Why everyone needs Magnesium
Find out if you’re getting enough and what you can do to support good magnesium levels.
What is magnesium needed for
- Essential mineral nutrient used in the body for over 300 different functions
- Important for energy production, muscle, nerve, and immune cells
- Building strong bone and for keeping a regular heartbeat.
- Helps level out blood glucose levels and aids in long lasting energy production.
- Low magnesium levels linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, low bone mineral density, increase fracture risk, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
Where do we get it from?
- Sourced from plants
- Anything green and leafy
- Raw cacao
- Nuts and seeds
Why does quality matter?
- Poor quality soil grows mineral deficient plant foods
- Modern farming practices reduce magnesium absorption in to plants
- Former hunter-gatherer societies consumed twice as much magnesium as today
- Inefficient magnesium absorption from modern food and drink
- Stress, excessive caffeine, fizz, and sugar intake increase magnesium needs
- Certain medications all increase magnesium losses through urine.
- Poor digestion reduces magnesium absorption
Do I need a Supplement?
- Consider diet, current blood levels, symptoms of magnesium deficiency and the presence of magnesium depleters
- Start by addressing sleep with magnesium before bed
Dosage and form
- Start at 350-400 mg daily
- Consider in respect to your current dietary intake, symptom severity, and gut tolerance.
- Quality is key
- Magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate for high bioavailability
- Powdered supplements that are mixed with water or capsules containing a free form powder for best absorbability
What is it, why do we need it?
Magnesium is an essential mineral nutrient which is used in the body for over 300 different functions. Taking an even closer look, there are though to be more than 3,500 magnesium-related binding sites (i.e. places where magnesium works) throughout the human body. This means that in addition to being important for bone and heart health, having good body magnesium levels can impact our health in many ways.
This mineral certainly packs a punch for anyone looking for long lasting energy, strength, and focus.
Magnesium has an important place in energy production for our muscle, nerve, and immune cells. It’s critical for building strong bone and for keeping a regular heartbeat. By promoting restful sleep and helping to level out blood sugar, magnesium aids in giving us long-lasting energy levels over the day. Recent population studies have drawn a link between lower magnesium levels and the increase likelihood of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, low bone mineral density, increase fracture risk, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
Roles of magnesium in the body:
- Activating muscles and nerves
- Creating energy in your body
- Helping digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
- Regulating blood pressure
- Forming bone structure
- RNA and DNA synthesis
- Natural antioxidant production
- Making neurotransmitters like serotonin
Where do we get it from?
Most of our body’s magnesium is sourced from plant-based foods with green leafy vegetables being at the top of the list. In plants, Magnesium is the centre element of chlorophyll. Anything green and leafy is often a good source. Seaweeds, nutritional algae products, and grasses (such as spirulina, chlorella, barley, and wheat grass) also pack a magnesium-loaded chlorophyll punch.
Dark chocolate, and even more so raw cacao, is an excellent source of magnesium. A 100g bar with greater than 80% cocoa solids may have upwards of 300 mg of magnesium, coming close to meeting the RDI.  
As a healthy magnesium loaded alternative to traditional chocolate, combine raw cacao powder with avocado and soft dates to make a creamy mouse. In addition to raw cacao, an average medium size avocado may provide up to 60 mg and one medjool date will provide another 13 mg of magnesium. 
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for Magnesium in New Zealand and Australia is 420 mg for adult men and 320 mg for adult women.These values and based in assumptions from studies conducted in the 1980’s. Values were determined suing “best indicator of adequacy currently available that allows an individual to maintain total body magnesium over time”
Some beans, nuts, and seeds can also be good sources of Magnesium. Nut and seed butters such as almond or sunflower seed butter are great sources as when broken down to a pulp or butter. In this form, the minerals become more bioavailable for absorption.
Quick tips for loading more magnesium into your diet:
- Vegetable juice plus add ½ teaspoon spirulina or chlorella
- Chocolate avocado mouse with cacoa powder and a topping of chopped nuts
- Add cacao powder and almond butter to a smoothie or oats for an energy loading-magnesium punch.
- Check out my raw cacao nut butter freezer chocolate recipe
Why does quality matter?
For plants to become rich food sources of magnesium, they need to grow in good quality mineral-rich soil. Plants grown in magnesium deficient soil make for poor sources of dietary magnesium. Modern farming practices such as the use of pesticides (namely glyphosate) are believed to play a role by blocking the uptake of minerals into plants.
A key issue with our modern soil and food supply is that, in contrast to the diets from former hunter-gatherer societies, today’s average dietary intake is nearly half of what it used to be. Meanwhile, our metabolism and ability to absorb magnesium from food has not changed. This means, today we’re more likely to have inefficient magnesium absorption from food. 
While there is enough magnesium in our food and drink to prevent overt magnesium deficiency, for many of us the current levels in our food might not be high enough to keep optimal blood levels.
Studies showing when blood magnesium levels are increased using supplementation, there is a corresponding reduced rick in various conditions such as coronary artery disease or osteoporosis.
There are also many caveats in modern lifestyle leaving to increased magnesium needs. A high stress lifestyle paired with excessive caffeine or fizz intake, excess sugar intake, and taking certain medications all increase magnesium losses through urine. An unhealthy digestive system and age-related changes to the gut also reduce mineral absorption.
Factors which increase magnesium needs:
- Excessive caffeine or fizzy dink intake
- Excess sugar intake
- Excess alcohol intake
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Older age
- Certain medications: Diuretics, corticosteroids, antacids, proton pump inhibitors, insulin
- Gut inflammation: Poor digestion, bloating, irregular bowel habits
Do I need a Supplement?
One way to increase your body magnesium levels and ensure you’re in good “magnesium balance” is by using supplemental magnesium.
The best way to asses if and how much magnesium you would benefit from is by considering how much you’re getting from you diet and current blood levels. It’s also important to factor in symptoms of magnesium deficiency and the presence of magnesium depletes in your lifestyle.
Dr Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, has a free quiz available on her website allowing you to consider your personal magnesium needs.
Addressing low magnesium levels with a supplement can have a powerful effect for anyone under stress, having sleeping difficulties, or with any of the other factors listed by Dr Dean in the link above.
Changes you might see after improving your magnesium status.
- Better sleep
- Reduced muscle tightness
- Less hungry between meals
- More energy
Magnesium plays a role in promoting muscle relaxation and restful sleep. As sleep and stress resilience are cornerstones in addressing many health concerns, taking a nightly magnesium supplement a good place to start.
Dosage and form
A supplemental dosage to address deficiency in an adult should start at 350-400 mg daily. As this is the recommended daily intake to prevent deficiency. Taking a supplement any stronger than this should be considered in respect to your current dietary intake, symptom severity, and gut tolerance.
Quality is key with supplements, as with food, it’s about using the best nutrient-dense form and limiting expose to toxic chemicals and residues. Avoid any supplement with questionable encapsulation aids and anti-caking agents. Cheaply sourced minerals also bare the risk of heavy metal contamination.
Certain forms of magnesium have varying degrees of absorbability. Magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate are considered to have the highest bioavailability and are cost effective for correcting deficiency.
Powdered supplements that are mixed with water or capsules containing a free form powder have the best absorbability compared to hard pressed tablets which are difficult to break down in the gut.
In my integrative nutrition practice, I tend to recommend the biosphere magnesium sachets as it ticks all the boxes that I’m looking for in a magnesium supplement. It contains a clinically effective but safe dosage with high absorbability and bioavailability meaning people experience results quickly. They’ve used good quality, all natural ingredients and stayed clear of artificial toxic fillers which is surprising difficult to come across in common supplement retailers. The pleasant flavour, makes it a great tool to use as an alternative to alcohol or sweet drinks in the evening.
Disclaimer: This guide is copyrighted with all rights reserved. The author does not assume any liability for the misuse of information contained herein. The information contained within this guide is offered to provide you with beneficial concepts regarding your health and well-being. The author is not a doctor, nor does she claim to be. Please consult your primary care physician before beginning any program of nutrition, exercise, or remedy. By consulting your primary care physician, you will have a better opportunity to understand and address your particular symptoms and situation in the most effective ways possible.While every attempt has been made to provide information that is both accurate and proven effective, the author and, by extension, the guide, makes no guarantees that the remedies presented herein will help everyone in every situation. As the symptoms and conditions for each person are unique to individual histories, physical conditioning and body type, and the specifics of the actual urinary tract infections, successes will vary.