Magnesium is an essential macro-mineral – meaning we need a lot of it and we cannot survive without it. Every part of our body is dependent on magnesium and other nutrients, like calcium, require magnesium to do their part. Despite all of this, more than half of all Americans are magnesium deficient. This is an issue that could be solved by eating a magnesium-rich diet and/or using magnesium supplements.
In my last post, I explained why magnesium is essential for those suffering from depression. In this post, I list the foods that provide the largest quantities of magnesium per average serving. I’ll end by discussing which magnesium supplements are most effective for those who need more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance).
- Dark leafy greens
- Swiss chard
- collard greens
- turnip greens
- mustard greens
- Brazil nuts
- dark chocolate
- pumpkin seeds
- sesame seeds
- chia seeds
- beans / legumes
- black beans
- garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- yogurt and kefir
- fatty fish
- whole (unrefined) grains
Best Magnesium Supplements Types
The best magnesium supplement type for you will depend on your needs. Different types of magnesium have different health effects. And they also have different levels of bioavailability and side-effects. We will discuss what nutrition experts believe each form of magnesium has to offer.
The most commonly available magnesium supplement. If you buy magnesium from the typical American pharmacy, chances are you are buying magnesium oxide. In addition to increasing your intake of this important mineral, magnesium oxide is useful for treating…
- acid reflux
However, magnesium oxide is not chelated and, therefore, harder to absorb than chelated varieties of magnesium. Even so, magnesium oxide should not be used for treatments that require more than 300mg per day, because of its laxative effect. And, for some, magnesium oxide can cause side-effects.
Possible Magnesium Oxide Side-Effects
- unusual tiredness
- mood swings
- mental changes
These side-effects are merely possibilities. I have used this and other forms of magnesium and never experienced any of the side-effects I listed. However, when comparing nutritional supplements it is always better to know all of the possible pros and cons so that you can decide which product is best for your immediate needs.
“The inferior bioavailability and solubility rate of magnesium oxide is the primary reason why it’s not as effective as the other supplements when it comes to optimizing your magnesium levels. … If you’re looking for a supplement that’s as cheap as magnesium oxide but more effective, then magnesium citrate is something that you may also consider.”1
This form of magnesium is typically used to clean stool from the intestines before surgery or bowel procedures like colonoscopy. It is a strong laxative, so it should be used as a last resort (and sparingly) for treating constipation.
Using Magnesium Citrate
“Read and follow all directions on the product package. If your doctor has directed you to use this product before surgery or a bowel procedure, he or she should tell you how long before the surgery/procedure you should take this product. … Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. Drink a full glass of water (8 ounces or 240 milliliters) after taking this product unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Doing so will help prevent serious side effects (e.g., a loss of too much body water-dehydration).”2
Possible Magnesium Citrate Side-Effects
- abdominal pain
If used too frequently, this form of magnesium may cause loss of normal bowel function.
Magnesium Malate is a combination of the mineral magnesium and malic acid. Together, they provide many health-related benefits. Following, are a some of the better known benefits of magnesium malate:
- Reversing muscle fatigue after exercise
- improving overall muscle performance
- improving mental clarity
- maintaining oral hygiene by stimulating the production of saliva that will reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in your teeth, mouth, and gums
- reducing tiredness and poor energy levels
- possible treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia
- “According to The University Of Maryland Medical Center, a study of 24 people with fibromyalgia suggests that magnesium malate may relieve the pain and tenderness associated with the condition. However, magnesium malate must be taken for at least two months.”3
- However, there are conflicting studies that have suggested that magnesium malate provided no relief at all, and that more research should be done before recommending it for this purpose
- relieves constipation
- very effective for detoxing the body of excess toxic metals
- Magnesium malate can chelate metals, including toxic metals like cadmium, aluminum and lead. It binds these heavy metals and neutralizes them, rendering them harmless
Magnesium Malate vs Aluminum Toxicity
Magnesium malate is particularly efficient at removing unwanted aluminum build-up from the body.
Aluminum Toxicity Dangers
Aluminum can enter the body as a result of using antiperspirant, using cooking utensils, baking powder in baked goods, some vaccines, toothpaste, infant formulas, and cigarette filters can also expose us to excess aluminum.
The results of aluminum exposure are many, but the following are among the better-known health issues caused by aluminum exposure…
- speech problems
- aching muscles
- digestive problems
- sleep problems
- decreased liver function
- increased anxiety levels
- impaired kidney functions
Magnesium glycinate is a popular choice because it’s one of the best-absorbed magnesium supplements and the gentlest on the stomach. For these reasons, magnesium glycinate is often recommended to bariatric surgery patients.
Unlike most other forms of magnesium, magnesium glycinate does not cause side-effects like gastrointestinal distress or loose stools. However, if you want a magnesium supplement that can also act as a stool softener this form may be a pass for you.
Magnesium taurate, a combination of magnesium and taurine. Taurine is a sulfur-containing amino acid, found in most mammalian tissue. Our bodies naturally use taurine to transport magnesium ions throughout the cells and tissues. Magnesium taurate is widely considered the best form of magnesium because of its easy absorption. And taurine itself is also a very necessary to good overall health, particularly in young children.
Food vs Supplements
All things being equal, it is always better to get one’s nutrition from food rather than supplements; but sometimes, for some people, that’s simply not possible. If for any reason your diet is not supplying an adequate amount of magnesium for your health needs supplementing may be the answer.
That being said, you should consult your doctor before taking magnesium. If you have kidney issues, you may not be able to excrete excess magnesium in the body from supplements. Also, magnesium supplements interact with some medications, including antibiotics, so it’s best to seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking prescription medications.
If you have any questions or comments about magnesium foods and supplements, post them below or tweet me on Twitter.
1Mercola, Joseph, MD. “Magnesium Oxide: Is This Supplement Helping or Hurting You?” Mercola, n.d. May 2018
2“Magnesium Citrate”. WebMD, n.d. Web. May 2018
3Hutchins, Michael. “What Are the Benefits of Magnesium Malate?” Livestrong, October 3, 2017. Web. May 2018
Link, Rachael, MS, RD. “Top 10 Magnesium Rich Foods Plus Proven Benefits”. Dr. Axe, n.d. Web. April 2018
Spritzler, Franziska, RD, CDE. “10 Magnesium-Rich Foods That Are Super Healthy”. Healthline, June 18, 2017. Web. April 2018
Group, Edward, DC, NP, DACBN, DABFM. “9 Common Types of Magnesium Explained”. Global Healing Center, January 11, 2017. Web. April 2018
Mercola, Joseph, MD. “Magnesium Oxide: Is This Supplement Helping or Hurting You?” Mercola, n.d. May 2018
Hutchins, Michael. “What Are the Benefits of Magnesium Malate?” Livestrong, October 3, 2017. Web. May 2018
“Magnesium Malate: Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects”. Your Health Remedy, n.d. Web. May 2018
Wu, Brian. “Health Benefits of Magnesium Glycinate”. Medical News Today, January 22, 2017. Web. May 2018
Heffley, James, Ph.D. “To Your Health”. The Austin Chronicle, January 27, 2006. Web. May 2018
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