Have you heard of a magnesium deficiency?
If you spend a lot of time on social media or tiktok, chances are you’re constantly bombarded by supplements. It can be hard to determine what you should take, or what your body needs, but one way you can figure out if you should add a supplement to your daily regime is by knowing more about both your body and a specific supplement.
Today we are going to talk about one mineral in particular: magnesium.
Magnesium is one of the most important trace minerals in our body. This trace mineral plays a handful of vital roles in keeping our health optimal. While magnesium supplements are quite popular, it’s important to know that there are a variety of types to choose from. While it’s important to have adequate levels of magnesium, it’s also important not to overload on this mineral, as it can cause an imbalance between all of your minerals. This is similar to what happens when you take too much zinc as well.
In this article, we are going to talk about the different types of magnesium and, more importantly, why they matter for your supplementation. Magnesium can help with a variety of things from aiding in migraine pain to blood pressure. But first, let us talk about what magnesium is and what are the key health benefits that we can get from it.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a trace mineral that plays a handful of vital roles in our body such as assisting in our muscular and nerve function, promoting and maintaining heart health, supporting mood, and cognitive health, regulating blood sugar levels and maintaining bone strength.
Like most nutrients, we can get magnesium through our diet. Generally, foods that are high in fiber are usually high in magnesium as well. Some of the good food sources of magnesium are vegetables (i.e. green leafy vegetables and broccoli), seeds, whole grains, nuts, meats, dairy, coffee, and chocolate. Also, water with high mineral content (also known as “hard water”) is generally a good source of magnesium as well.
Humans used to get minerals, including magnesium through their foods and water. The soil was nutrient-dense and packed with enough magnesium. Unfortunately, the quality of soil has gone downhill to various reasons like pollution, not taking care of it properly, fertilizers, etc. Minerals play a key role in so many of our bodily functions, that it is important to get enough.
But just like other nutrients, getting magnesium from dietary sources alone may not be enough. There are instances where taking a magnesium supplement is necessary, especially if you are too low on it. I love adding trace minerals to my water as a way to get all key minerals in, without creating an imbalance. This is the brand I use: Trace Minerals.
Getting enough levels of magnesium is very important. Low magnesium levels are linked to major diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, clogged arteries, stroke, and diabetes. Magnesium deficiencies are also linked to more minor health and wellness problems like mood swings, anxiety/depression, and more.
Magnesium Rich Foods
Before you jump on magnesium supplements, it’s important to try to get in your daily dose through magnesium-rich foods. The good news is there are lots to choose from. First, let’s start with my personal favorite – dark chocolate. Not only is dark chocolate filled with antioxidants, but one ounce of chocolate provides you with 64 mg of magnesium, which is around 16% of the RDI.
Other great food items that are rich in magnesium include avocados, bananas, legumes, seeds, black beans, whole grains, fatty fish, and leafy greens. Spinach (cooked) has about 78 mg per 1/2 cup, whereas something like edamame (cooked) has 50 mg per 1/2 cup.
I always advocated for a food first policy, with supplements coming second. Supplements can be extremely helpful, but they can also cause imbalances if they’re not personalized. Luckily, there are so many foods to choose from!
How do you Know if You Have a Magnesium Deficiency?
Typically for adult males, 400 mg -420 mg of magnesium is the suggested amount or RDI (recommended dietary allowance) for men, whereas 310-320 mg is the recommended amount for adult women. These amounts are not set in stone though, as everyone’s body makeup is different. Some women may do well with 320 mg, while many people may need more. The same goes for men.
A good way to determine if you have enough magnesium in your body is by thinking about what you eat each day. If you find that you are not eating enough magnesium-rich foods, then try to add them in. Seeds, beans, and other food items provide many other nutrients, but are also great sources of magnesium. Eating these foods can actually be fun, which is why I try to make so many creative recipes based on foods that follow these dietary guidelines.
Health Benefits of Magnesium
As mentioned above, magnesium is a vital component in keeping our health in optimal shape. Here are some of the main positive effects that we can get from taking magnesium.
1) Magnesium helps in dealing with depression
Magnesium plays a vital role in our cognitive function and brain health, and this includes the factors that surround depression. Research has long linked that low levels of magnesium could lead to increased risk and depression. Therefore, getting enough levels of magnesium could reduce your risk of depression or alleviate its symptoms.
Aside from depression, magnesium can also bring therapeutic effects. This is why magnesium is one of the key minerals which you can take if you want to be calmer or if you want to have better sleep. Finally, magnesium is an important role in our overall cognitive health.
2) Magnesium helps deal with type 2 diabetes
Magnesium can be very helpful in managing diabetes or preventing it. This is because magnesium plays a role in our body’s sugar absorption, which is important in controlling sugar levels in our blood by utilizing them as our body’s fuel source.
Evidence shows that low levels of magnesium are also linked to increased risks of type 2 diabetes and studies suggest that around 48% of people with type 2 diabetes have low magnesium levels.
Having enough levels of magnesium can alleviate diabetic symptoms or it can help you prevent it in the first place.
3) Magnesium has cardiovascular benefits
Magnesium also plays a vital role in our heart health. It can bring about certain benefits such as reduced clogging of the arteries and lowered blood pressure, both of which are very beneficial for the heart and overall cardiovascular health. This mineral helps support your muscle health, which also impacts your cardiovascular system.
4) Magnesium can boost physical performance
Some studies show that magnesium can boost one’s physical performance while supporting bone health and fighting off bone disease. This could be because of magnesium’s role in our muscular and nerve function.
However, you should consider the amount of magnesium that you’ll take relative to the level of activity you are doing: simply put, you will need more magnesium when doing intense exercise than if you are performing mild ones.
5) Magnesium can improve PMS symptoms
Any woman who suffered from PMS could tell you how painful it is to undergo such a state. Abdominal muscle cramps, fatigue, water retention, and irritability are some of the symptoms of PMS.
Research has shown that magnesium can be incredibly helpful in alleviating PMS symptoms. Magnesium can help in improving your mood during PMS, reduce water retention, muscle pain, and even relieve or reduce the effects of other symptoms of PMS.
5 Different Types of Magnesium Supplements
Now that we know what magnesium is and the benefits we can get from it, let’s go to the different types or forms of magnesium. Each type has its specific features and effects, so if you have a particular goal on why you are taking magnesium, consider the type that you are planning to take to see if it will fit your goal.
Also, if you are trying magnesium for something like migraines, or it’s always a good idea to chat with your doctor about it, and do your own research too! As always, this is not medical advice, just information to help you get on the path to health and wellness.
Even if you have a magnesium deficiency, you want to be careful with how much you are supplementing as it’s easy for minerals to get out of balance when you take high doses. Having too much magnesium in your body can be just as harmful as having too little. So it’s important that you get enough magnesium, but not too much magnesium. That’s why I typically advocate for getting it from food.
That being said, here are the 5 different types of magnesium supplements that are commonly known and used.
1) Magnesium L-Threonate
Magnesium L-Threonate is a type of magnesium that can help you quickly fall asleep and have an overall goodnight’s sleep. This is because this type of magnesium is known for its calming effects. For better results, consider pairing it with an Epsom salt bath.
However, magnesium L-Threonate is not sufficient to cure magnesium deficiency. Therefore, just because you’re taking magnesium L-Threonate does not necessarily mean that you are getting enough magnesium levels for your body.
You can check out Magnesium L-Threonate here.
2) Magnesium Glycinate
If you prefer taking magnesium in powder form, you may consider taking magnesium glycinate. Magnesium glycinate works well in dealing with anxiety because of its calming effects. Aside from that, it can also help you improve your sleep quality, migraine health, reduce PMS side effects, control blood sugar levels, and even potentially decrease your risk of getting diabetes.
Here is a magnesium glycinate that is helpful in regards to migraine health specifically. If you have migraines, it’s suggested that you take 400–500 mg per day to help combat them. As always, I would also suggest trying to find the root cause of your migraines as well. It. may be magnesium deficiency, but it could also be rooted in a variety of other issues.
3) Magnesium Oxide
Magnesium oxide is the type of magnesium that is mainly used in helping the body get an adequate amount of magnesium levels. Aside from that, magnesium oxide can also help you treat constipation or indigestion. However, just don’t take magnesium oxide for daily and long-term use for treating constipation.
This magnesium oxide supplement is affordable and high quality.
4) Magnesium Citrate
Like magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate can also help in dealing with constipation. Medical practitioners use this type of magnesium to clean the intestines before performing surgery or any action that could affect the bowels. Unlike magnesium oxide, you can use this form of magnesium for longer periods when treating constipation.
This type of magnesium runs on the pricier side of magnesium supplements, but this is a brand I recommend.
5) Topical Magnesium
If replenishing your magnesium levels is your main goal, topical magnesium could be the best type of magnesium for you. This is because magnesium that is applied through the skin is often the best way to absorb the mineral. And since magnesium is magnesium, it can still bring in its therapeutic effects such as better mood and improved quality sleep.
However, topical magnesium can cause itchiness. If it itches, just rub the topical on the bottoms of your feet, let it soak in, and wash your hands afterward.
This is the topical magnesium I use. The bottle lasts a long time!
Should You Give Magnesium Supplements a Try?
Magnesium is one of the most important trace minerals for our body because it plays a handful of vital roles in our health. Specifically, magnesium plays a role in our cognitive health, blood sugar, cardiovascular health, mental health, muscular and nerve function, bone health, and many other medical problems. It’s crucial to get enough magnesium
However, if you have a particular goal on why you are taking magnesium, it’s important to take it based on its type as each type has its specific features and effects. Therefore, getting to know different types of magnesium such as the ones we have listed and discussed is important to get the best from the mineral! If you have questions, your doctor can also be a great resource with this, especially if you are dealing with a disease or some type of chronic health medical problem.
I hope you enjoyed this post and learned everything you need to know about the different types of magnesium and the evidence behind its necessity. If you’re into supplementation, check out my recent post on “Three Immune-Boosting Mushrooms I Add to My Coffee” for more info on those products!
As always, reach out with any questions or comments about the benefits of magnesium, you can send me an email here or shoot me a DM on Instagram. Make sure to do your own research before supplementing and deciding if something is right for you!