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The Power of Magnesium For Your Body

The Power of Magnesium For Your Body

Peter Coss |

Ah, magnificent magnesium! It’s often referred to as the “neglected mineral you cannot live without.” More fascinating health benefits of magnesium are being discovered each year, along with uncovering the many adverse body conditions for lack of magnesium.

It’s crucial to maintain a certain level of magnesium in the body since this naturally-occurring element is vital for scores of functions related to human health. Magnesium deficiency can be a source of health issues ranging from mild to severe. 

Among other things, magnesium helps control blood pressure. It maintains a steady heart rhythm and aids in keeping the bones strong. In blood sugar management, magnesium is a regulating mineral. Magnesium also helps preserve healthy muscle and nerve function. Some people find they get more restful sleep because of magnesium.

How Magnesium Works

Compelling data has been discovered in recent years highlighting connections between physiological pathways and magnesium. Research reveals as many as 300 functions of magnesium as an important cofactor for enzymes - to create cellular energy, regulate concentrations of other minerals, and to repair and protect proteins and DNA.

The energy-storage molecules in our bodies called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) can’t function without magnesium! One professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center explains that magnesium deficiency shuts down the Vitamin D synthesis and metabolism pathway.

Magnesium’s Link to Our Diet, Habits, and Diseases

Given the popularity of avocados, dark chocolate, and almonds in today’s menus, you would think that everyone should have plenty of magnesium in their diet. But the National Institutes of Health reports that “Dietary surveys of people in the United States consistently show that intakes of magnesium are lower than recommended amounts.”

While it is possible to eat enough foods rich in magnesium to stay healthy, the majority of people do not. What are the most common reasons for widespread magnesium deficiency? A dietary intake of magnesium that’s too low is obvious, and that’s often due to poor eating habits. But a poor diet is only one consideration.

In addition to eating too little magnesium, there are particular conditions or diseases that increase the possibility of magnesium deficiency. Alcohol use, too much sugar or caffeine, lack of sleep, excessive sweating, chronic diarrhea, conditions related to diabetes or acute kidney failure, high blood calcium level, celiac, IBS, malnutrition, and certain medications - any of these could lead to low magnesium levels.

Try Our Magnesium L-Threonate

Magnesium L-Threonate is a premium magnesium supplement developed by MIT researchers. It is the only form of Magnesium shown to deliver elemental magnesium directly to the brain, and has been found to offer a number of cognitive benefits in addition to the typical benefits of magnesium supplements.

Learn More about Magnesium L-Threonate

What Happens When Magnesium is Too Low?

magnesium doctor

A genuine deficiency may not become obvious until magnesium levels are very low. Some signs that you may be deficient in magnesium include:The medical condition is technically called hypomagnesemia. The number of people who definitely have this ailment is actually quite low (less than 2% of Americans), but studies indicate that half to three-quarters of the US population isn’t reaching the amount of daily magnesium from food that’s recommended for optimum health.

  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Mental disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Osteoporosis
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Kidney problems
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle twitches, tremors, and cramps
  • In worst case scenarios, seizures or convulsions

Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed since the symptoms can mimic a plethora of other medical problems. If you suspect magnesium may be part of the health issues you have, you should bring it up with your physician. Your doctor can order a simple blood test, similar to other blood tests, to determine your current magnesium level.

You definitely don’t want to consume too much magnesium (since that’s also unhealthy), but it’s well worth investigating the lack of magnesium signs and symptoms you may have experienced. A shortage of magnesium could be to blame for other physical symptoms that aren’t on this list.

How Much is Enough?

useful chart from the Linus Pauling Institute (a research institute with a focus on health maintenance) helps spell out daily magnesium recommended intakes for adults, based on their age and sex.

As a general rule, it’s a little over 300 mg per day for women and about 400 mg per day for men. The need for magnesium rises somewhat as we age. Children require far less magnesium than adults, but their need for it begins to increase at puberty.  

Best Foods for Magnesium Intake

magnesium foods

Similar to other minerals and vitamins, it’s best to acquire the bulk of your magnesium in the diet by making good food choices, and then add supplements if it’s medically determined to be necessary for your health. The chart mentioned above clearly indicates that no one should be getting more than 350 mg of magnesium per day just from supplements, as that amount is considered the upper limit the human body can safely tolerate.

It comes as no surprise that the foods naturally rich in magnesium are already promoted for their excellent health properties. You could probably venture a guess as to which foods are on this list! Dark leafy greens, whole grains, bananas, legumes (which includes beans of all varieties, lentils, chickpeas, etc.), dark chocolate, seeds, nuts, avocados, and certain types of fatty fish like salmon, halibut and mackerel are among the best choices for providing dietary magnesium.

What if Dietary Magnesium Isn’t Enough?

Magnesium supplements, when you need them, come in various forms. The absorption of magnesium from different types of supplements varies, and there are also some distinctions in what they are best for treating. Ones that dissolve well in liquid are more completely absorbed in the digestive tract.


Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, a naturopathic physician who has appeared on CNN’s “HealthWatch”, Fox and NBC news affiliates, describes the popular types of magnesium supplements:

  1. Magnesium chloride - Perhaps the most popular magnesium supplement on the market, is argued to be the most effective form.  It organically encourages sleep, digestion, bone health and a sense of calm (both mental and physical). That said, supplementing with this form of magnesium may cause diarrhea.
  1. Magnesium sulfate - Otherwise known as Epsom salts, magnesium sulfate has long been a boon for athletes - or, really, anyone with sore muscles; it’s also widely known for its laxative effects.
  1. Magnesium citrate - derived from citric acid. With excellent bioavailability (the efficacy with which a substance is absorbed and used by the body) it’s one of the most highly recommended magnesium supplements. Often used to naturally support digestion, it’s also easy on the wallet. However, it may lead to dehydration (and imbalance of minerals that arrives with this) in that it pulls water into the intestines.
  1. Magnesium oxide - With lower levels of bioavailability, it scores only 4 percent, while magnesium citrate has a bioavailability of 90 percent. It’s found in Milk of Magnesia and similar products, and, as such, organically encourages improved digestion.
  1. Magnesium glycinate - Feeling stressed? This may be the form for you. While magnesium in its many different forms has been shown to naturally support muscle relaxation, magnesium glycinate might just take the cake (note: the amino acid glycine is known for the calming impact it can have on the mind and body). Additionally, it has optimum bioavailability and, unlike some of its kin, isn’t known for its laxative properties.
  1. Magnesium orotate - Those searching for supplements that may organically encourage heart health might give this type a try. With its inclusion of orotic acid (formerly known as B13), it’s also a favorite among athletes, given that it may naturally support the repair of tissues, as well as enhanced stamina and performance. Magnesium orotate often comes with a heftier price tag.
  1. Magnesium L-threonate - Dubbed a “breakthrough” supplement, magnesium L-threonate possesses good bioavailability but also the potential to improve cognitive functions, with the National Institutes of Health reporting that memory deficits - particularly short term memory loss caused by chronic pain - may be just one of the potential benefits of this form of magnesium.

Magnesium Oil as an Alternative

If you’re among those people who have difficulty absorbing magnesium internally, you might find that applying magnesium topically (on the skin) is more effective, or you could alternate between topical and internal approaches.

Although described as an oil, magnesium oil is actually a mixture of magnesium chloride flakes and water. When combined, the liquid that results has an oily feel, but isn’t technically an oil. When this is applied or sprayed onto the skin, it may be able to raise magnesium levels within the body. Some stand by this method to treat magnesium deficiency, promote relaxation, relieve muscle aches and as a remedy for headaches.

Searching the internet for a magnesium oil spray recipe yields thousands of results. It’s a very simple blend. You can order a bottle online, or better yet, make it yourself using this recipe from

DIY Magnesium Oil Spray Recipe


1/2 cup magnesium chloride flakes

1/2 cup distilled water

a glass bowl or glass measuring cup

a glass spray bottle (this is the one in the picture above)


Boil the distilled water. It is important to use distilled to extend the shelf life of the mixture.

Place the magnesium chloride flakes in the glass bowl or measuring cup and the pour the boiling water over it.

Stir well until completely dissolved. Let cool completely and store in the spray bottle. Can be stored at room temperature for at least six months.

Note: Wellnessmama uses magnesium oil before bedtime and often adds 10 drops of lavender essential oil to the mixture for scent and relaxation.

Give it a Shot

If you'd like to try Magnesium but are unsure which type to try we recommend our Magnesium L-Threonate, which provides all of the benefits of other magnesium supplements while being the only one shown to improve cognitive function.

So whether you’re investigating new approaches with your doctor to pressing health problems like the use of magnesium for hypertension or Type 2 diabetes, seeking relief from anxiety, hoping to eliminate muscle cramps, or simply need nights of more restful sleep, upping your intake of magnificent magnesium could be a significant part of improving your overall health.

Try Our Magnesium L-Threonate

Magnesium L-Threonate is a premium magnesium supplement developed by MIT researchers. It is the only form of Magnesium shown to deliver elemental magnesium directly to the brain, and has been found to offer a number of cognitive benefits in addition to the typical benefits of magnesium supplements.

Learn More about Magnesium L-Threonate