Some stuff that has been rolling around in my brain thanks to my recent magnesium obsession...
Prenatal Vitamins and Leg Cramps
So... this morning, out of curiosity, I looked at the bottle of prenatal vitamins I took on occasion while pregnant. Lots of folic acid and calcium, for sure. Magnesium... nope. What the?!
Then I remembered something about my sister. A year or two ago, she told me that she always got bad leg cramps with her pregnancies (I did too). Then she switched to the prenatal vitamins from NuSkin where her husband works, and her leg cramps disappeared. She thought maybe the NuSkin vitamins just absorbed into her body better, and she may be right. After I saw that my bottle of vitamins didn't contain magnesium this morning, I got wondering about NuSkin's prenatals. So I googled it. And... Yepperdoodle. 39% of the DV of magnesium. More magnesium, fewer leg cramps. Just like you'd expect.
Hard Water for Contractions?
My sister also used to get a lot of contractions in the last trimester of her pregnancies (I do too), but she noticed (or her doctor suggested) that if she drank a bunch of water, they would go away. It may have been partly dehydration, but I can't help wondering whether drinking a large amount of the hard, mineral-rich Utah mountain water gave her magnesium stores a boost and helped relax her uterus? Maybe. Who knows for sure, but I thought it was an interesting connection.
Hard Water for Cramps and Fetal Hiccups?
Not long before I got married, I was visiting my future-in-laws with my future husband. While there, my period arrived, and I was hit with some horrendous menstrual cramps. I literally passed-out in their basement bathroom from the pain, and then spent the next several hours moaning, embarassingly in the arms of my fiance while his mother and sister offered their sweet sympathy. I remember my mother-in-law saying that she always had excruciating cramps until after her first pregnancy. So I've been wondering over the past week whether low magnesium was to blame for both of us.
Then a friend recently mentioned that her doula trainer, a midwife, had taught her having that a fetus who hiccups a lot can be a sign of magnesium deficiency. I told my husband about that, and he remembered his mother talking about how her first baby hiccuped all the time while in utero. Then the cogs and wheels started going in my brain.
Something changed between her first pregnancy and the rest. She only remembers the first baby hiccuping, and she no longer had bad cramps afterward. Interestingly enough, she had been living in California for a while before getting married and pregnant. At some point after her baby was born, the family moved to Utah. That baby was the only one born in California.
So I found a map showing the relative hardness of the drinking water in the U.S. on a water science website. I'll throw in a screen shot of it here:
*Edited to add*: My mother-in-law also grew up in New Zealand which has primarily soft water. She moved to Porterville, California (a soft water area) as an adult just a few years before marrying. She was probably already low on magnesium when she arrived in the U.S. (Fortunately, New Zealand is also surrounded by ocean water, so God provided a simple way for those soft water islanders to get their mg.)
Fluoride + Soft water + Lousy diet = Scoliosis?
The other day I had an epiphany... maybe magnesium will help my scoliosis pain? So that led me on a google search that turned up some really promising stuff. There definitely seems to be some connection between scoliosis and low magnesium. Also, most women who have osteoporosis also have scoliosis and seem to exhibit a cluster of similar symptoms related with magnesium deficiency. I was thrilled to make this discovery. So I am full of hope that magnesium will tremendously reduce or eliminate my back pain and save me from a future of other possible health problems. Yay.
I can also tell you that I had a fairly lousy diet as a teenager. Most days I skipped multiple meals out of sheer busy-ness or laziness. Many days all I had for lunch was french fries and a carbonated beverage. (Oh the things I wish I could go do-over!) Dinner was the only somewhat nutritious meal I had every day, but we still ate a lot of refined carbs. So... what little magnesium I may have been getting in my diet was probably getting trapped by the fluoride in our water. Dang.
It gets worse.
If you look on the map, you'll see that MA is an area with very soft water relative to hard water areas. That's three strikes against me: fluoride, poor diet, and soft water. Ouch.
But I also carried all my heavy text books around in my monstrous backpack, always on my right shoulder... every school day. I never used my locker in middle school or high school. Strike four!
It's really no surprise that I was diagnosed with scoliosis two years after I moved to MA. And it's really no surprise that two years later I started having absolutely horrendous menstrual cramps. Can we say magnesium deficiency?!
All of this makes me feel like a detective. It's kind of fun finding possible answers to all these questions after all these years.
The more I learn, the more amazed I am how much impact little things can have. It's makes me both afraid and hopeful. Afraid of what little things are impacting my own children right now that will come back to bite them down the road. But hopeful because I can see that there is almost always a simple solution to our health problems if we can just find all the puzzle pieces and fit them together.
How's the water where you live? Hard or soft? Is it fluoridated? Is there magnesium in your prenatal vitamins? I'm totally curious.