A Magnifying Glass on Magnesium

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium (Mg2+) is a naturally occurring mineral.

It has numerous functions in the human body, it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body after calcium, sodium, and potassium.

This nutrient is involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions and is responsible for regulating a large number of fundamental functions such as muscle contraction, neuromuscular conduction, glycaemic/sugar control, myocardial/heart contraction, extracellular calcium and blood pressure.

Due to the very important role of magnesium in the human body, the levels of cellular magnesium need to be strictly regulated, magnesium homeostasis is mostly regulated by the intestines, the bones, and the kidneys, with the majority of magnesium being absorbed in the small intestine, while a smaller amount is actively absorbed in the large intestine.


Is All Magnesium Created Equal?

Short answer is no. What needs to be observed is more so what compound is bound to the magnesium.

That is where we see variance s in absorption rates and benefits.

 What we mean by this is… Magnesium Citrate is essentially the compound magnesium bound to a citric acid molecule & this is one of the more common types of magnesium’s you will see amongst products you find on the shelf. It is not the most bioavailable type of magnesium to use if you were looking to elevate your total magnesium levels, however where it does benefit is it can provide a natural laxative effect. Then you have magnesium oxide, which is magnesium bound to a salt, this is probably the poorest absorbed type of magnesium out of all the different types.

The types of Magnesium we like a Nutrition Capital are predominantly amino acid bonded, either Magnesium Glycinate, Magnesium Threonate, Magnesium Taurate and in some cases, Magnesium Citrate.
Amino Acid Chelated Magnesium is recognised much more easily once ingested making their absorption rates significantly superior.  

Let’s take a deeper look in to our favourite, Magnesium Glycinate being bound to the amino acid Glycine, with Glycine playing a major role in being the backbone for numerous reactions in the body, getting a good nights rest and also responsible for acting as an antagonist to NMDA receptors in the brain (suppressing excitatory activity such as symptoms of Bipolar, Epilepsy & other neurological conditions).

Who Can It Help?

As we mentioned, Magnesium plays a participating role in over 600 reactions within the human body, meaning Magnesium Supplementation can essentially be useful to everyone!

Additionally, Magnesium is an electrolyte and can levels can be easily reduced via sweat, so anyone engaged in physical activity would have an even greater demand for higher levels of magnesium intake. Furthermore, Magnesium also plays a big role in the in the synthesis of ATP, one of our energy systems, needed for generating strong muscle contractions.

Magnesium is also used as an insulin sensitizer, as the insulin receptors on the surface of our cells is dependant on magnesium, essentially meaning someone that is type 2 diabetic or slightly insulin resistant such as those with PCOS can definitely benefit from the use of external Magnesium.


Are We Consuming Enough Magnesium?

Magnesium deficiency is commonly the result of reduced consumption or inadequate absorption and/or increased excretion from the body.  It is estimated that at least 42% of young adults have a Magnesium deficiency.

 A wide range of human diseases, including cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, skeletal disorders, respiratory illness and neurologic anomalies (stress, depression, and anxiety) are linked to magnesium inadequacy.

Magnesium is an important component of bone and plays a vital role in bone mineralization, partly by influencing synthesis of the active vitamin D metabolites, which support intestinal calcium and phosphate absorption.

Reasons why we lack sufficient magnesium intake and why magnesium supplementation can be beneficial can be due to but not limited to; diminished levels of Magnesium in many processed foods and some nonorganic foods, common staples such as meat (18–29mg magnesium/100g), sugar (0mg magnesium/100g), and white flour (20–25 magnesium/100g) contribute less than 20% of the daily requirements of magnesium which is approximately 400mg

Cooking and boiling of produce results in a significant decline of the food's magnesium content and lastly common medications (e.g., some antibiotics, antacids, and hypertensive drugs) diminish absorption of magnesium. 

Magnesium deficiency can induce a wide range of clinical complications, including painful muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, arrhythmia, osteoporosis, poor sleep, mood swings and migraines. With today’s soil being so depleted of minerals, and therefore the crops and vegetables grown in that soil are not as mineral-rich as they used to be. Even those who strive for better nutrition in whole foods can fall short, due to magnesium removal during food processing. 

How to supplement with Magnesium?

Supplementing with magnesium has benefits at all times of the day, not just to be used before bed as commonly recommended.

There are various ways to go about supplementing with magnesium, various benefits you may be looking to achieve while supplementing with magnesium will all require different dosages for instance, the training individual looking at supplementing with magnesium for performance, recovery and increasing red cell magnesium levels is going to require a much greater demand (1000mg – 1250mg elemental magnesium/day) where as if this was just for general health  looking at increasing their red cell magnesium level (500mg – 750mg elemental magnesium/day) would suffice.

Our top of the line pick of Magnesium would have to be:

Thorne Magnesium Bi-Glycinate with the highest level of absorption.

Our next budget friendlier, yet effective pick would be:

Poliquin Uber Mag as it contains Glycinate and a few other amino acid chelates.

Another specifically designed for stress & sleep would be:

Switch Nutrition Adrenal Switch which contains Magnesium Citrate.