Ever wish that was a thing that really existed?
Guess what?! It does! I mean, basically. Well, you see, I kind of created it. It’s in gummy form, and it’s pretty amazing, and it also helps you sleep, too. For reals.
Also, it’s delicious.
I’ve been on a bit of a gummy kick lately. Last week I was all about the Vitamin C gummies, but then it hit me—why not turn my magnesium supplement into a tasty, chewable gummy with the goodness of gelatin, too?! Magnesium and gelatin are naturally calming nutrients, and when you add in a couple other ingredients and transform them into a sweet gummy that tastes like candy? It’s pretty much magic.
Because these gummies act as a natural calming and anti-anxiety remedy, and even a sleep aid!
How does this calm me down?
Magnesium acts as a natural muscle relaxant and is a powerful antidote to stress. It plays a role in hundreds of physiological functions, many of them having to do with your nervous system. Magnesium regulates overactive nervous impulses—it quite literally calms your nerves!
Magnesium supplementation can even as a natural anti-anxiety remedy. A study in France with patients with generalized anxiety disorder found that a statistically significant number of participants reported improvements on a magnesium supplementation regimen.
And because it stimulates muscle relaxation by mobilizing calcium out of muscle tissue, magnesium allows your body to activate the relaxation response—think, the opposite of the stress response. Your body naturally will want to relax itself to counteract stress, but without enough magnesium, muscles can stay too tense to allow that to happen. With adequate magnesium, the complete release of tension that your muscles need can be effectively enabled.
How does it help you sleep?
Magnesium is highly beneficial for sleep. Not only does it help your body physically relax, it’s vital for the function of your nervous system’s GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter that the brain uses to calm and shut off parts of your brain, which is necessary to enable the relaxation response, as well as sleep itself. Insomnia is actually a common symptom of magnesium deficiency, which makes sense when you understand all that magnesium does for your body.
And of course, homemade gummies provide you with a nice helping of gelatin—which contains highly beneficial amino acids that are very anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, and even act as inhibitory neurotransmitters—much like magnesium, they calm the nervous system. Glycine, the primary amino acid in gelatin, also stimulates the production of GABA, a calming amino acid which promotes restful sleep.
Additionally, these gummies contain natural sugars and salt—both nutrients are critical for hormone management related to sleep cycles. Adequate glucose sends the message to your body that there’s no need for excess stress hormones—so sugar will actually shut them down. When blood sugar gets too low, adrenaline can spike in order to seek out glycogen—a form of stored sugar—in the liver. If the supply of glycogen runs out, the stress response enacts the release of cortisol to help raise blood sugar back up. This process disrupts your sleep and can wake you up in the middle of the night. And high levels of stress hormones at bedtime can keep you from getting to sleep in the first place.
So having a small snack before bed with natural sugars and a little serving of salt (which allows your cells to process glucose effectively) may be just what you need to set yourself up for a good night sleep. Add in the benefits of magnesium and gelatin, and these gummies are pretty much the best homemade sleeping “pill” I could think of! Chew on a few of these and you’ll be in much better shape to have a great night’s sleep, without any of the terrible side effects of sleep meds!
OH—but before we get to the recipe—did you know that I actually used to suffer from insomnia? I wrote a whole book about what I learned to help me overcome it, so that I could share with everyone else.
Right now is your last chance to get The Sleep Solution: End Your Insomnia Naturally before it goes to Kindle! You can get The Sleep Solution PLUS my original ebook, Real Food for Real Life, for just 5 bucks, through the end of the month.
Recipe: Homemade Magnesium Gummies
Makes 3/4 cup’s worth of gummies—for me this was 35 gummies total in this silicone mold.
Note: You can adjust the recipe to have more or less magnesium powder if you’d like. See the information below after the instructions regarding magnesium dosage.
- 3/4 cup juice (I used an organic lemonade, which was really tasty and worked perfectly with the flavor of magnesium I used!)
- 3 T grass-fed kosher gelatin powder (you could just as easily use the porcine variety, if you’d like)
- 5 T magnesium citrate powder (I used this kind, with that specific flavor. Very tasty!)
- 1 T sweetener—organic cane sugar, honey, sucanat, whatever you’d like. (The magnesium powder does have stevia in it, but I recommend adding real sweetener)
- Pinch of sea salt (add in as much as you can stand, really. The more the better. But everyone’s tastes are different due to differences in hormonal balance.)
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Alright, this is just a teensy bit tricky, so please pay attention!
In a medium-large mixing bowl, pour cold (refrigerated) juice, and whisk in the magnesium powder slowly. It will foam up quite a bit—so what I did was whisk in a tablespoon, then gave it a few minutes for the foam to die down. Whisk in another tablespoon, gave it another few minutes, etc., until it was all in there, with minimal foam.
In a small saucepan, pour in the juice/magnesium mixture. Now sprinkle the gelatin powder over the juice mixture in your saucepan, but leave it off the burner. We don’t need any heat yet. Allow it to sit for a couple minutes in order for the gelatin to “bloom”—this is a critical process of the gelatin powder absorbing the liquid. Without proper blooming, you will have a very icky, gritty texture to your gummies, and you will not be able to fully dissolve the gelatin once you heat your mixture. Very important to bloom! After a few minutes, you’ll see the mixture start to gel and form a weird, wrinkly mass. This is good! If there are still any bits of white powder sitting on top of the wrinkles, whisk them in while the mixture is still cold. When there’s no more white powder or visible white clumps, you’re okay to move onto the next step.
Now, you can go ahead and turn on the burner to a low-medium temp. As your mixture heats up, it will begin to liquify. Once it does, add in your sweetener and salt to dissolve. Avoid whisking it too much, or it’ll start to foam up just like it did when you added the magnesium powder. If it does, that’s okay, just let the foam sit for a few minutes and it’ll calm down. Kind of like a glass of beer with a thick foam head. If you’re patient, the foam goes away. And you probably don’t have to rub the oil on your nose and then stick your finger in the foam of your red solo cup like you did in college… I don’t think it works that way. 😉
Alright. Now, get yourself a glass liquid measuring cup with a spout, and pour the liquid gummy mixture into the measuring cup. Scrape the sides of the pan with your spatula to get it all in there. Is it 3/4 of a cup of liquid still? If it is, then it’ll fit exactly into the silicone mold I used, if you want to use that, too. And if it isn’t, that’s probably because some of the liquid evaporated, so you can just add in a little more juice if you’d like.
Set the silicone mold onto a large plate or a cutting board—any kind of hard and portable surface so you can get it into your fridge without spilling, since the silicone is soft. Pour the mixture very slowly and carefully into the silicone mold. If you’re not using a mold, you can pour it into a small baking dish instead, and then you’ll be able to cut out squares after it’s set.
Refrigerate your molds at least a half-hour, or until fully set. Then, carefully peel/wriggle/pop them out of the molds, or slice into squares if poured into a baking pan.
What’s the dosage? How many should I take?
If you use the exact amount of ingredients I did here, and used the same silicone mold which makes 35 gummies, it works out to about 69mg of magnesium per gummy. The RDA for magnesium is 400 mg, but that’s the RDA—which is generally a minimal guideline for the amount of a nutrient you should get to avoid illness. But, you would meet/slightly exceed the RDA if you took 6 gummies per day. I also sometimes take magnesium in the form of magnesium oil spray, epsom salt baths, and of course the magnesium in my diet.
*WARNING* – very important, my friends! Okay, if you’ve never taken any kind of magnesium supplement before, you need to start slow! Certain forms of magnesium, like magnesium citrate which is the powder used in this recipe, have a laxative effect that can be quite pronounced if you take more than your body can handle. So you gotta start slowly! I’d recommend only about one or two gummies per day, then work your way up to three, then four, etc. If you start slamming down tons of these gummies when you’re not used to taking that much magnesium (because they’re just delicious and you can’t stop eating them and you kind of have to eat them to taste-test for a blog post so you wind up downing like an entire batch before you consider that might actually be problematic), you will likely have some unpleasant pooping situations in the near future! (Ask me how I know.) But, go easy on them, introduce more magnesium to your body little by little—and you’ll be totally fine.
Where/how long can they be stored?
Homemade gummies with this much gelatin won’t melt if you stick them into a lunchbox for the day, but I recommend storing them mostly in the refrigerator, in an air-tight container. Foods with a lot of gelatin keep for a surprisingly long time, but you will probably eat all the gummies before they’d go bad, anyway.
Any other questions? Ask in the comments!