…and which form should you take?

Written by our Warwick Naturopath Lydia

Magnesium is an essential nutrient in the human body, we can not make it ourselves and must get it from either food or supplements. Magnesium deficiency is very common and it is easy to become depleted. Magnesium is used in over 300 body functions every day. Some of these include: energy production, muscle contraction and function, blood sugar regulation and nervous system function. During times of stress the body has an increased need for magnesium. Over time the increased cortisol level from long term and/or high stress creates a magnesium deficiency.

Common signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency: poor muscle recovery after exercise, cramps, fatigue, mood and personality changes, poor concentration, blood sugar dysregulation (type 2 diabetes & insulin resistance), headaches and migraines and hormonal imbalances just to name a few.

It is important for everyone to include magnesium rich foods in their diets each day. Magnesium rich foods include:

  • Green leafy veggies – spinach, silverbeet, bok choy, kale and chard
  • Nuts and Seeds – raw almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts
  • Eggs
  • Whole grains – wheat, rye, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice
  • Cacao and dark chocolate – preferably raw and sugar free
  • Molasses, figs and bananas.

There are 25 forms of magnesium and there are several factors to consider when choosing a magnesium supplement.

Effective Supplemental forms of Magnesium are:

  • Magnesium Chelate. (Magnesium bound to an amino acid) The absorption of this form is excellent.
  • Magnesium Citrate. (Magnesium bound to citric acid) This form has excellent oral absorption and less dependant of the digestive system for absorption.
  • Magnesium Diglycinate. (Magnesium bound to glycine). Easily absorbed.
  • Magnesium Orotate. (Magnesium bound to orotic acid). Absorption is excellent. This form is particularly good for cardiovascular health and exercise tolerance.
  • Magnesium Phosphate. (Magnesium bound to phosphorus) The oral absorption is regarded as good.

When looking at magnesium supplements you will often find many forms of magnesium together within a supplement. For example: Magnesium citrate and Magnesium orotate together or Magnesium glycinate, Magnesium citrate and Magnesium chelate. The reason for this is because in nature (food sources) you rarely find a form of magnesium on its own. They work better when mixed together.

When buying a magnesium supplement you certainly get what you pay for. If you choose a cheaper supplement it will usually contain Magnesium oxide. (Magnesium bound to oxide) This is an inorganic form of magnesium and it is not easily absorbed. Clinical studies have shown that only 4% of magnesium oxide is absorbed in some cases. The result of taking magnesium oxide is low magnesium absorption and increased risk of side effects within the digestive tract mostly being diarrhoea and nausea.

Magnesium is a fabulous mineral to help get you feeling like yourself again. If you are looking for more information and advice about magnesium make an appointment to see our in store Naturopath Lydia and start unpacking your health concerns today.