It is estimated that 90% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Unfortunately, it is hard to get enough magnesium due to difficulty absorbing the mineral and the lack of Magnesium in our soil. Magnesium is also depleted from our bodies when we are under stress, experience anxiety or have a lack of sleep.
Symptoms of low magnesium:
Symptoms of low magnesium include muscle cramps, eye twitches, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, poor concentration. Causes for low magnesium are drinking dark colored sodas that are high in phosphates that bind magnesium and render the magnesium unavailable. Refined sugar causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys. The process of producing refined sugar from sugar cane removes molasses, stripping the magnesium content from the sugar. Many foods like sugar are "anti-nutrients." They prevent the absorption of nutrients from other foods.
How to increase magnesium levels:
Using magnesium topically (applied to your skin) is the most effective way to boost your magnesium level and ensure absorption, such as using magnesium oil or Epsom salts. Even swimming in the ocean can increase your magnesium levels (the ocean is a great source of magnesium and trace minerals). You can also take a magnesium supplement or increase your intake of magnesium rich foods (green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish). Using a combination of these things can really improve your magnesium levels and improve your symptoms.
Types of Magnesium Supplements:
Magnesium Oxide is simply bonded to oxygen, which is obviously also something your body needs so there is nothing unnecessary in the product. That likely sounds like the best magnesium to take but it is the least absorbed form. However, it has one of the highest percentages of elemental magnesium per dose so it still is fairly effective compared to other forms. This is a great general purpose magnesium. It is a great muscle relaxer, nerve tonic and laxative if you take a high dose (more than 500mg). Consult your doctor before taking magnesium if you have kidney problems.
This is one of the most common forms of Mg sold in pharmacies. This is Magnesium bound to citric acid, which increases the rate of absorption. Citrate is a larger molecule than oxide, so there is less magnesium by weight than in the oxide form. This is the best form of magnesium to use if you need help with constipation.
Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate
In this form, Mg is bonded to the amino acid glycine. Glycine is a large molecule so the dose of magnesium will seem lower but 120mg of this form is equivalent to 250mg of magnesium oxide. The amino acid Glycine is a relaxing neurotransmitter and enhances magnesium’s natural relaxation properties. Glycine also helps heal leaky gut. This could be the best form if you’re using it for mental calm, relaxation or healy a leaky gut.
This is a less common form, and is typically taken for cardiac conditions and heart function. Magnesium helps the heart muscle relax, as well as the blood vessels that feed the heart to open and deliver more blood to the heart tissue itself. Taurine is an amino acid that is known to feed cardiac muscle and enhance the quality of contractions of the heart so if you’re taking Magnesium for heart function this is probably the best form for you. Again, taurine is a larger molecule so there is a lower Magnesium per capsule.
Magnesium Sulphate and Magnesium Chloride
These forms are both typically used topically, although there are some oral preparations as well. Magnesium sulphate is best known as epsom salts. If you’ve taken this internally you know it tastes horrible and has a very strong laxative effect, but when used in a bath or soak it is extremely relaxing to the muscles and can ease aches and pains. Epsom salts baths can also help to lower high blood pressure and reduce stress levels. Magnesium chloride is more common in the lotion, gel and oil preparations that can be used topically for muscle cramps and relaxation.
Magnesium is a cofactor in over 300 processes in your body. Taking prescriptions like diuretics, asthma medications, birth control pills or hormone replacement medications, acid blockers or hydrocortisone can deplete your magnesium levels. If you take more than 2000mg of calcium a day you can deplete your magnesium levels. Magnesium is a safe supplement to take if you have normal kidney function. Talk to your doctor about magnesium testing and supplementation if you have problems with your heart, blood pressure, memory, digestion, hormones, asthma, muscle soreness or cramping.