Pros: Works very well, does de-stress, helps with sleep and blood sugar
Cons: A bit expensive but lasts a long time at the lower doses.
A few years ago I suspected I was low in magnesium. I purchased an 8 oz tube-like container of Peter Gillham's Natural Vitality Natural Calm in the Lemon flavor. I bought it because I can't swallow pills am always looking for liquid, chewable or powdered forms of everything I have to take, even vitamins. CALM was also highly recommended by the woman who owned the vitamin store I shopped at and I knew she was studying to be a Naturopathic Doctor.
CALM, "a relaxing magnesium supplement", has a long shelf life (in my case it expires Dec of 08 when I probably bought it in early spring of 06)and I can't say I used it very regularly.
However, I'll be using it regularly now and will be trying new flavors. Three days ago I was having trouble sleeping and I was feeling very tense. When I have trouble sleeping I drink Sleepy Time tea or another chamomile tea and take Calm. This time I didn't drink tea but took 1 teaspoon of calm in a tea cup with boiling water. It worked as I knew it would. I got up 2 times during the night when I had been getting up 5 times. I'm a diabetic and what I also noticed was that when I took my morning blood sugar, my reading was about 40 points lower than usual.
I've had trouble taking oral diabetic medication. I am not advising anyone to do what I did but I do want to tell you what happened. I took Calm again,the next day and got up only once that night and noticed again that my blood sugar was still down at least 40 points when I did my morning blood sugar reading. The same thing happened this morning.
I'd read that magnesium helps prevent diabetes and helps convert blood sugar to energy. I knew that magnesium especially when taken with calcium has a calming effect. That calming effect was what I was looking for when I began taking CALM again before sleep but I didn't expect the startling effect on my blood sugar as well.
Here is information on the product.
CALM contains magnesium citrate, stevia and natural lemon flavor. The serving size is 3 teaspoons which equals 615 mg of Magnesium which is 150% the daily value.
The bottle suggests starting with 1 teaspoon (or less) daily and gradually building to 3 teaspoons if needed. I really agree with this recommendation and have never done more than 2 teaspoons in all the time I've taken it. When your bowel's are comfortably loose you have found your optimal amount.
What I assume from this is that the amount you can take may depend on the amount of magnesium you already have in your body. Magnesium is found in foods like whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes and other beans, dark leafy vegetables, shellfish, figs, some citrus like lemons and grapefruit, yellow corn, apples, tofu, wild rice, wheat germ, bean sprouts, spinach, milk, cheddar cheese, American cheese, chicken, beef, and pork. See the petergillham site for more information.
The main side effect of having too much magnesium is diarrhea. I had been having slight muscle twitches for about 6 weeks and was irritable and tense which can be symptoms of low magnesium.
Although the CALM package says you can take CALM anytime during the day and without food, I've heard that it's best to take magnesium with a meal for best absorption. I take it in the evenings and not necessarily with food although I think that's a good idea.
To prepare, you place the powder in a glass, mug, cup or other container and add about 1 oz of hot or boiling water. CALM will definitely fizz like crazy, that's why you use so little liquid as it will fizz over the top of a small container if you use too much water. After fizzing it settles down. After it's settles stir it until it's completely dissolved and put more warm water in the container then drink it like hot tea.
The lemon flavor is alright. It tastes like a hot lemony slightly bitter water. It's like taking an Alka Seltzer with better flavor, although I have to say I haven't had an Alka Seltzer in 30 years so its flavor may have improved. I don't add a lot of additional water but take sips of cold water as I drink the CALM from a tea cup. It's easy for me to drink because I know I'm going to feel better later. And now I'm even more motivated because I'm watching the effect on my blood sugars.
A word of caution. Do take your time finding your optimal level. You can start with less then a teaspoon. Although CALM has never upset my stomach I have taken too much and had the side effect. If you take too much magnesium and get diarrhea, it may come on fast and can be very uncomfortable so try this at home when you first start finding your level. This is nothing to mess around with. I thought I had flu but had no other symptoms so realized that about 1 1/4 teaspoon was too much for me. I can take 1 teaspoon comfortably which saves me money as that dose makes the CALM last longer. Start slow and gradually add more CALM or take small amounts more than once a day until your body tells you it's reached it's optimal level. If you have a doctor who will work with you, you might want to see how your magnesium levels are before you purchase this product. It costs around $25.00
2/25 This is an update, one day after I wrote this review. I didn't take the magnesium yesterday and my morning blood sugar was up by 40-60 points. Isn't that interesting. I'm taking CALM today.
2/26 I took the CALM last night and my blood sugar is about 60 points lower this morning.
I am not recommending this based on my results with my blood sugar. I know from prior experience that CALM helps with lowering tension. Large quantities of macadamia nuts do the same thing and they're full of magnesium. The blood sugar lowering is very subjective but important information for diabetics and pre diabetics and probably hypoglycemics.