What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. It is a co-factor utilized in over 3,700 functions of the body. The term “co-factor” means that it works synergistically with other minerals and vitamins to do its job. Various types of magnesium have responsibility for over 300 metabolic functions in the body and every cell needs magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral and remember, minerals are like spark plugs for your body.
Some Main Functions of Magnesium
In this big picture, magnesium regulates protein synthesis (that means your ability to use protein in your body), muscle and nervous system function, blood glucose regulation, overall bone (and teeth) health as well as cardiovascular health.
Specifically, here are a few beneficial things magnesium does:
- Blocks calcium channel uptake (this is good to prevent heart attacks)
- inhibits blood clots
- thins blood (thick blood does not flow well)
- relaxes blood vessels
- detoxifies the liver
- transmits nerve impulses
Due to the above benefits, your mood, anxious thoughts and brain clarity will drastically improve when you are not deficient in this mineral.
Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
80% of the world’s population is deficient in magnesium.
Some contributors to magnesium deficiency are:
- high sugar diet
- low-quality food intake
- emotional trauma
- prescription medication interference (furosemide, bumetanide, thiazide diuretics, as well as proton pump inhibitors may increase magnesium loss in the urine) (1)
Even if you do eat a nutritionally dense diet, you may still not be getting enough magnesium. For example, a medium size apple today has only 5.39mg of magnesium whereas in 1963 that same apple had 8mg and in 1914 magnesium levels may have been as high as 28.9mg! (2) Imagine what the food in the Garden of Eden was like?!?!?
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
Being deficient can cause a vast array of symptoms:
- Chronic physical and/or mental stress
- stealth infections (like Epstein Barr and Parasites)
- high toxicity
- poor gut health
- Cravings (especially for chocolate)
- can’t relax
- poor memory
- feeling overwhelmed a lot
- heart palpitations
- muscle cramps
- blood sugar imbalance without a diabetes diagnosis
- can’t focus
- chronic anger
- weird pains
- gut dysfunction
- weak bones
- eye twitching
- higher histamine release
- restless leg syndrome
- tooth cavities
- apathy or psychosis
Types of Magnesium
There are many, many forms of magnesium because basically combining magnesium with another element will create a different form of magnesium. Here, I am going to educate you on 13 forms of magnesium and their benefits and uses. Though in many forms there is some overlap in benefits, there are certain ones that only do certain things so it’s good to know the different types to choose from.
Magnesium by itself can be hard for the body to absorb. In fact, it can’t be ingested by itself! That’s why you will often see it paired with another molecule like glycine, which is more bioavailable to the body. Also, all forms of magnesium (except hydroxide) can help address a deficiency in the body but the more absorbable ones are obviously the most effective. Higher doses of magnesium can cause loose stools and the oxide form even at moderate levels can cause loose stools.
A quick tip – Oxide is the worst absorbed but still has benefits, just not necessarily greatly improving magnesium levels in the body.
This magnesium is combined with aspartic acid. It improves the muscles, nerves, and heart health. It is readily absorbed by the body. Caution: interacts with several medications including HIV medication. Take only small doses because too much aspartic acid can be neurotoxic.
This magnesium is bound with citric acid. It’s highly soluble and bioavailable. Use it to help with constipation and detox, migraines, and pain management. It helps dump oxalates and has a strong laxative effect in higher doses. Magnesium Citrate is meant to be taken short term. (I share my favorite powder at the bottom of the post)
It is formed from magnesium and chlorine (not the same as what’s in a chlorine pool). It can be found in liquid form and is helpful to use in a nebulizer. It is well absorbed. This form is helpful for the reduction of histamines, improved allergies, reduction in MCAS, improvement of inflammation, and aids in detoxification. It can be applied topically in oil form to reduce muscle soreness. (Recommendations below)
It is formed from magnesium and glycine – an amino acid. It is calming on the nervous system, helps improve sleep, reduces inflammation, induces relaxation, quenches PMS symptoms, improves anxiety, and depression, and aids in stress reduction. Caution: can convert to glutamate in some people, which would increase anxiety, sleep issues, and problems focusing. (3)
This magnesium is combined with gluconic acid which is a non-toxic organic acid. It is absorbable but contains less magnesium per gram than citrate. It is helpful for relaxation, reducing stress, and better sleep. You can find it in “Natural Calm” brand products. Caution: use away from medications.
This is magnesium combined with hydroxide. It is also known as milk of magnesia and has an antacid effect. It reduces stomach acid (not a good thing). This is not necessarily used to increase magnesium levels in the body to prevent deficiency and is poorly absorbed.
It is formed from magnesium bound with lactic acid. It is easily absorbed and gentler on the digestive system. It can help with stress, nervousness, and anxiety (4) Caution: don’t take it long term as it can cause lactic acid build-up.
This form is magnesium combined with malic acid. It helps with energy metabolism, improves ATP function, fibromyalgia, CFS, and stiffness, and helps muscles relax and their performance. (5) Can be energizing to take, and depending on where you are on your health journey, agitating. It can help increase stomach acid.
It is formed by magnesium combined with orotic acid. It is easily absorbed and does not have strong laxative effects. Magnesium Orotate promotes a healthy heart, and blood vessels, improves energy production, and is widely used by athletes. (6) Is excellent for aiding in muscle regeneration. Caution: can increase uric acid so only take it in small doses temporarily.
It’s made by burning pure magnesium with oxygen making it bond to oxygen. It is not absorbed well by the body but helpful for heartburn, muscle relaxation, and constipation. It contains a high amount of magnesium and, even though poorly absorbed, it can help with deficiency. Caution: It can lower essential stomach acid (HCI). Use only in short term.
This is magnesium combined with sulfur and oxygen. It is well absorbed through the skin but not orally. It helps with sore muscles, stress relief, drainage, detox, and relaxation. It is what Epsom salt is made of. (7)
It’s magnesium combined with taurine. This can be helpful for regulating blood pressure, improving blood sugar balance, reducing stress response, and calming anxiety. It is excellent for cardiovascular health and helps in phase II liver detox. If you don’t tolerate glycinate, try this one. (8) (9)
This magnesium is formed by combining magnesium and threonic acid. It helps concentrate magnesium in the brain and can improve cognition, memory, and mood. (10)
Chelate – This is not a type of magnesium by itself. Instead, it refers to a group of chelated types of magnesium. That is magnesium that is bound to a carrier by two or more points. Chelated magnesium are: ascorbate, carbonate, citrate, fumarate, gluconate, lactate, malate, orotate, aspartate, glycinate, taurate, and l-threonate. Non-chelated forms of magnesium are magnesium chloride and magnesium oxide.
If you don’t find relief taking a variety of forms of magnesium, you may not be taking the correct form for what your body needs, you may be low in potassium, you may be low in co-factors like B vitamins which are essential for magnesium being used in the body, you might need to address changes in your lifestyle and diet – ie – better stress management and elimination of refined sugar and adding in what I call PPND foods. That stands for Properly Prepared Nutrient Dense Foods which include, pastured, grass-fed red meat and beef organs, wild-caught salmon, pastured eggs, and oysters. I have an entire program with coaching that will help you with all of the above!
Food Sources High in Magnesium
It’s always important to be getting your vitamins and minerals from God-made whole food sources first. Plus, you need to be digesting them well so that your body can extract the nutrients from the food. See my Gut Renew course if you need help with healing your gut.
- Oysters (see below for a supplemental form of this)
- Dark leafy greens like organic spinach and chard
- Organic Dark Chocolate (at least 85% cacao without refined sugar)
- Sprouted Organic Pumpkin Seeds
- Lima and Black Beans
- Organic Sprouted Almonds
- Sprouted Oats
My Favorite Supplemental Sources of Magnesium
I do buy some magnesium in single form for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I might need help with digestive function, and sometimes with sleep. However, I like to buy multi-form magnesium as well and I always love to use Epsom salt and essential oils in my baths.
My favorite way to consume magnesium is in a supplement that contains 7 forms of this vital mineral as well as vitamin B6, manganese and humic and fulvic acid. It’s a very well-rounded all in one supplement. Get 10% off with code: FEASTINGONJOY
I also love these specialized formulations specifically for morning or night.
You can also get the evening and morning magnesium in my Fullscript Dispensary. It’s under the “Vitamins and Minerals” section.
Single Type Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium Citrate Powder Use code FEASTINGONJOY for 10% off.
Magnesium Oil (this is actually magnesium chloride)
Epsom Salt (this is actually magnesium sulfate)
I also have many single forms of magnesium in my Fullscript Dispensary as well. They are in the “Vitamins and Minerals” section. Just set up your free account and you have access to all my recommended supplements at 15% off and free shipping on orders over $50.
Magnesium is a Super Important Mineral
Hopefully, this was enlightening to learn about all the different types of magnesium out there so that you can tailor it to what your body needs. Of course, you can now see how important magnesium is for your health and well-being and that different forms have different functions in your body. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions and what types of magnesium you have tried and liked!