Why Do I Need It? 

We have approximately 25g of magnesium in our bodies, or at least we should. The great majority of the mineral, around 60% of it, is concentrated in bone and teeth. The rest is mostly found in muscle (only a small fraction is found in plasma). Magnesium’s plays many roles some of which we are just starting to understand. It is a mineral needed to jumpstart the production of energy. The potent liver antioxidant, glutathione cannot be made without sufficient magnesium. 

We are just beginning to understand magnesium’s role in the prevention of type II diabetes. Magnesium deficiency has been shown in individuals with poor glucose tolerance. Up to 38% of diabetic patients test low on plasma magnesium levels. Type II diabetics given a 2.5g of a magnesium solution improved their insulin sensitivity significantly.

Magnesium and calcium work synergistically to allow a healthy heartbeat and an efficient skeletal muscle contraction. Magnesium is an important mineral for bone health. It helps direct calcium towards bone and teeth, away from soft tissues. It is also needed to make the active form of vitamin D. 

Magnesium has the rare, and much valued, characteristic of calming the nervous system by stimulating the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system. Magnesium is being studied for its potential pharmacological properties. So far it has shown to improve sleep, establish a better inflammatory response, lower blood pressure. It is certain to be a key player in preventing heart disease and hypertension in a very new future.

Where to Get It? 

Depending on the mineral quality of the soil they were grown on, we can list green leafy vegetables, nuts and seed and unrefined grains as high sources of magnesium. Magnesium is the third most abundant mineral in the ocean. This allows Kelp to have a whopping 760mg in an 100g serving. Grains such as millet have somewhere in the vicinity of 162g of magnesium in an equal serving. Almonds and cashews weigh in at around 260- ‐270mg. Yet another way to incorporate magnesium, as well as many trace minerals is to consume unrefined sea salt. 

Am I Deficient? 

Given the abundance of ways magnesium can be stripped away from our diet, it is surprising we get much of it all. Magnesium is among many minerals depleted from modern day soils. Food processing will deplete any magnesium naturally occurring in plant or seeds. Removing the bran to produce flour, roasting nuts and seeds in their oils to enhance their flavour are all practices that deplete these foods of magnesium. 

The phosphates in carbonated drinks, supplemental iron and calcium can reduce the absorption and increase the need for dietary magnesium. Magnesium losses from sweat are significant as well. Exercising heavily in hot weather or any other condition that will increase sweat rate (menopause for example) can lead to anxiety, sleep disorders and body aches, all of which can be attributed to low magnesium levels. 

Should I Supplement? 

Oral magnesium supplementation of up to 400mg a day has been deemed safe and effective to prevent deficiencies.

Which Supplement to Choose? 

There are several kinds of oral magnesium supplements. Magnesium malate and magnesium citrate as well those available, as organic salt chelates are all well absorbed forms. The powdered versions allow each individual to select a dosage that is right for them. Magnesium can be absorbed quite well through the skin, although it is flushed away in urine just as effectively. Bathing in magnesium sulphate, what are called epsom salts, is a common practice used to alleviate muscle pains, but it also happens to be a great magnesium delivery method and potent form of detoxification. Transdermal magnesium creams are also quite popular, safe and effective. 

Is There Risk for Toxicity? 

Even if supplementation is rendered safe it is always best to consult with your physician. People with diseased kidneys, pathologically low heart rate or unhealthy bowels should avoid supplementing with magnesium. For everyone else, the most extreme and worrisome side effects of supplementation are constant trips to the bathroom (loose stools). 

RDA: 400mg 

Source: Dr Paul Cribb – Metabolic Precision