Most of us are deficient in this relaxing mineral and one of the best ways to top up your levels is through the skin. Where once that meant a functional bag of Epsom salts, now a new raft of beauty products from luxury creams to deodorants make it even easier to get your fix, as Sarah Vine discovers
One of the unwelcome side effects of intensive farming is soil depletion: many of the fruits and vegetables we consume are grown in ground that has been so overworked they are simply not as nutritious in terms of vitamins and minerals as they should be. Quite simply, that fast-growing, pesticide resistant tomato you eat today is less good for you than one grown a few decades ago.
That said, food is still the best source of most nutrients the body needs; but some can be harder to replenish than others. In particular levels of magnesium in leafy green vegetables - an essential mineral which is important in a number of vital functions - have declined markedly, in some cases up to 80 per cent, but on average around 50 per cent) since pre-1950s levels.
I seem to sleep better, and the shooting muscle pains and afternoon fatigue which often plague me have eased off greatly
And so magnesium deficiency - which causes a variety of ailments, from muscle cramps to migraines and depression - is something to watch out for. Some studies estimate that up to 70 per cent of the population may be deficient to a degree.
As someone who suffers from numerous aches and pains, frequent bouts of anxiety but who is also post-menopausal and does a fair amount of exercise, I’m conscious of the need to keep my levels topped up. And so recently I’ve started taking regular magnesium baths - once or twice a week - and it’s been a revelation.
Quite why I haven’t done it before I don’t know. It’s such a simple and easy thing to do - and I have noticed a real difference, not only superficially (the salts make my skin softer) but also in terms of general wellbeing. I seem to sleep better, and the shooting muscle pains and afternoon fatigue which often plague me have eased off greatly.
I use the fairly workmanlike Westlab’s Magnesium Flakes (£8.99) , but if you’re in the market for a bit of luxury try Ilapothecary’s Magnesium and Amethyst Deep Relax Bath Soak £40, infused with all sorts of lovely things, from amber to juniper berry, benzoin and petitgrain.
To accompany my new regime I’ve been using Neom’s new Perfect Night's Sleep Magnesium Body Butter, £36.
Rich yet easily absorbed, this supercharged moisturiser works a treat after a bath, sinking into the skin quickly to leave it soft and beautifully fragranced. Also excellent is REN’s Clean Skincare Atlantic Kelp & Magnesium Body Cream, £22 which comes in a recycled ocean plastic bottle
So many natural deodorants don’t work, but Schmidt’s Stick Vegan Deodorant with Charcoal and Magnesium, £11.99 really does.
To Buy For: new launches and iconic favourites
Brilliant quick-as-a-flash no-nonsense skin tint for sunny days.
These large cleansing pads are fantastic because not only are they infused with super-hydrating hyaluronic acid, they are also big (78mm) enough to do a whole face with just one - so they last for ages.
An uplifting, energising and refreshing fragrance perfect for any gender