Magnesium is an important mineral for the human body and is cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic processes. Getting enough magnesium is fundamental to maintaining optimum health and energy.
Some of the key processes which involve magnesium include:
- muscle function
- energy (ATP) production
- nervous system function
- heart function
- DNA synthesis
- insulin metabolism
- regulating blood pressure
Some people may experience muscle cramps, insomnia or even heart arrhythmias when they don’t get enough magnesium. Low levels of magnesium have also been linked with a number of serious diseases including heart disease, diabetes (because of its role in metabolising insulin), depression, alzheimer's and a range of neurological diseases .
How much magnesium do I need?
We always recommend an individual approach to supplementation because your overall health, diet and sleep routine will determine the best type of magnesium for your body. Public health recommendations are for 270gm for women and 300mg for men. However due to issues with absorption you may have a functional requirement for more.
What are some magnesium-rich foods?
Our favourite sources of magnesium are leafy greens (especially spinach and chard), pumpkin seeds, avocados and dark chocolate. You can also get magnesium from bananas, figs, yogurt and grass-fed meats.
5 favourite magnesium-rich foods:
SPINACH One cup of cooked spinach contains 157mg magnesium
CHARD One cup of cooked chard contains 150mg magnesium
PUMPKIN SEEDS Small handful (10gm) contains 28mg
DARK CHOCOLATE 3 squares (30gm) of dark chocolate 70-85% cacao solids contains 68mg magnesium
AVOCADOS half an avocado (approx 100gm) contains 29mg magnesium
(Source USDA - National Nutrient Database)
Am I deficient in magnesium?
Although magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, monocropping and soil depletion have reduced our natural uptake of minerals from the foods we eat. In the past we would also have absorbed good levels of magnesium from drinking spring water, however public water often contains chlorine and fluoride which may inhibit absorption (we have written more about water quality here).
It is difficult to test for magnesium deficiency because 99% of the magnesium in the body is found in the bones and cells rather than in the blood.This means that running blood work may provide false sense of security, serum levels may be healthy but you may be deficient at a cellular level. For this reason, many functional health practitioners recommend magnesium as the one supplement that everyone should take.
What are the different types of magnesium?
The absorption and bioavailability of magnesium is different for each type of magnesium. The most highly beneficial forms include:
Magnesium Malate for energy - This is a highly bioavailable form of magnesium which is great to take in the morning because the malic acid supports energy production (malate is a substrate in the cellular energy cycle).
Magnesium Taurinate for heart health - Known for supporting optimum cardiovascular health and may help with lowering blood pressure.
Magnesium Orotate for heart and nervous system function - To support heart health and nervous system function.
Magnesium Threonate for learning and memory - Emerging research shows this form of magnesium may help with cognitive function and brain health.
Magnesium Sulfate for relaxation - Also known as Epsom salts, which are known to ease muscle pain, replenish magnesium levels and aid relaxation. We recommend Local Remedy 100% Pure Epsom Salt as a high grade magnesium sulfate.
Magnesium Glycinate for sleep - One of the most bioavailable forms, magnesium is bound to glycine, an amino acid with calming properties that helps you sleep.
Magnesium Chloride - This form is known to be effective topically for better absorption. We recommend Ancient Minerals Magnesium Mineral Spray.
Which magnesium supplement is best for you?
For morning supplementation we prefer Wake Up Maggie which combines magnesium malate with magnesium taurinate and magnesium orotate along with boron, an important cofactor. In the evening we recommend Good Night Maggie as a good source of magnesium glycinate and magnesium oxide to provide restful sleep. Another option is Mag-Tech which combines Magnesium Threonate, Taurinate and Glycinate which aims to provide magnesium to the brain to enhance cognition, memory and improve sleep.
You may like to build up gradually when it comes to magnesium supplementation. For some people higher doses can cause loose stools which may also have an effect on absorption.
 The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare
 Magnesium in the CNS: recent advances and developments
 Chronic magnesium deficiency and human disease; time for reappraisal?
 Complementary vascular-protective actions of magnesium and taurine: a rationale for magnesium taurate
 Meta-analysis of clinical trials of cardiovascular effects of magnesium orotate
 Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders