Magnesium is one of many essential nutrients our bodies need to maintain health. Humans have used this element for medicinal purposes since ancient times, and it continues to be popular today. With so many forms of magnesium available, it’s important to know which are beneficial and which types are better avoided.
All magnesium is not the same. Find out which ones best meet your needs.
Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element, comprising approximately two percent of Earth’s crust. Although found in nature, such as in seawater, rocks, and mineral deposits, magnesium is not found alone but in combination with other elements.
The body doesn’t naturally produce magnesium, so we must get it from food or supplements. Bones, electrolyte balance, metabolism, nerves, muscles, and the heart need magnesium to function properly. Approximately one percent of magnesium in the human body is in the blood, and the rest is stored in bones and tissues.
The recommended amount of magnesium for men is 400-420 mg daily, and for women, 310-320 mg.
Choosing the right magnesium supplement can significantly impact your health and well-being. Each form of magnesium offers unique benefits and is suited for different health needs. Here’s a look at some of the best forms of magnesium and their specific advantages.
Combining citric acid with magnesium creates magnesium citrate — most commonly used to treat constipation. It works by increasing the amount of water absorbed by the intestines, known as an osmotic laxative. Other uses include reducing migraines, helping anxiety, managing type 2 diabetes, and lowering blood pressure.
When the amino acid glycine is combined with magnesium, it creates magnesium glycinate. This form of magnesium has better bioavailability and is less likely to cause digestive issues. Available as a pill or a powder that can be mixed with water, it’s used as a sleep aid, to elevate mood, and to relieve anxiety.
When the amino acid taurine is combined with magnesium, it creates magnesium taurate. This form of magnesium is touted for having a protective effect on cardiac health, as it promotes lower blood pressure and regulates blood sugar levels.
When magnesium is combined with (a derivative of) malic acid, it creates magnesium malate. This form of magnesium supports muscle health and cellular energy production. Malate plays an important role in the Krebs Cycle, which is a metabolic pathway related to metabolism. Magnesium malate is also believed to help fight fatigue and aid recovery from exercise.
When magnesium is combined with threonic acid, it creates magnesium threonate. Because this formulation increases magnesium levels in the brain, it is believed to improve cognitive function, working memory, and learning ability. Research even shows (although more testing is needed) that magnesium L-Threonate can lower functional brain age.
People should check with their doctor before taking magnesium supplements if they use any of the following: quinolone or tetracycline antibiotics, anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs, diabetes (blood sugar lowering) medicine, blood pressure medication, and diuretics.
Pumpkin and chia seeds contain the highest amount of magnesium. Other magnesium-rich foods include nuts, leafy greens, tofu, whole grains, peanut butter, and fatty fish.
Magnesium supplements come in various forms, but not all are equally beneficial. Magnesium oxide, the most popular type sold in pharmacies, may reduce the effectiveness of other medications. Also concerning are Magnesium Aspartate and Magnesium Glutamate because of the additional ingredients — glutamic acid and aspartic acid, that are added. These compounds can become neurotoxic, posing potential health risks. You should carefully consider the type of magnesium supplement you choose and seek professional advice when necessary.
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