20 Reasons Why Magnesium Needs to be in your Vitamin Cabinet

Updated February 8, 2024

Magnesium is extremely important. It is probably one of the most helpful vitamins we have. The reason is that magnesium is used in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. It is incredibly important for so many different processes in the body.

Health Canada estimates that more than 34% of Canadians above the age of 19 consume magnesium below the Estimated Average Requirements (EAR).

Here is a list of reasons why you should consider keeping magnesium in your vitamin cabinet at home.

Magnesium:

  1. Helps relieve PMS symptoms such as headaches and mood swings
  2. Helps to treat constipation
  3. Relaxes muscles, relieving muscle cramps
  4. May increase progesterone
  5. Reduces Insulin resistance
  6. Reduces inflammation
  7. Calms the nervous system and can help to reduce anxiety
  8. Reduces restless leg syndrome
  9. Helps with promoting restful sleep
  10. Can help to regulate cycles
  11. Helps to lower blood pressure
  12. Helps with period cramps
  13. May help increase exercise performance
  14. Combats depression – low levels can result in a risk of depression
  15. Improve bone mass in menopause
  16. Can help with asthma symptoms
  17. Can help with concussion support
  18. Helps with increasing energy
  19. Converts Vitamin D to its active form in the body
  20. May help to support Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue

How does magnesium help insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes? 

Individuals with type 2 diabetes are deficient in magnesium due to an increased loss via urine and lower intake via the diet. Supplementing with magnesium can help the insulin receptors therefore improving insulin sensitivity and resulting in lowered blood sugar.

Who can benefit from magnesium supplementation?

It is best to use clinical signs and symptoms to determine if you need magnesium. Therefore, it is best to speak to a skilled practitioner who can identify if you are deficient in magnesium.

Magnesium can be beneficial:

  • If you have a diet low in vegetables
  • If you are on drugs that deplete magnesium
  • If you experience muscle cramps and twitching
  • If you experience chronic headaches/migraines
  • If you suffer from chronic conditions such as – diabetes, heart disease, asthma, depression, insomnia, pain, fibromyalgia etc.

How can you test for magnesium levels in the body?

There is no standardized test for measuring magnesium in the body. Serum levels of magnesium are not sensitive enough to capture all of the magnesium levels inside various areas of the body such as red blood cells, muscle cells etc. Some suggest using RBC magnesium to test for magnesium levels, however, only 1% of magnesium is stored in the bloodstream.

Food sources with high levels of Magnesium 

  • Nuts, especially brazil nuts and almonds
  • Seeds, especially pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds
    • In 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, you will get approximately 317 mg of magnesium!
  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and swish chard

What causes magnesium deficiency? 

  • Stress
  • Lack of magnesium in the soil due to farming techniques
  • Poor diet
  • Poor absorption if you have Celiac disease, gut inflammation
  • Medications can cause deficiencies

What are the different types of Magnesium? 

  • Magnesium Bisglycinate – this type of magnesium has good bioavailability, doesn’t cause loose stools, and is commonly used for anxiety, muscle tension and headaches.
  • Magnesium threonate – this type has good bioavailability and has been shown to cross into the brain, therefore used for memory, focus and brain injuries. 
  • Magnesium malate – this type also has good bioavailability and has been used for energy production inside the cell therefore it is used for muscle pain and fibromyalgia.
  • Magnesium Citrate/Lactate/Gluconate – this type of magnesium has good bioavailability and is often used for constipation.
  • Magnesium Oxide/Carbonate/Chloride/Hydroxide – these are inorganic salts of magnesium, they are inexpensive and have rapid absorption and are useful as a laxative. However, these forms have poor oral bioavailability making them least optimal as a supplement even though they are commonly used in studies.

Which drugs deplete magnesium in the body?

  • Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
  • Diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Antibiotics

What is the typical dosing of Magnesium?

Between 150-300mg. The recommended daily requirement for adults is about 300mg.

What is the best time to take magnesium?

Magnesium can be taken at any time of the day. However, if it is being used for sleep, it is best to take it before bedtime. Some suggest taking magnesium with a meal to prevent any digestive upset. The key is to be consistent and take it daily at the best time that works for you and your schedule.

Are there any side effects of taking Magnesium?

Magnesium can cause loose stools, bloating, diarrhea, upset stomach, and nausea. If this occurs talk to your Doctor – the dosing might need to be adjusted or the type of magnesium, or it should be taken with food.

Key Points:

  • Many individuals are deficient in magnesium. Although there isn’t an accurate blood test for identifying deficiency in the body, using clinical signs and symptoms we can determine if magnesium would be helpful.
  • The best bioavailable magnesium is in the citrate and bis-glycinate forms with typical dosing at about 300mg daily.

Check out this list of magnesium supplements. Please always speak to your healthcare provider before taking any magnesium supplements

References: 

[1] Canada, Health. “Do Canadian Adults Meet Their Nutrient Requirements Through Food Intake Alone? – Canada.Ca”. Canada.Ca, 2020, https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-nutrition-surveillance/health-nutrition-surveys/canadian-community-health-survey-cchs/canadian-adults-meet-their-nutrient-requirements-through-food-intake-alone-health-canada-2012.html.

[2] Hrkal, ND, Dr. Paul. The Truth About Magnesium. Advanced Orthomolecular Research, 2017, https://aor.ca/magazine_issue/the-truth-about-magnesium/. Accessed 24 July 2020.

[3] “Office Of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium”. Ods.Od.Nih.Gov, 2020, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#:~:text=Magnesium%20is%20a%20cofactor%20in,%2C%20oxidative%20phosphorylation%2C%20and%20glycolysis

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