Magnesium – Why is Mg so important?

What is magnesium and why does my body need it?

Magnesium is a nutrient that is essential to everyone. How much of it we require varies from person to person due to the difference in absorption rate, our age and the amount of stress one can be under. Magnesium deficiency is linked to symptoms such as restless leg syndrome, cramping, muscle tightness, reduced blood pressure and increasing heart function. Magnesium is involved with hundreds of reactions occurring in the body some include gene maintenance, transmission of nerve impulses, food metabolism, synthesis of fatty acids and proteins and protein formation.

Unfortunately, studies have pointed out that approximately 50 percent of people in the western society would get a lot less than the recommended amount of magnesium required. To make things worse there has been a steady decline in the amount of magnesium found from natural sources from our soil due to industrialisation.

In addition to the poor soil, the use of chemicals in our water supply such as chlorine and fluoride also makes magnesium less bioavailable for us. In today’s society there is also an heightened level of stress and use of cortisol which means there is an increased need for magnesium. Deficiency of magnesium may lead to a range of range of symptoms i.e. calcium deficiency, disturbed sleep, weakness in the body, anxiety, high blood sugar, memory decline and confusion and fatigue.

Magnesium source almonds

What is the recommended daily amount of Magnesium?

The recommended daily amounts are as follows:

For men: 400 mg/day for those aged nineteen to thirty years old, increasing to 420 mg/day for those aged thirty-one and above

For women: 310 mg/day, for those aged nineteen to thirty years old, increasing to 320 mg from thirty one and above.


Here are some benefits of magnesium:

Blood sugar balance

Magnesium helps to prevent spikes and crashing occurring in the body by helping manage the insulin levels in the body.


Individual with low levels of magnesium is shown to be more prone to depression. This is because magnesium is essential for proper brain function and mood regulation.


Research has shown that a low-level magnesium diet may alter the types of bacteria present in the gut and this may impact anxiety-based behaviour.

Improves heart health

Low magnesium in your body and diet has been linked to increased risk of heart disease/ Magnesium plays an important role in keeping calcium out of tissues like blood vessels and getting calcium to your bones.


For migraine and headache relief and prevention, it is best to consult with your health professional before taking the supplement as it has been shown that a high dose is needed to provide such effects.


It has been suggested that adequate intake of magnesium in combination of vitamin B6 may help alleviate symptoms of PMS. These symptoms may include bloating, breast tenderness, insomnia, leg swelling and weight gain.

Brain Power

There is research that concluded that higher levels of magnesium in the body leads to a better working memory, a sustained long-term memory and a greater ability to learn. The researcher Dr.Liu stated in his Jan 2010 paper in ‘Neuron’ that “magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of many tissues in the body, including the brain and, in the earlier study, we demonstrated that magnesium promoted synaptic plasticity in cultured brain cells.”

Supports bone health

People with higher amounts of magnesium in their food and supplements have shown to have a higher bone mineral density.

Helps with insomnia

Magnesium prepares your body for sleep by relaxing your muscles. It also calms your nerves by regulating neurotransmitters that tend to keep you awake.

Improves digestion and improves constipation symptoms

Without magnesium, you can’t digest your food as it is involved in most of your digestive processes. This can lead to constipation, which is a common symptoms of magnesium deficiency


Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Magnesium is an essential mineral so signs may be mild at first. Detection of early signs can help prevent more serious problems from occurring later on as magnesium can impact us as individuals in many ways. Below is a list of signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency:

  • Poor sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle cramps
  • High blood pressure
  • Imbalanced Hormones
  • Low energy levels
  • Low levels of vitamin D & K


Magnesium rich food sources

Now it’s always best to course magnesium from natural sources. However, as aforementioned the levels of magnesium in foods are on the decline. Thus, having an increased magnesium rich food is always going to be beneficial. Here are some magnesium rich food you should consider:


  • Spinach magnesium sourceSpinach – 78 mg / cup (raw) or 760 mg / cup (cooked)
  • Almonds – 76mg / 1 ounce (~23 nuts)
  • Bananas – 37 mg / 1 banana (large)
  • Coffee – 1000 mg / cup
  • Seeds – 500-700 mg / 100g (good variety of seeds should include; pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp and flax seed)
  • Dark chocolate – 64 mg / 1 ounce (28g)


How to pick the right form of magnesium?

Different forms will be used with different presenting symptoms, to be effective, it is necessary to become familiar with the many forms.

Here are 9 different forms of magnesium and what they’re used for:

Magnesium supplements

  1. Magnesium citrate

This is a good choice for people that are looking to maintain or increase general magnesium levels in the body and it comes with an additional benefit to help prevent kidney stones. The absorption rate is far greater than magnesium oxide and only has a slight laxative effect. This magnesium has a bioavailability of 90 percent.


  1. Magnesium Chloride

This is one of the most common forms on the market which comes as a topical form, such as magnesium oil or lotion. In its topical form, it can help reduce muscle spasms or cramps and it has been suggested to help with acne, dermatitis and eczema. In its raw form it is useful in helping with sleeping disorders, digestion, improve bone health and increase a sense of calm. However, if too much is taken orally a typical side effect is diarrhoea.


  1. Magnesium glycinate

This magnesium is the best form for addressing conditions such as anxiety, restless legs, insomnia or pain. This form of magnesium is paired with the amino acid glycine. Glycine provides a calming effect on the nervous system and hence conditions involving over stimulation, magnesium glycinate will be the superior choice. This magnesium has a high bioavailability as well.


  1. Magnesium Lactate

This type of magnesium is beneficial for supporting the function of the heart, nervous system and digestive system. When taken in excess side effects may include diarrhoea, bloating or gas and upset stomach.


  1. Magnesium L-threonate

This form of magnesium is superior to the other forms in the sense that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and bring magnesium to the central nervous system. Thus, will improve cognitive function and organisation skills. This magnesium also has a high bioavailability.


  1. Magnesium Malate

Malic acid is an organic compound that is crucial for making energy to drive the kreb’s cycle (a system in the body that produces energy in the body). This form of magnesium is great for sore, aching muscles or in some cases fibromyalgia syndrome.


  1. Magnesium Oxide

This is a very cheap form of magnesium and is more commonly found on the market due to this its price. However, it is poorly absorbed into the body and thus leads to a laxative effect at lower doses. This magnesium has a low bioavailability of 4 percent.


  1. Magnesium Orotate

Orotate acid is reported to have benefits in support of maintaining a healthy heart via helping the increase in RNA and DNA replication in the heart cells. It is also suggested to enhance stamina and athletic performance.


  1. Magnesium Sulfate

This is more commonly known as Epson salts. It is typically not consumed orally. This magnesium is best absorbed through the skin via salt baths.


Post by: Chiropractor Steven Tran