It’s estimated that nearly half of the U.S. population is consuming less than the recommended amount of magnesium in their diets. Why is magnesium so important you ask? Low levels of magnesium have been linked with migraine headaches, stroke, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease. This essential mineral is found throughout the body and acts as a cofactor for more than 300 different enzymes, meaning it is necessary for enzyme activity. It is involved in energy production, protein synthesis, cell signaling, muscle and nerve function, the release of neurotransmitters and even plays a structural role in the body. Roughly 60% of the magnesium in the body is found in our bones, 39% found in cells and 1% in our blood. Read below for some of the health benefits of magnesium as well as tips on what to look for when choosing a magnesium supplement.
Benefits To Consider
May help alleviate fatigue
Aids in the formation of healthy bones and teeth
Aids in muscle relaxation
May alleviate constipation
Helps prevent kidney stones
Assists in oil pathways to produce essential fatty acids
May help with detoxification as it is needed for glutathione synthesis
Helps insulin to enter cells and enhances insulin receptor sensitivity
May help improve metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions which increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
What To Look For On The Label
Any supplement label generally declares the amount of elemental magnesium in the product. However, because magnesium cannot be absorbed by itself, it must be bound to another substance to help stabilize it. The biggest difference in magnesium supplements isn’t the magnesium, rather the complex or complexes that it is bound to. Absorption of magnesium from different forms of supplements varies and some of the molecules or complexes that magnesium is bound to may have their own function in the body. Below are some of the most commonly used forms of magnesium:
This is one of the most absorbable forms of magnesium. This form may be more preferable as it is not likely to induce diarrhea and may have a calming effect on the body.
This name is commonly used for magnesium which is bound to citric acid. This form has good bioavailability, meaning that it is absorbed easily, but may have a laxative effect.
In this form, magnesium is bound to aspartic acid, which has been reported to enhance the uptake of magnesium into cells. Commonly in the form of potassium magnesium aspartate (a combination of potassium and magnesium), aspartate can act as an excitatory neurotransmitter.
This form contains magnesium bound to malic acid. Malic acid can act as a substrate in production of cellular energy.
Magnesium binds to taurine in this form. Taurine is an amino acid which may elicit a calming effect on the body.
In this form, magnesium is bound to orotic acid, which has good bioavailability. Orotic acid may be used for improving athletic performance/endurance as well as supporting heart health.
One of the most widely used magnesium preparations, magnesium oxide contains high amounts of elemental magnesium, which is well absorbed but may cause diarrhea or have laxative affect.
Also known as “Milk of Magnesia,” this form is highly unabsorbable and may have a laxative effect.