be thoroughly aware of your complete health records and any specific issues.
DHA (Docosahexanoic acid) certainly can be a very useful supplement to be aware of in terms of optimal growth and functioning of the baby’s brain. This important omega-3 fatty acid not only helps with optimal neurological development for the baby in the womb, it also helps to improve the chances of a healthy birth weight and reduce the incidence and severity of post-natal depression.
Adding essential fatty acids to your diet can also help to reduce forgetfulness, absent-mindedness, and mood swings during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, which makes them just as important for mental and emotional wellbeing.
If you choose to source your EFAs from fish, then make sure that you choose deep-sea fish. Good options include mackerel, sardines, Atlantic salmon and trout. Options for vegetarians and vegans include chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, olives, pumpkin seeds, and leafy greens (these include smaller amounts, but are very bioavailable). DHA supplements, such as Dr Joel Fuhrman’s DHA + Purity, are also available.
Is it true that eating cabbage can help with stomach ulcers or is this just an old wives’ tale?
>> The reason why cabbage works so well is because it contains quercetin, a bioflavanoid which inhibits the growth of Helicobacter pylori (present in 90% of individuals with stomach ulcers) and reduces inflammation.
Cooked cabbage won’t do much for you, but raw or freshly juiced cabbage is ideal. Chop it up coleslaw-style with a few other vegetables and leave the dressing out, or simply juice enough for 200ml of cabbage juice, twice daily.
You can also benefit from a soothing cup of chamomile tea since chamomile flowers contain aigenin, another useful bioflavanoid for inflammation and ulcers. Mastic gum is yet another simple, yet highly effective, remedy for ulcers and H pylori infection.