The super mineral magnesium is present in every cell of the human body and involved in over 300 biochemical reactions and bodily functions.
But despite its significance, nearly half of the US population doesn’t meet the daily requirement for magnesium, which can be a precursor to a host of health problems.
In this article, we’ll explore the various magnesium types, benefits, and dosing, so you can determine the supplements best suited for your individual health needs.
Table of Contents
Health Benefits of Magnesium
First, we’ll explore some of the many health benefits of magnesium.
Muscle and Nerve Function
Magnesium is fundamental to neuromuscular conduction and muscular contraction. It helps sustain normal muscle and nerve function, shielding against involuntary muscle contractions and spasms.
Without sufficient magnesium, our muscles would be in a continuous state of contraction. Recent research highlights the vital role of magnesium in these processes.
Magnesium is pivotal in maintaining cardiovascular health. It contributes to the regulation of a normal heart rhythm and blood pressure control. According to various studies, an adequate intake of magnesium may curtail the risk of heart disease.
Magnesium plays an instrumental role in bone health, contributing to bone formation, enhancing the synthesis of the bone matrix, and influencing the bone cells that govern bone homeostasis. A study published in Nutrients emphasizes the significant role of magnesium in bone health.
Emerging research has found correlations between magnesium levels and mental health. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and stress disorders may be linked with lower levels of magnesium. Several studies shed light on the importance of maintaining adequate magnesium levels for mental well-being.
Digestion and Metabolism
Magnesium is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, playing a crucial role in energy production and possibly contributing to weight management. This comprehensive review explains how magnesium is vital for various biological processes, including digestion and metabolism.
Role in Diabetes
Magnesium can improve insulin sensitivity, thereby playing a role in diabetes management. A deficiency can often be observed in individuals with diabetes, as noted in a study in the journal Diabetes Care.
Different Types of Magnesium and Their Specific Benefits
Choosing a magnesium supplement can be confusing as each type has unique benefits, differences in their absorption rate, dosing needs, etc.
Understanding the uniqueness of each type can help you select the most suitable one for your health needs.
Magnesium Citrate Benefits
First on our list is Magnesium Citrate, a type of magnesium that’s known for its positive effects on gut health. It is also well-regarded for its potent laxative effects, which can make it a good choice for those dealing with constipation.
Magnesium Citrate works by attracting water through the tissues by osmosis. Once in the intestine, it can soften the stool and induce the urge to defecate. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition demonstrates its effectiveness and the rapid relief it can bring for those suffering from constipation.
Magnesium Glycinate Benefits
Next is Magnesium Glycinate, a compound of magnesium and the amino acid glycine. This type of magnesium is known for its superior bioavailability, meaning it is highly absorbable and less likely to cause digestive issues such as diarrhea.
Moreover, Magnesium Glycinate is also known for its calming effects on the brain. Glycine works as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, thereby inducing a calming effect. This makes it a great supplement to take in the evening for anyone who suffers from poor sleep.
Numerous studies have found this form of magnesium may help with conditions like insomnia, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.
Magnesium Malate Benefits
Next on our list is Magnesium Malate. This type of magnesium is a combination of magnesium and malic acid. Malic acid is a natural substance found in fruits and vegetables and is particularly abundant in apples.
It’s known for its role in the Krebs Cycle – a series of chemical reactions used by all aerobic organisms to release energy.
Magnesium Oxide Benefits
Although Magnesium Oxide is not as bioavailable as other forms of magnesium, it contains a high amount of elemental magnesium.
Magnesium Oxide can provide short-term relief from constipation, and it shows potential for migraine prevention. Magnesium Oxide’s benefits for migraine sufferers were detailed in a study published in Headache, which found that the daily supplementation of magnesium resulted in a significant decrease in the frequency and severity of migraines.
Magnesium Taurate Benefits
Magnesium Taurate is another type of magnesium, a chelate of magnesium and the amino acid taurine.
Both magnesium and taurine have been found to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. This particular combination may help to prevent arrhythmias and protect the heart against damage from heart attacks.
The cardiovascular benefits of Magnesium Taurate are supported by a study in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.
Magnesium L-Threonate Benefits
Finally, we have Magnesium L-Threonate. This form of magnesium has the unique ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which means it can directly benefit cognitive function.
A study published in Neuron showed that Magnesium L-Threonate improved both short-term and long-term memory in rats, suggesting its potential benefits for cognitive health in humans.
Understanding the different types of magnesium and their specific benefits can guide you in making an informed decision about which magnesium supplement is best suited to your individual health needs.
Once you know the type that’s best for you, then you can find out the dose you need.
Recommended Dosing of Magnesium
Understanding the correct dosage of magnesium is important for optimizing its benefits and avoiding potential adverse effects. The general recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium varies by age and sex.
Most adults, as advised by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), require around 300-400 mg per day. However, specific circumstances such as pregnancy, strenuous exercise, or high-stress conditions might necessitate different dosing recommendations.
For individual types of magnesium, the dosage often depends on the specific condition being targeted, and the bioavailability of the particular form of magnesium.
Here are some general guidelines by magnesium type:
Magnesium Citrate Dosing
Magnesium Citrate is typically used for its laxative effects. For constipation relief, adults can take a dose of 240-480 mg of magnesium citrate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It’s best to start with a lower dose and adjust based on the response.
Magnesium Glycinate Dosing
Due to its high bioavailability and calming properties, the dosage for Magnesium Glycinate can vary. For general health and stress relief, a dosage of around 250-400 mg per day is often recommended.
Magnesium Malate Dosing
The dosage of Magnesium Malate recommended can differ depending on the purpose. For fibromyalgia patients, a higher dose may be needed, often around 500-700 mg per day. For general use, a lower dose of approximately 200-400 mg per day may be sufficient.
Magnesium Oxide Dosing
Magnesium Oxide is often recommended in higher doses due to its lower bioavailability. For general health, around 400-500 mg per day is often suggested. For the treatment of migraines, the dose may be increased to around 600 mg per day, as per the American Migraine Foundation.
Magnesium Taurate Dosing
Given its cardiovascular benefits, the dosage of Magnesium Taurate is typically aligned with general health recommendations, around 300-400 mg per day.
Magnesium L-Threonate Dosing
Due to its unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, Magnesium L-Threonate often has specific dosing recommendations. For cognitive benefits, research such as the study published in Neuron suggests a daily dose of around 1,000-2,000 mg.
It’s important to understand that these dosage guidelines are generalized. Individual needs may vary greatly depending on a variety of factors including diet, overall health status, and specific health concerns.
Therefore, it’s always recommended to consult a healthcare provider before starting or adjusting any supplement regimen, including magnesium.
Signs of Magnesium Deficiency and Overdosing
Magnesium deficiency may include symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, and weakness. In severe cases, it can lead to numbness, muscle cramps, seizures, personality changes, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Conversely, while it is less common, magnesium toxicity can also occur, especially from excessive supplementation. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramping, and in extreme cases, irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest. Therefore, it’s important to adhere to the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare provider if you’re experiencing any issues.
Foods High in Magnesium
In addition to taking supplements, incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your daily diet is another easy way to meet your magnesium needs. Foods high in magnesium encompass a wide range of options across food groups. Here are some high quality food sources of magnesium:
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, Swiss chard, and kale are all good sources of magnesium. Add some to a salad, smoothie, or as a cooked side dish.
- Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds are also high in magnesium. Adding a handful of these to your diet can significantly contribute to your daily magnesium intake.
- Legumes: Foods like lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and pinto beans are high in magnesium and offer an array of other essential nutrients like fiber, protein, and iron.
- Whole Grains: Grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats are rich in magnesium. Whole grain bread and pasta can also contribute to your daily magnesium requirements.
- Fish: Certain types of fish, particularly mackerel, salmon, and halibut, are good sources of magnesium.
- Avocados: Besides being a great source of healthy fats, avocados are also high in magnesium.
- Bananas: While known for their potassium content, bananas also provide a decent amount of magnesium.
- Dark Chocolate: Great news for chocolate lovers … dark chocolate is rich in magnesium along with being packed with antioxidants. Just watch the sugar intake.
- Tofu: Often a staple in vegan diets, tofu is also a good source of magnesium.
- Dairy Products: Milk, yogurt, and cheese, particularly hard cheeses, can contribute to your daily magnesium intake.
Given its critical role in the body, it’s clear that maintaining optimal levels of magnesium is essential for good health.
While the right diet can provide ample magnesium, supplementation may sometimes be necessary, particularly for those with specific health conditions or dietary restrictions.
Personally, I use magnesium glycinate to help with anxiety and mood. I find that it helps calm my mind and I sleep better when I take it at night.
It’s up to you to figure out which type of magnesium is best for your specific health needs.