Magnesium is found in dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and peas. Dietary intake of magnesium is low in the Western diet. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions. This means children need magnesium for optimal brain functioning.
Magnesium may be depleted from the body during stress; therefore, children dealing with chronic stress may be at-risk for a magnesium deficiency. Signs of magnesium deficiency include: anxiety, muscle spasms, constipation, and insomnia. Additionally, Werbach (1991) asserts magnesium has been linked to aggressive behavior. An excess or deficiency may result in aggressive behavior. This is hypothesized to be due to magnesium being a cofactor in the activity of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are neurotransmitters, which means they are brain chemicals that regulate mood and sleep.
Magnesium is easy and inexpensive to supplement. Magnesium may be added to the bath and absorbed through the skin. Consequently, pouring a cup of lavender scented epsom salt in your child’s bath at bedtime is a fantastic way to supplement magnesium. The combination of magnesium and lavender may improve sleep, especially when combined with calcium. Rub a dub, your child will be relaxing in the tub. Long about a Saturday night, yeah!
Werbach, M.R. (1991). Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness, (2nd ed.). Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press.