Magnesium Supplements: Why You Should Absolutely Be Taking One
Quick…what do muscle cramps, insomnia, high blood pressure, and constipation all have in common? Um, um, they can all be traced back to magnesium deficiencies??? Yes, that’s right! Great job!
Magnesium is a super important mineral that’s involved in everything from energy production to blood pressure regulation to even controlling muscle and nerve function. In fact, every organ in your body, especially your heart, muscles, and kidneys, needs magnesium to function properly. Heck, even the health of your teeth and bones relies heavily on having adequate levels of magnesium. In other words, it’s extremely important.
Unfortunately, magnesium deficiencies are rising at an alarming rate with some estimates claiming that up to 80% of us aren’t taking in enough magnesium each day to keep us healthy. Yikes!
How is this possible?
I actually wondered this myself. I mean, it’s hard to believe sometimes that nutritional deficiencies of this magnitude can still exist. With food of every kind so readily available, and much of it fortified, how is it possible that so many of us are deficient in something so essential?
Well, consider the following:
Most food today is grown in nutrient deficient soil meaning the food we eat today is less nutritious than the same food eaten 100 years ago. This means you can be deficient even if you’re diet consists largely of “magnesium rich” foods.
Certain herbicides used in farming act to block the uptake and utilization of minerals in the body including magnesium.
Excessive and unbalanced calcium intake from foods and supplements can interfere with the absorption of magnesium.
Many commonly consumed foods/substances such as alcohol, sugar, some carbonated beverages, and caffein can interfere with the absorption of magnesium.
Stress, both physical and mental (yes, even the plain old every day someone cuts you off in traffic kind of stress), acts to deplete magnesium levels in the body.
Commonly used medications such as diuretics, heart medications, asthma medications, birth control pills, and/or estrogen replacement therapy can all act to reduce magnesium levels in the body.
See what I mean? It’s crazy the amount of things that can interfere with magnesium levels in the body.
But Jeremy, how do I know if I’m deficient? Great question. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always so obvious.
Magnesium: The ‘Invisible Deficiency’
The thing about magnesium is that you can be deficient in it and not even know it. Even medical experts find accurately diagnosing magnesium deficiencies to be a challenge. This is why it’s often referred to as the ‘invisible deficiency’. However, this doesn’t make it any less dangerous or concerning.
Because magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, the signs and symptoms of a magnesium deficiency can vary. Some common ones include:
• hypertension and cardiovascular disease
• heart palpitations and irregular heartbeats
• tics (such as uncontrollable eye twitching)
• muscle spasms and cramps
• low energy levels
• migraine headaches
• worsened PMS symptoms
• behavioral disorders and mood swings
• irritability and anxiety
• insomnia (trouble sleeping)
• recurrent bacterial or fungal infections
• tooth cavities
• muscle weakness and cramps
• decreased insulin sensitivity (type 2 diabetes)
If you’re shocked and amazed right now don’t worry. I was too when I first learned about all the things low levels of magnesium was associated with. But consider this a good thing. If you suffer from one or more of the symptoms listed above, low magnesium could be the cause.
For more information on magnesium’s relationship to various diseases, I highly recommend Dr. Carolyn Dean’s book titled, The Magnesium Miracle. It’s a fantastic read for anyone interested in learning more about magnesium’s role in our health.
Because they are so hard to identify and diagnose, magnesium deficiencies are best avoided using a proactive approach. This means regularly eating foods high in magnesium such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, and even dark chocolate.
Additionally, taking magnesium supplements can also help to supply your body with adequate levels of magnesium. However, did you know there are many different types of magnesium supplements to choose from?
Magnesium Supplements: Which Is Best And For What
The first thing you’ll notice when looking for magnesium supplements is that there are many different kinds to choose from. This is because magnesium, by itself, is unstable and so needs to be bound to something else. Because the magnesium in each supplement is the same, this ‘something else’ is what you’ll want to pay attention to when purchasing magnesium supplements.
Due to the large variety of magnesium supplements available, it’s best to experiment with each type for a period of time until you find the one that works best for you. Below are some of the more common varieties you’re likely to come across.
Not only is magnesium glycinate one of the more readily absorbed forms of magnesium by the body, it’s also the least likely to have a laxative affect. This makes magnesium glycinate a really great option for those with known magnesium deficiencies.
Also sometimes referred to as ‘milk of magnesia’, this type of magnesium supplement is most commonly used to treat acid reflux and constipation issues. However, because it is very poorly absorbed, magnesium oxide is a poor choice for those looking to raise magnesium levels in the body.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘master magnesium compound’, magnesium chloride has the highest absorption rate of any of the other magnesium supplements. It’s also considered one of the best forms of magnesium to take for detoxification purposes. You can take this form of magnesium orally in pill form, add it to your bath water in a flake form, or in a spray to be applied directly onto your skin.
Because of it’s antiseptic properties, this form of magnesium is often used in mouthwashes and toothpaste. Similar to magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate is readily absorbed by the body. This form of magnesium is often recommended for fatigue specific issues as the malic acid (malate) plays an important role in energy production.
Similar to magnesium oxide, magnesium lactate is commonly used for those with digestive issues. However, it has a higher absorption rate making it a better choice for those looking to raise magnesium levels at the same time.
AKA epsom salt, magnesium sulfate is most commonly used for relieving muscle soreness, pain, and inflammation. It can be taken in a pill form, added to your bath water in salt form, or applied as a cream. For an entire post written on the benefits of epsom salt baths, click here.
*When taken orally, magnesium sulfate acts more as a laxitive helping to relieve occasional constipation issues.
Another magnesium supplement commonly used to treat digestive issues such as upset stomach, heartburn, and constipation. Check it out here.
A readily absorbed form of magnesium that comes in pill and powder form. Magnesium carbonate is a good choice for those simply looking to replenish their magnesium stores.
Combined with taurine, this form of magnesium is often touted as being one of the best for overall heart and cardiovascular health. Many find that taking magnesium taurate on a regular basis helps to lower blood pressure, normalize heart rhythms, and eliminate heart palpitations. Check it out here.
Paired with citric acid, magnesium citrate is good for those looking to regulate bowel cycles as it pulls water into the intestines. It’s also a good option for those looking to maintain healthy levels of magnesium in the body as it’s better absorbed than magnesium oxide. Magnesium citrate comes in pill form.
Need a brain boost? Then magnesium threonate may be your answer. This form of magnesium is thought to support healthy memory, improve cognitive function, and enhance overall alertness.
Which One Should I Take?
As mentioned above, because there are so many different kinds to choose from, it’s best that you take your own individual needs into consideration.
For example, if you suffer from high blood pressure, an irregular heart beat, or even heart palpitations, then you would probably benefit most from magnesium taurate.
If you suffer from constipation or other digestive issues but would also like to increase your magnesium levels, then magnesium lactate would probably be a good place to start.
Need a brain boost? Then I would probably recommend starting with magnesium threonate.
Try experimenting with the different forms until you find one that works best for you.
Have you had success taking a magnesium supplement? Please share your story below!
This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.