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  • Writer's pictureLiz Riesen, RD

Should I Take A Magnesium Supplement?

Studies have shown that approximately half of all Americans don’t consume the RDA of magnesium (Mg), which puts them at risk for many diseases. Magnesium plays an important role in nerve transmission and is essential for healthy brain activity. Boosting magnesium stores can have a positive effect in both mood and memory. (1)

Boosting magnesium reserves has a calming effect on the mind, reducing anxiety-related behavior and building stress resistance. (2)

Your body stores around half of its magnesium in the cells of your tissues and organs. The other 49% combines with calcium and is stored in your bones to keep them strong and healthy. This leaves just a small fraction of around 1% of free magnesium in your blood. This is why blood tests are not very helpful for checking magnesium because they don’t show the levels in your cells. 

Depletion of magnesium can be caused by stress, poor digestion or gut health, low stomach acid, food processing, and soil depletion. Medications, alcohol and fluoride can also deplete magnesium stores in the body. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends (2)

Young Adults 19-30 years take 310 mg for women and 400 mg for men

this dose increases after 30 years of age to 320 mg women and 420 mg for men.

Magnesium is an extremely important mineral in the body, responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions. Our main source of magnesium should come from the soil. We receive magnesium through our produce grown in soil, such as: vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds. Unfortunately our soil in the United States has become depleted in minerals, including magnesium. (1)

Types of Magnesium Supplements

  • Magnesium glycinate (or bisglycinate) - Non-Laxative, Calming

  • Magnesium glycerophosphate - energizing, balancing. This form becomes soluble only when it reaches the intestinal tract and, as a result, can be absorbed rather than eliminated as waste

  • Magnesium malate - Energizing, do not take in evening

  • Magnesium citrate - Laxative, Calming, Sleep, best taken at night

  • Magnesium threonate - Crosses Blood Brain Barrier

My Recommendation For Overall Health - Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common causes of sleep issues, leg cramps, anxiety, muscle and emotional tension, heart palpitations, and restless leg syndrome. Great for adrenal support and liver detoxification. All-around magnesium for hormone balance.

My Recommendation For Constipation - Magnesium Citrate

If you struggle with chronic or travel constipation, this form of magnesium is a great option to get going again. Bowel movement is very important in daily detoxification and evacuation of “dirty” hormones. (I bring a bottle with me each time I travel)

Topical Magnesium - For those who do not like to take pills, or do not tolerate supplements well, I recommend a topical magnesium spray. This is also helpful if you experience leg cramping or stomach cramping and can apply directly to the area.

Avoid: Magnesium Oxide – this is a cheap and poorly absorbed form mostly found in low quality supplements.

Other natural forms of magnesium can be Epsom salt (external) or mineral-rich sea salt. 

Epson salts are in this form. Great for external use (such as baths). Internal use can cause severe diarrhea. People with certain genetic variance don't tolerate this form of magnesium very well. (form is magnesium sulphate)

If you do not tolerate sulphur, you can also find magnesium in mineral-rich sea salt. These salts are great for baths also. (form is magnesium chloride)

Whole Food Magnesium Supplement studied for ability to cross blood-brain barrier - Standard Process EZ-Mag. E-Z Mg™ consists of extracts of two key ingredients: organic dried Swiss chard (beet leaf) juice and organic dried buckwheat (aerial parts) juice delivering 85mg of elemental magnesium. The PRAL value in each serving is estimated at -8.9mEq which may help promote urine and whole-body alkalization. Recent findings show our plant-based magnesium exhibits significantly higher levels of ionized magnesium in cerebrospinal fluid after only 14 days after administration.†

Foods Rich in Magnesium (4)

  • dark, leafy greens

  • cacao

  • seaweed

  • sprouted nuts and seeds

  • black beans

  • edamame

  • avocado

  • sprouted, whole grains

Magnesium is involved in protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation, to name a few. Magnesium is also required for energy production and synthesis of DNA. In my practice one of the most impacted nutrients dependent on magnesium is our most widely used antioxidant in the body - glutathione.

Magnesium plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, supporting nerve function, muscle contraction, and heart rhythm.

Testing for Magnesium Levels Morley Robbins Magnesium Advocacy Group is the leading research in magnesium.

Click Here to order your own panel. Create your own account and use code "LD20" for 20% off for a limited time.

The panel above will look at the following nutrients:

  • Calcium, Ionized - (NOT a standard serum test) this test lets you know exactly how much free calcium - the most active form of calcium in your blood

  • Magnesium, RBC - it’s the KEY catalyst for creating “Storage” and “Active” forms of this Hormone

  • QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D - measures the “Storage” form, the precursor to the “Active” form

  • Vitamin D, 1,25-Dihydroxy, LC/MS/MS - this is the active form of Vitamin D

Want to learn more, or receive recommendations specific to you? Reach out today and schedule an initial consult to review your current health status and learn how you can optimize your diet. Schedule an inquiry call

In health and happiness - Liz



4. Magdalena Wszelaki.


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