Welcome to the newest article of our guide to supplements. In the lines ahead we will carefully review the function of magnesium – an essential nutrient to our well-being. We will explain it’s main benefits in a clear yet concise way. What are the symptoms one may be suffering from low magnesium in the body and what guidelines should one follow when deciding to incorporate a magnesium supplement into a routine. Adding a magnesium supplement to your diet can have many benefits for your health.
 
Magnesium helps muscles relax, including the heart muscle, in this way it can help avoid and diminish the appearance of arrhythmias. Moreover, it activates adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in our organisms, this chemical is responsible for creating energy in the body. In addition, this mineral also intervenes in the stabilization of the DNA and helps enhance neural function. Our body is quickly depleted of magnesium under stressful situations and it’s estimated that up to 80% of the population in the western world suffers from a magnesium deficiency.
 

Key Facts

  • Magnesium is a compound involved in more than 300 reactions in the body. A bad diet, stress and lack of vitamin D are some of the causes for entering a deficit of this important mineral.
  • In the market today there is a wide variety of supplements available in presentations that suit the specific needs and preferences of each individual. Nowadays you can find magnesium in powder, capsules, tablets and even creams.
  • You can achieve different effects from a magnesium supplement. Depending on the form of magnesium you choose, you can obtain either relaxing or energizing results. It also works to prevent muscle damage and it helps improve and sustain cardiovascular health.

Ranking: The best magnesium supplements on the market

You will notice that when it comes to choosing a magnesium supplement, you’ll find multiple brands and forms of presentation are available to you. To facilitate your search, here are the top 5 magnesium supplements available to you you. Now all you have to do, is select the one that is right for you.

No. 1: Phi Naturals, Magnesium Citrate (capsules)

This magnesium supplement by Phi Naturals contains 400mg of pure magnesium citrate per serving and the container comes with 180 capsules. This supplement is made in the United States under high quality standards and regulations. This product is made to help your body with sore muscles, bone health, digestion, energy production and more.

Consumers have reported this product to improve sleep. This formula is apt for both men and women alike and its also apt for vegans and is a non-GMO and gluten-free product made with organic ingredients. This formula contains 13-14% elemental Mg, allowing you to get all t he benefits of magnesium supplementation with out the nasty side effects of diarrhea. This, and all Phi Naturals products come with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.

No. 2: Thorne Research, Magnesium (capsules)

 
This product by Thorne is a best absorbed form of magnesium. This formulation is meant to treat magnesium deficiencies. It contains Citrate and malate chelates to enhance the function of our internal cycles and aid in energy production. This product is also meant to support optimal muscle function. This product has been approved for sale under all Canadian regulations.

Consumers give this product a high score, emphasizing good value for money and the trust that a well-recognized brand like Thorne brings to the table. Since 1984, Thorne has set the standard for the exceptional formulation and quality manufacturing of nutritional supplements. Thorne delivers premium, science-based products to the general public and is always well reviewed.

No. 3: EBYSU, Bioavailable Magnesium (capsules)

This formulation is of magnesium glycinate and it’s meant to help regulate hormones that cause sleep deprivation. EBYSU understands that healthy magnesium levels means better appetite, more energy and a brighter disposition. This formulation is meant to help build stronger bones, relax the nerves and muscles and improve overall health.

Consumers value this supplement very highly, and it is the favourite among athletes who want to recover quickly after intense training sessions. This product is licensed by Health Canada and is FDA approved. It contains non-GMO and gluten-free ingredients and is third party tested for purity and potency.

No. 4: Natural Vitality, Flavoured Magnesium (powder)

 
Natural Calm is the solution to both restoring a healthy magnesium level and balancing your calcium intake-the result of which is natural stress relief. M agnesium and calcium, which are fundamental nutrients that need to be in balance with each other in order for you to fully experience good health and all their benefits. Their importance on a cellular level is critical.

Natural Vitality believes that real, lasting health requires the creation of a sustainable environment and locally-based food system. All the fruits and vegetables they use are organically grown. The stevia and fruit flavourings are organic as well. This not only assures customers of no pesticide residues and no GMO ingredients but also provides financial support to organic farming.

No. 5: CanPrev, Magnesium (vegetable capsules)

 
This product contains a 200mg dose of pure elemental therapeutic magnesium bis-glycinate per vegetable capsule with no added fillers. Magnesium bis-glycinate 200 offers a potent, therapeutic dose of magnesium in a formula made for superior absorption and to be gentle on the bowels. Each capsule has vegetable-grade magnesium stearate in veggie capsules. CanPrev magnesium contains about 30% magnesium oxide, the rest 70% is magnesium Bis-Glycinate.

There are three forms of magnesium bis-glycinate: blends, buffered chelates and chelates. Magnesium Bis-Glycinate bind magnesium ions to glycine molecules directly through a patented manufacturing process. Magnesium bis-glycinate blends deliver more elemental magnesium through a process of dry-blending magnesium oxide, chelates and glycine. Buffered chelates combine chelates with added magnesium oxide into a homogenized form.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about magnesium

For starters magnesium is present and plays a key role in countless chemical reactions in our body. It is present in our bone structure and it’s also involved in the process of creating energy (ATP), it also works in modulating muscular, neuronal and hormonal function. Depending on where in the body the magnesium is found, it can either serve to energize and activate the body or it can have a more relaxing function.
 

Woman

Magnesium regulates neuronal, hormonal and muscular functions.
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What is magnesium exactly?

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals you can find in the human body. It is found in large quantities in our bones, teeth, and organs like the heart and kidneys. Magnesium acts as a “cofactor”, this means it’s an essential component for the proper functioning of numerous enzymatic reactions and processes – this mineral is believed to be involved in over 300 bio-chemical reactions in the body.

Despite it’s important role at many levels of our health, magnesium has gained little attention in clinical practice. However, in recent years, several studies have found a link between low magnesium diets and numerous diseases (diabetes, obesity, hypertension or polycystic ovary syndrome), this has served to highlight its importance and thus encouraging health professionals to further investigate the benefits of this overlooked electrolyte.
 

Dr. Eric BergDoctor in Medicine

“Imagine that the cells in your body have a engine. Magnesium is the “spark” that ignites that engine and initiates the combustion of oxygen to produce energy.”

Which functions in the body does magnesium play an important role in?

Magnesium has a crucial role in the reactions that occur in virtually every system of our bodies. The table below is contains a summary of its main functions:
 

System Function
Skeletal and muscular systems Formation and reinforcement of tooth and bone structure.
Cardiovascular Relaxation of muscle fibre, creation of new muscle fibres.
Nervous Dilation of arteries, transporting cholesterol, relaxation of the heart muscle.
Digestive DNA stabilization, increased insulin sensitivity, ATP synthesis (energy)

Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and it’s a key component in the production of energy and protein.

There is ongoing research into the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

What are the best food sources of magnesium?

Magnesium is abundant in cholorophyl, the component that gives veggies their green colour. Therefore, most of the magnesium that can be obtained from foods comes from vegetables – dark green, leafy vegetables. Nonetheless, there are other foods that are also good sources of magnesium, this mineral can also be found in:

  • Fruits or vegetables (avocados, bananas, lemon, orange and grapefruit)
  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Soya products: tofu, miso
  • Whole grain cereals (rice, brown oats)
  • Maize
  • Linseed and pumpkin seed
  • Quinoa
  • Dark chocolate

Even though you can find magnesium in a lot of foods, it has been noted that fruits and vegetables that grow in infertile soils (those which has been drained and stripped of all its minerals and nutrients) grow with a much lower concentration of this mineral.

Foods rich in magnesium

Magnesium can be found in high concentrations in leafy-green vegetables, bananas, nuts and chocolate among many others.
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What are some of the symptoms of someone with low levels (deficit) of magnesium?

Magnesium deficiencies can often be found in people who follow diets low in fruits and vegetables, rich in refined foods (breads and white rice – which undergo chemical processes that remove most of their natural magnesium, along with other nutrients), fatty low-nutrient food and alcohol.

Keep in mind that those suffering from gastrointestinal disorders, people who have had severe burns and those chronically enduring psychological or physical stress lose more magnesium than average and are therefore also at risk of suffering form a magnesium deficit. In addition, the bodies capabilities of absorbing magnesium drastically decrease with age and also when experiencing a vitamin D deficiency.

It should also be noted that pregnant and breastfeeding women, athletes, people suffering from great amounts of stress and those recovering from trauma and shock also have the need for increasing their magnesium intake.

A magnesium deficiency affects the whole body. The most common symptoms are:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Apathy
  • Stuffiness
  • Menstrual irregularities and disorders
  • Muscle cramps (especially in the legs, at bedtime) and muscle weakness
  • Increased frequency in muscle injuries
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle tremors

Some studies suggest that a lack of magnesium may play a significant role in the overtime development of cardiac arrhythmias, diabetes, obesity, increased cholesterol, kidney stones, anxiety and depression.
 

Dr. Sanjay GuptaCardiology Specialist

“I believe that many diseases that have become more frequent today are related, at least in part, to magnesium deficiency.”

Why is magnesium supplementation recommended?

If we take into consideration that the estimated majority of the population has some degree of magnesium deficiency, an extra intake of magnesium is recommended to improve overall health, decrease fatigue and even slow down the signs of aging.
 
That said, the following people especially would benefit from including a magnesium supplement into their lives:

  • Students during exams
  • People who suffer from insomnia
  • Sportsmen
  • People suffering from muscular or joint pain
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • People over 40 years old
  • People undergoing physical or emotional stress
  • People who follow a strict and restrictive diet for weight-loss
  • People diagnosed with pre-diabetes
  • People who abuse alcohol

What kind of health benefits does magnesium have?

Supplementing with magnesium can have the following advantages:

  • Improved concentration and memory
  • Relief of insomnia and fatigue
  • Faster recovery after training, faster recovery from muscle injuries
  • Decrease in bone and joint pain
  • Relief in dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)
  • Decreases impotence and relief of decreased libido
  • Increased insulin sensitivity and cholesterol regulation, making it easier to manage weight and blood glucose levels
  • Improved mood and greater ability to cope with stress
  • Improved of cardiovascular health
  • Wrinkle prevention, improvement in the appearance of skin and hair
Middle-aged woman looking into the mirror

Magnesium can slow the effects of aging.
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What types of magnesium are there and which one is the right one for me?

It’s important to keep in mind that regardless of the form the magnesium supplement comes in, our organisms degrades the formulation to use magnesium in its purest form. However, in order to prepare magnesium for consumption and best absorption, laboratories pair it with different ingredients and preparations, to give the supplement special characteristics.

Knowing what the main preparations are, will allow you to choose the supplement that best suits your needs:

  • Magnesium oxide: It is the most common form of this mineral, and it is therefore very cheap. Furthermore, it tastes bad (for this reason, it’s advisable to take it with fruit juices) and should be consumed in small doses 4-5 times a day to ensure proper absorption.
  • Magnesium glycerinate: This preparation binds magnesium to glycine, an amino acid that increases it’s absorption capacity. It acts fast and has a primarily relaxing effect, so it’s advisable to take it at night. It can happen, but it’s unlikely that it can have laxative effects.
  • Magnesium citrate: This is an acid formulation, which can also be used as a laxative. Some studies have alleged this formulation can interfere with the proper metabolism of copper, so people suffering from any liver disorders should first consult their family doctor and consume this formulation with caution.
  • Magnesium threate: This is is one of the most modern forms of magnesium supplementation. Threonate supports magnesium entering directly into the mitochondria (the part of the cell responsible for energy production), making this variation particularly useful for reducing exhaustion and fatigue.
  • Magnesium Sulphate: This formula is not often used used as a supplement, but as a drug to treat seizures in pregnant women. You shouldn’t take this variation of magnesium without it a doctor’s prescription.
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Did you know that magnesium threate is very useful for increasing concentration and treating anxiety and depression?

  • Magnesium taurate: This form has less gastrointestinal side effects, providing you with the benefits of magnesium without any of the laxative effects.
  • Magnesium chloride: Chloride improves the absorption of magnesium, achieving high concentrations of the mineral in a small amount of supplement.
  • Magnesium malate: This formulation incorporates malic acid, an acid often present in fruits. It is highly bioavailable with a great absorption capacity. Individuals taking this supplement report an increase in energy and a decrease in muscle and joint pain.
  • Magnesium carbonate: This is a cheap supplement, with laxative effects, so it is mainly used to treat constipation and heartburn.

What is the recommended dose of magnesium?

The recommended dose of magnesium varies by sex, age, and health specifications:

Population group Recommended daily dose
Infants 0-6 months 30mg
Infants 7-12 months 75mg
Boys 1-3 years 80mg
Boys 4-8 years 130mg
Boys 9-13 years 240mg
Boys 14-18 years 410mg
Women 14-18 years 360mg
Adult men 400-420mg
Adult women 310-320mg
Pregnant women 350-360mg
Men over 40 years 420mg
Women over 40 years 420mg

What is the price range for magnesium supplements?

If you opt for more common formulations of this mineral, such as magnesium oxide or magnesium carbonate, the supplement will be more affordable. Newer and more complex supplements, such as magnesium threonate, will of course be more expensive, but keep in mind it will also have fewer side effects and it will act a lot faster in your organism.

Is it possible to take too much magnesium and what would be the consequence of doing so?

Excess magnesium is excreted in the urine and faeces under natural circumstances. Therefore experience hypermagnesemia (excess magnesium) is very rare. When it does happen it is often related to poor kidney or gastrointestinal function. If you have any kidney disease (such as kidney failure) or gastrointestinal (such as Crohn’s disease), consult your family doctor before beginning to take a magnesium supplement.

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Hypermagnesemia causes dizziness, muscle weakness, and disturbances in heart rhythm (arrhythmia). Go to your nearest emergency room if you have started taking magnesium supplements and begin to suffer any of these symptoms.

Purchase Criteria

In this section we’ll fo over the most important things to consider when choosing a magnesium supplement. First and foremost, you should keep in mind:

  • Desired effect
  • Side effects
  • Allergens
  • Absorption capacity
  • Mode of ingestion
  • Price

Desired effect

As we have already learned, magnesium is present in more than 300 biochemical reactions throughout our bodies. However, different formulas and preparations can have more potent effects on different areas and systems of the body. If you want to fight stress for example, magnesium glycinate or taurate are the most recommended.

To improve your intellectual capacity however, lean towards magnesium threonate, and if you also want to add a laxative effect, opt for a citrate or magnesium carbonate. Finally, magnesium oxide is a good, balanced and affordable choice if you don’t mind taking it several times a day and can tolerate its taste.

Absorption capacity

As a general rule, cheaper supplements are absorbed more inefficiently and need a higher dose to accomplish the same effect as the more expensive supplement. Keep this in mind when evaluating the quality-price ratio of your supplements.

Allergens

Most magnesium supplements are suitable for vegans, coeliacs, diabetics and those who suffer from nut allergy. Nonetheless, make sure to check the label and don’t hesitate to ask a professional if you’re still in doubt.

Allergic reactions to magnesium chloride have been reported and It’s symptoms include: dizziness, nausea, general redness all over the body and swelling of the airways causing respiratory distress. If you being to experience any of these symptoms, stop taking the supplement and go to your nearest emergency room.

Allergens and additives

Some consumers want a cruelty-free, transgenic or allergen-free product.
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Side effects

The main side effect associated with the ingestion of magnesium supplements is a laxative effect, which can be uncomfortable for many people. If you experience diarrhea, decrease the amount of magnesium you’re taking until your body gets used to it. Eventually, you can begin to gradually increase the amount you take to reach the recommended dose from the manufacturer or your doctor.

People with diabetes, hypertension and heart disease should also consult a healthcare professional about the possible interactions of magnesium with their medication (especially insulin and diabetics). Finally, although magnesium has been shown to help in the treatment of depression and anxiety, antidepressant or anxiolytic medication should not be replaced by a magnesium supplement.

Mode of ingestion

Magnesium supplements can be marketed and presented in different forms:

  • Powder: Easy to mix and it allows for simple adjustments to the dose. These may have a bitter or “earthy” taste.
  • In tablet form: Can be split to adjust the dose, or crushed to mix into a drink or in food. Magnesium oxide will give these tablets a bad taste.
  • In hard capsules: Easy and functional, except for people who have difficulty swallowing.
  • In soft-gels: Easier to ingest than the previous type and it still has all the benefits.

Price

Some consumers will opt for the cheaper formula with less strong effects, while others don’t mind spending more, as long as the quality of the product and its results are excellent. Here is a comparison of the main magnesium supplements available on the market, with their average price and absorption capacity (this is closely related to the potency of it’s effects):

Type of supplement Average price Absorption capacity
Magnesium oxide 3-20$ Medium
Magnesium glycinate 9-60$ High
Magnesium citrate 5-13$ High
Magnesium threate 28-35$ Medium
Magnesium taurate 13-25 $ Medium
Magnesium chloride 10-12$ High
Magnesium malate 8-37$ High
Magnesium carbonate 2-5$ Low

Summary

Magnesium is an essential component for the proper functioning of our body and its needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions within it. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein. Despite it’s importance magnesium deficiencies are extremely common.

Medications like antibiotics, corticosteroids, diuretics and contraceptives hinder our ability to absorb magnesium. Refining and processing strips magnesium from our food. Even agricultural soil and water are being depleted of magnesium. It is no wonder that 68% of adults have trouble getting enough from their diets. It today’s fast paced society, many could benefit from adding a magnesium supplement to their diets.

We hope that with the information available in this article you will be equipped to choose the option that best suits your needs, avoid deception and improve your health. All this without braking the bank!

If you liked our guide to magnesium, please leave a comment with your thoughts and share this article in your social profiles.

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