Supplement Spotlight: Magnesium

Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links and I may be compensated, but all opinions are my own. This compensation helps with expenses to keep this blog up and running! Thank you for all your support! Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor and that this is not to be intended as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before implementing dietary or supplementation changes. 

Since last week’s Supplement Spotlight went over so well, I am happy to be able to shift the focus to another amazing supplement: magnesium! Magnesium is one of my favorite supplements because it does SO MUCH. As a co-enzyme in over 300 different processes in the body, magnesium is highly important to helping us feel our best everyday!

In our bodies, magnesium helps to:

  • improve bone health
  • absorb calcium
  • relieve PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
  • maintain normal muscle function
  • maintain normal nerve function
  • keep heart rhythm stead
  • support a healthy immune system
  • promote normal blood pressure
  • regulate blood sugar levels

And that’s just to name a few! Since magnesium is so important in helping so many different processes and functions, it is pretty imperative that we are consuming enough to help optimize our health.

From what I have found, anywhere from 50-80% of Americans are walking around magnesium depleted. While it was once likely possible to get most of our RDA (recommended dietary allowance) from foods that were grown in magnesium rich soil, this is no longer the case. Soil does not carry the same nutrients that it used to which can make getting enough magnesium difficult.

What can cause magnesium deficiencies? In short – avoiding leafy green veggies (think kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard) can cause deficiencies as well as taking too much of a calcium supplement. This can cause a dip in magnesium levels if calcium is taken in excess. The excess amount can cause calcification in the body and in order to balance this, magnesium is used to stop the process. However, if we are deficient in magnesium, and have excess calcium the ratios will continue to be skewed.

Along with a diet high in processed foods, refined sugars and carbohydrates, magnesium deficiency can lead to some pretty scary consequences. If you are curious about what can cause magnesium deficiencies on a more detailed basis, Wellness Mama has a great article here.

Magnesium deficiencies can cause muscle spasms and cramps in the body, create hormonal imbalances, sleep problems resulting in low energy and can even impact bone density. Sound like problems you’d like to have? No thanks.

Magnesium deficiency can also cause:

  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • memory problems
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea
  • lethargy
  • seizures
  • vomiting
  • and more…

Have I convinced you of magnesium’s importance yet?! Now that we have talked about the benefits of taking magnesium, let’s talk about the different forms of it. Though there are numerous different forms of magnesium, I am going to explain the 8 most common forms.

Each of the different forms is useful in their own unique way.

  1. Magnesium citrate
  • derived from citric acid
  • can help relieve constipation
  • can help with acid indigestion
  • relatively cheap
  • can cause dehydration if too much is taken since it pulls water into the bowels to create the laxative effect

2. Magnesium glycinate

  • made from magnesium and the amino acid glycine
  • increased bioavailability in the gut
  • promotes relaxation and calming (sleep!)
  • no laxative effect

3. Magnsium malate

  • made from magnesium and the compound malic acid
  • improves or increase energy levels
  • reduces muscle pain
  • may counteract and bind with heavy metals

4. Magnesium oxide

  • relieves constipation
  • can help alleviate heart burn
  • may help to improve digestion

5. Magnesium orotate

  • combined with orotic acid (formerly known as B13)
  • improves athletic performance and recovery through repairing muscle tissue
  • improves cardiovascular health

6. Magnesium chloride

  • high bioavailability
  • can be absorbed through the skin via magnesium oil or magnesium lotions
  • topical use can help muscle spasms and soreness
  • can promote a sense of calm

7. Magnesium sulfate

  • also known as EPSOM SALT
  • promotes relaxation
  • improves sleep
  • can help ease constipation if taken orally
  • helps the body to eliminate toxins

8. Magnesium l-threonate

  • good bioavailability
  • formulated for brain health
  • can improve cognitive function

Phew, feel educated yet? The good news is that it basically boils down to this: you can take different forms of magnesium to support specific functions. Better sleep? Magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium sulphate and magnesium chloride can all help. Better athletic performance? Magnesium malate and magnesium orotate are great. Better brain function? Magnesium l-threonate is your best bet. Constipated or have poor digestion? Try magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate or magnesium oxide.

So, How Much Magnesium?

Below is a table from the National Institutes for Health on the daily intake recommended for magnesium.

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Magnesium [1]
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 30 mg* 30 mg*
7–12 months 75 mg* 75 mg*
1–3 years 80 mg 80 mg
4–8 years 130 mg 130 mg
9–13 years 240 mg 240 mg
14–18 years 410 mg 360 mg 400 mg 360 mg
19–30 years 400 mg 310 mg 350 mg 310 mg
31–50 years 420 mg 320 mg 360 mg 320 mg
51+ years 420 mg 320 mg

Male and female adults will need anywhere from 300-400 mg. of magnesium a day. For comparison, one medium avocado contains around 58 mg. of magnesium, pumpkin seeds have a whopping 150 mg. in a 1 oz. serving and bananas contain around 38 mg. of magnesium. I’m likely not about to eat each of those foods in a day so I am certainly relying on supplementation! I have linked my favorite magnesium products in each category and take this liquid magnesium daily.

I hope you have learned enough about magnesium to become educated on why magnesium is important, what magnesium deficiency can look like and what the different types of magnesium can help to support. I hope you love magnesium as much as I do!!

Let me know in the comments below if you take magnesium or are curious to start doing so! I have seen such awesome benefits from it – fewer muscle cramps, better menstrual cycles, improved sleep, more relaxation and even better brain function! I just love magnesium so much!

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  1. Love this post, Chelsea! Great info and a nice explanation on magnesium! I found it super helpful to better understand magnesium supplementation myself. Cheers, keep up the awesome work!


    1. Thanks Jenny!! I was so confused at first and figured if I was confused that others probably were too! It’s so fascinating to know that magnesium can help support so many different parts of the body!


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