Magnesium - the basics
Magnesium is an essential mineral for optimal health. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.
It is used as a cofactor for many reactions in the body such as energy production, muscle relaxation, reducing blood pressure and producing hormones such as serotonin and melatonin.
Over the years our regular intake of magnesium has declined due to food processing, inadequate dietary intake and magnesium depletion in soils which flows on to alter the content in whole foods sources.
Our current recommended dietary intake is:
Women: 320mg/ day
Magnesium rich foods* :
Pumpkin seeds (roasted, 30g) = 156mg
Chia seeds (30g) = 111mg
Brazil nuts (30g) = 106mg
Spinach (1 cup cooked)- 157mg
Almonds (roasted, 30g) = 80mg
Cashews (roasted, 30g) = 74mg
Banana (medium size, 130g) = 32mg
Kale (raw, 1 cup) = 31mg
Cacao (teaspoon, 5g) = 27mg
Avocado (1/2 cup) = 22mg
Many people do not eat enough magnesium rich foods and may have signs of a magnesium deficiency. Many need to supplement to ensure that they are meeting an adequate intake for their optimal health.
Supplemental magnesium is available in many forms and the efficacy of your supplement is largely dependent on the bioavailability which varies according to the salt attached to it.
Magnesium oxide is very poorly absorbed and is associated with attracting water in the large intestine which can lead to diarrhea and increased gastrointestinal distress. It is not a good choice if you are considering it to increase your magnesium levels.
Magnesium stearate is used in many medications and supplements as an agent to stop the ingredients sticking together. It is also used to delay breakdown and absorption of medication so they can be absorbed at the best site of absorption in the small intestines. Whilst it is safe to consume in small doses consuming too much will draw more water into the bowel and have a laxative effect.
Magnesium citrate: is considered to be well absorbed and may be helpful for constipation due to its more gentler osmotic effect in the large intestine.
Magnesium bisglycinate: is highly bioavailable and less likely to cause any signs of gastro intestinal distress and may also improve sleep quality.
Magnesium L-threonate: exerts its effect on brain health and maybe useful in assisting with conditions such as anxiety and depression and may also improve learning and memory
As you can see there are many different forms of magnesium and each one has a unique bioavailability and effect. It is important to note that supplementing with magnesium can potentially interact with your prescribed medications so before considering a supplement please consult your health professional.
* this is not an exhaustive list just some examples