My patients are always asking me for my opinion on the best supplements available. Each week I’m brought in bags of supplements, with a long list of questions to couple with the products.
One nutrient that people often underestimate is magnesium. They don’t often know why it’s important nor what options to take. I regularly recommend magnesium to my patients, so I thought it’d be great to shed some light on this magnificent nutrient!
Why is magnesium important?
As I mention in my book, Your Longevity Blueprint, magnesium is a cofactor for over three hundred enzymes in your body. What does that mean? It means that you need magnesium for protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose and blood pressure regulation, for the development of bone, and even for your heart to function effectively. It’s involved in more ways than you would ever expect! One example is how it’s involved in the production of ATP (aka: energy). Therefore, imbalances in magnesium can lead to problems with energy production.
I’ll expand more on the benefits of magnesium later on in this post!
Why are many of us so low in magnesium?
Since so many of our bodies important pathways need magnesium, unfortunately we can end up low on this valuable nutrient easily. Many individuals consume caffeine daily which depletes magnesium. They may not even realize that eyelid twitching after drinking coffee could be due to its diuretic effects robbing them of magnesium. Alcohol will also deplete this mineral.
Many of us also live fairly high stressed lives, again using up much of our magnesium.
Also, since the 1950s, the nutrient content in our foods has been on the decline. US Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures demonstrate a decline in over forty crops that the agency tracks. For instance, it has been estimated that magnesium content in foods has declined 25 to 80 percent (Ancient Minerals 2015).
The average American intake of magnesium, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES Study) is critically low. Many Americans fail to consume the estimated average requirement (EAR) established by the Institute of Medicine. In addition, more than 57% of the population does not meet the United States Department of Agriculture requirements for magnesium in the diet.
Additionally, many individuals take drugs that deplete magnesium like birth control, diuretics, and reflux medications to name only a few. I’ve had patients in my practice experience heart arrhythmias on reflux medication because their magnesium became so low.
Severe deficiency can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and muscle cramps.
I also find through testing that many of my patients are actually low in magnesium when I run a comprehensive Nutritional evaluation.
Why do I recommend magnesium to my patients?
There are truly so many indications for magnesium use. Again, we live in a high stress society, so I often use magnesium to help relax my patients.
- It can relax the mind in order to sleep.
- It can calm the nerves to reduce anxiety and irritability.
- It can help relax the nerves and blood vessels which can help to lower blood pressure and is excellent for headaches.
- It can help relax your muscles to reduce leg cramps and even menstrual cramps.
- If can help relax the gut to reduce constipation.
- It’s excellent for bone building. Half of your body’s magnesium is found in your bones. Most women with osteoporosis are more magnesium deficient than calcium deficient.
- It can help with calcium absorption not only for bone health but for reducing calcium deposits or calcifications elsewhere in the body like in the joints contributing to bone spurs and arthritis, arteries leading to heart disease, and kidneys forming kidney stones.
- It can help fuel those 300 enzymatic pathways I mentioned including those that produce hormones!
- It helps with converting vitamin D to its active form. If you’ve had challenges improving your vitamin D level despite high dosing, it may be because you are low in magnesium.
What forms of Magnesium exist and what form and dose do you need?
Major food sources of magnesium include: green leafy plants, meats, milk, and nuts. The recommended dosage is 400–800 mg/day. However, this dosage varies depending on your bodies need AND they type of magnesium you take, as you may need less of a magnesium form that is well absorbed or more of a form that is not so easily absorbed. A commonly recommended ratio of magnesium to calcium is 2 to 1, although most women consume less magnesium than that.
Personally, I don’t typically recommend magnesium carbonate or magnesium oxide. These are the cheap, poorly absorbed, rock-salt mineral forms of magnesium. When I think of magnesium oxide I think of chalk or antacids. This is not the type of magnesium that will be well absorbed into your bloodstream. Because they tend to remain in the intestines longer since they aren’t easily absorbed, these forms of mineral supplements can cause intestinal distress like diarrhea.
Better choices are: magnesium citrate, glycinate, malate, and threonate.
- Magnesium citrate: magnesium combined with citric acid. This is the form known in the popular Anti Stress Drink, CALM. Many of my patients enjoy this drink in the evenings. While it can still relax the body many patients end up with diarrhea from it. This is not the form I would prioritize for muscle cramps or bone density. Instead I recommend an amino acid chelate option, described below.
- Magnesium glycinate: highly absorbable amino acid chelate form.
- Magnesium malate: magnesium bound with malic acid. I’ve heard that magnesium malate is less expensive than many amino acid chelate forms like magnesium glycinate, lysinate, or glucarate—but still offers a higher level of bioavailability than oxides and sulfates. DiMagnesium malate also offers the benefits of malic acid, such as the support of cellular energy production (Krebs Cycle) and the chelation of heavy metals such as aluminum.
- Magnesium threonate= has a high level of absorbability/bioavailability. It has been said to have superior absorption getting through the blood brain barrier because it is able to transport magnesium ions across lipid membranes, including those of brain cells. This form may better help to maintain healthy memory.
As I mentioned above: too much of certain types of magnesium, such as oxide and citrate, can cause diarrhea *although sometimes this is the desired effect.
The preferred form for my patients is magnesium glycinate, although threonate maybe more useful for memory and sleep. Personally, our Your Longevity Blueprint = Magnesium Chelated blend helps me sleep just fine!
The best absorbed mineral Forms are Amino Acid Chelates. An “amino acid chelated” product simply means that it is chelated or bound to an amino acid which helps the body facilitate its absorption. In all Your Longevity Blueprint Products we use chelates from Albion Labs. They are the industry leader in manufacturing amino acid chelates. (They have most of the patents on these chelates).
What’s my favorite magnesium product?
For my patients, I carry a calcium/magnesium and potassium/magnesium combo, but my most commonly recommended magnesium product is magnesium chelate.
We have combined multiple highly bioavailable forms that are all therapeutic, trying to keep cost efficient while also taking up little space to keep capsule count down. Magnesium Chelate provides three unique forms of highly-absorbed magnesium to ensure maximum absorption of this important macromineral. Most magnesium supplements use only a single source of magnesium, which can easily overwhelm a single pathway of absorption and limit uptake. Magnesium Chelate takes advantage of three unique pathways of absorption by providing magnesium as di-magnesium malate, magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate for enhanced absorption, improved utilization and gastrointestinal (GI) comfort. Some individuals, who take other forms of magnesium supplements, often experience GI side effects, including gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of these symptoms. The forms of magnesium used in Magnesium Chelate preserve GI comfort while maximizing absorption and restoring magnesium levels in the body.
Read more about magnesium and other important minerals in my book Your Longevity Blurprint!
Have you experienced the magnificence of Magnesium? Give our Magnesium Chelate a try! Imagine a better night’s rest, fewer headaches, resolved cramps, and better overall calm mood!
Wellness is Waiting!