Updated: Apr 4, 2022
If you are deficient in magnesium, you might be experiencing the following symptoms:
headaches or migraines
insomnia or difficulty staying asleep
high blood pressure or an elevated pulse
tend to get exhausted quickly when exercising
muscle pain or cramps
irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
Magnesium is needed for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Actually, when we're stressed, our body uses up much more magnesium as these enzyme reactions are accelerated.
Deficiencies in magnesium have been linked to diabetes, bone density & osteoporosis, migraines, anxiety disorders, nerve & muscle function, sleeping disorders and cardiovascular disease. Magnesium appears to become depleted by cyclical changes in the female sex hormones during the luteal phase, which explains why it helps prevent feelings of PMS!
A lack of magnesium can impact your:
Blood sugar balance
Digestion and elimination
And so much more
There are some great food sources of magnesium, like cacao, avocados, nuts, seeds and legumes.
However, you would need to eat substantial amounts of these in order to balance a severe magnesium deficiency. Unfortunately, our soils are so depleted today that most foods don't contain as many nutrients anymore. Their nutritional value has actually decreased by 30 to 70%.
Additionally, if your digestive capacity is impaired, the absorption of magnesium from the foods you consume is only about 30% to 40%, so even if you're eating a lot of magnesium-rich foods, you will not even get half of that magnesium.
How to get magnesium through your diet:
Dark leafy greens
Organ meat like liver
Nuts & seeds, especially almonds, cashews, pumpkin & sunflower seeds
Cacao or high cocoa content dark chocolate
Aim for 400 mg of magnesium every day. It takes about 2 cups of spinach or Swiss chard, half a cup of black beans, half an avocado, and 30g of pumpkin seeds to get your daily magnesium needs met.
o what is the option?
You might have tried taking magnesium as a supplement before, but found that it didn't do anything for you?
You should know that there are different forms of magnesium and most supplements contain magnesium oxide or citrate which are the cheapest forms and least beneficial unless you're dealing with constipation. It is important which form of magnesium you are taking and also that you are taking high quality supplements.
What are the different forms of magnesium?
So that a supplement can deliver magnesium to the body in a recognizable form, a molecule of magnesium is attached to a carrier like an amino acid (such as glycine, arginine, taurine). Magnesium may also be attached to an organic acid like citrate.
The different types of magnesium have different benefits:
Magnesium Malate: is great if you are having issues with energy production, chronic fatigue syndrome and/or fibromyalgia as well as chronic pain. This form can be stimulating so it is best to be taken with breakfast in the morning.
Magnesium Biglycinate: is also known as magnesium chelate, magnesium diglycinate, or magnesium glycinate. It may help with PMS, fibrocystic breasts, sleep, anxiety, cravings, pains, and cramps. It is a highly absorbable form of magnesium chelated to two molecules of the amino acid glycine. “Chelated” forms of a mineral mean that an amino acid has been attached to them, making them a very stable form of magnesium that is less likely to cause gastrointestinal symptoms and reduces the laxative effect. This form has a calming effect and is therefore best to take in the evening just before bed.
Magnesium Threonate: is said to be capable of passing the blood brain barrier, has been found to support cognitive function, and improve sleep and anxiety.
Magnesium Chloride: is a form of magnesium for topical use that you find in magnesium sprays or Epsom salt (baths). It's a great way to increase magnesium levels via the skin and bypassing our digestive system – this is especially beneficial for people with IBS (or leaky gut) who suffer from malabsorption of nutrients. By applying it directly on our skin, it's a great form to help with muscle pain and relaxation. It takes about 20 minutes to absorb. (the more it stings, the more you need it ;-).
Magnesium Citrate: is another chelated type of magnesium bound to citric acid. This form of magnesium is about 30% bioavailable and it pulls water into the bowels which is helpful if you are dealing with constipation. This form is recommended during long periods of sitting and dehydration – like when you’re traveling.
Also consider that:
Magnesium requires adequate sodium, potassium and vitamin B6 for it to stay in the cells so these nutrients need to be considered when supplementing.
Never take Magnesium together with Calcium as they will impact each other’s absorption
Magnesium (or any mineral) absorption via food requires adequate levels of stomach acid, so your digestion needs to be working well in order to absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat.