Magnesium is a key player in over 300 biochemical functions in the human body, including supporting our ATP molecule (adenosine triphosphate) to make the energy our body needs. Actually, ATP cannot function with magnesium.
Yes, I love this mineral! A fact all my clients know…since I tend to recommend it all the time.
Magnesium also plays a crucial role in building and maintaining healthy bones, proper nerve function, and muscle rhythm and contractions, including the heart muscle and digestive organs.
We need magnesium for our cognitive function (brain health) and our reproductive function (hormonal health).
Ok…we know it is important…but can’t we get it from food?
Yes and no. Nutritional studies show that magnesium may be found in many healthy foods, including almonds, spinach and avocados, however….
according to reports published by the NIH (National Institute of Health), the US population that was tested was severely deficient in this crucial mineral(1).
Why are so many deficient in magnesium?
Well we can look at the culprits that deplete magnesium in our body, namely alcohol, most all pharmaceuticals, including birth control pills, highly processed food, and caffeine, this may give us some clues. However, studies on soil have also shown a lack of magnesium…meaning even the food we eat may start off depleted in magnesium.
We also know that intestinal problems, such as leaky gut, microbial infections, and inflammation from food allergies, will all interfere with magnesium absorption in our body.
So it appears that the majority of the population will struggle to both consume and absorb appropriate amounts of magnesium.
How about supplementing with magnesium?
Now, simply adding a magnesium supplement can add more confusion to the situation…since there are multiple forms of magnesium available…and they all have a different affect on our bodies.
Therefore I wanted to briefly break down the seven different forms that are commonly found in supplements into simple, digestible information—
1. Magnesium glycinate
The Stress Reliever!
While magnesium in its many different forms has been shown to naturally support muscle relaxation, magnesium glycinate takes it up a notch, since the amino acid glycine is known for the calming impact it can have on the mind and body.
Additionally, it has optimum bioavailability and, unlike the other forms, it does not have laxative properties.
2. Magnesium citrate
The Bowel Regulator!
This form of magnesium salt is derived from citric acid or citrus acid. With it’s excellent bioavailability, it is one of the most highly recommended magnesium supplements by health professionals. Often used to naturally support digestion, in particular to alleviate constipation and acid indigestion. However, it may lead to dehydration, and the imbalance of other minerals with it’s laxative affect.
3. Magnesium chloride
The Sleep Enhancer!
Perhaps the most popular magnesium supplement on the market, this form encourages sleep, digestion, bone and teeth health and a sense of calm, both mental and physical. It is sourced from brine or ocean water, and is argued to be the strongest form of magnesium. That being said, supplementing with this form of magnesium may cause diarrhea.
4. Magnesium orotate
The Performance Enhancer!
Those searching for supplements that may organically encourage heart health might give this type a try. With its inclusion of orotic acid (formerly known as B13), it’s also a favorite among athletes, given that it may naturally support the repair of tissues, as well as enhanced stamina and performance.† This is partly reflected in its price tag: Magnesium orotate often comes with a heftier fee than, say, magnesium oxide or citrate.
5. Magnesium L-threonate
The Master Mind!
This form of magnesium is coined the “breakthrough” supplement to improve memory and cognitive function. Studies by the NIH have shown it is particularly affective for “short term memory loss caused by chronic pain.” It also may slow down aging of the brain.
In one Japanese scientific study, where they followed more than 1,000 Japanese people over the age of 60 for 17 years, those who consumed more than 200 mg per day were 37% less likely to develop any type of dementia.
6. Magnesium sulfate
Ahhh….the relaxing Epsom salt bath. Magnesium sulfate is otherwise known as Epsom salts, are used to relax sore muscles and calm the nerves. It also has some detoxing affects, through producing sweat and moving the bowels. Soaking in magnesium sulfate in the evening may improve sleep patterns.
7. Magnesium oxide
The Garbage Disposal…
With the lowest levels of bioavailability compared to the other magnesium forms, (it scores only 4%, while others, such as magnesium citrate has a bioavailability of around 90%) this magnesium is found in over the counter products such as Milk of Magnesia. With it’s strong laxative affects and low absorption, it runs through you too fast to have any benefit.
Yes, I Do Suggest…
In my practice, I focus on digestive health, fertility/hormonal balance, and stress regulation.
There is growing evidence that magnesium deficiency has been linked to infertility(2), irritable bowel disease(3) and anxiety(4). It is also proven to be associated with cardiovascular disease(5) and chronic fatigue(6)
I believe once you weigh out the evidence of magnesium’s depletion in our body and our food, against its critical role in our health…it is kind of a no brainer to supplement. Why not?
I would suggest you choose the right magnesium to fit your needs to help nourish your brain, nervous system, muscles & bones, and those tiny energy cells (ATP) so you can finally recharge your batteries.
(1) Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated?
(2) Serum magnesium and calcium levels in infertile women during a cycle of reproductive assistance
(3) Micronutrient deficiencies in inflammatory bowel disease: trivial or crucial?
(4) The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review
(5) Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis
(6) Red blood cell magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome