Magnesium is a mineral that’s essential for hundreds of different chemical reactions in your body. Your cells need magnesium to function properly. Magnesium is especially important for the nervous, cardiovascular, and skeletal systems. (1)
These are just a few of magnesium’s many functions:
- Makes communication between neurons possible (2)
- Helps create & repair DNA (3)
- Aids & quickens protein creation (3)
- Activates vitamin D for bone & immune system health (4)
- Serves a vital role in turning carbs, fats & proteins into energy (5)
Most People are Magnesium Deficient
This mineral is so important, yet a large percentage of us humans have a magnesium deficiency! Averages vary by country. Even in the wealthiest nations on Earth, some figures are as high as 70%-80%. (6)
Deficiency is usually misdiagnosed because magnesium in your blood serum makes up only 1% of the amount present within your body. In fact, 80%-90% of it is in your muscles and bones. This makes it hard to estimate just how many people have deficiencies. (6)(7)
This Ultimate Magnesium Supplement Guide is designed to answer all of your questions about magnesium in foods and supplements. It contains over 40 citations of scientific studies and reputable medical websites. If you still have questions or concerns after reading this, don’t be a stranger. Contact us or leave a comment below.
What are the Benefits of Magnesium in Foods & Magnesium Supplements?
The list of magnesium benefits is long, but this is sample of the most popular ones:
- Calms nerves & anxious thoughts (8)
- Reduces the time before falling asleep & increases sleep efficiency, sleep length, melatonin levels & renin levels (9)
- Boosts energy (10)(11)
- Lowers inflammation (12)
- Relieves muscle spasms & cramps associated with magnesium deficiency (13)
- Improves circulation, blood pressure & heart health (14)
- Becomes a woman’s best friend during PMS episodes (15)(16)
- Aids memory & learning (17)
- Prevents bone fractures when magnesium levels are not too high or too low (18)
- Supports joint health & cartilage maintenance (19)
- Aids elimination of waste & draws water to the intestines, keeping you regular (20)
- Enhances sports performance & muscle recovery (21)(22)
- Reduces the need for asthma inhalers (23)
- Boosts insulin resistance (24)
What are the Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency?
The most common signs of magnesium deficiency include: (6)(10)(26)
- Muscle Cramps & Spasms
- Brain Fog & Memory Problems
- Osteoporosis & Brittle Bones
- Tooth Decay
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Anxiety & Depression
- Appetite Loss
Extreme cases may include seizures and convulsions.
Note: If you even have a few of these symptoms, it may not be because of magnesium deficiency. Many of the symptoms appear in other disorders, too. Don’t self-diagnose. Talk to your doctor.
What Foods are Highest in Magnesium?
Greens, nuts, whole grains, beans, and fish are all great sources of magnesium.
Greens: Spinach and Swiss chard seem to be the winners. (25)
Grains: Quinoa is at or near the top of the list of grains. Whole wheat flour rules the flours with six times the amount of magnesium as white flour. (25)
Beans: While all beans are good magnesium sources, black beans deserve a special shout out. (25)
Seeds: Go with pumpkin. Sunflower seeds don’t have nearly as much magnesium as pumpkin seeds, but they have far more of it than most other foods. (25)
List of top foods with high concentrations of magnesium: (26)(27)
- Nuts like almonds, peanuts & cashews
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
- Swiss chard
- Rice, especially brown rice
- Whole wheat
- Pumpkin & sunflower seeds
- Black beans
- Dark chocolate
What are the Different Types of Magnesium Supplements?
Magnesium Taurate *
This is a salt composed of magnesium and the amino acid, taurine. It’s best known for supporting cardiovascular health and for calming the mind. (28)(29)(44)
Water breaks it down into magnesium ions and taurine. Both have strong affinities with GABA receptors, just like benzos, Valium, and alcohol. (30)(31)
GABA is the neurotransmitter that calms mental activity and helps you relax. Without it, you cannot relax or sleep. Both magnesium and taurine also support the heart and blood circulation and help improve cognition.
Magnesium L-Threonate *
This supplement was developed by researchers at MIT and two other universities. Their goal was to create a magnesium supplement that crosses the blood-brain barrier and elevates magnesium levels in the brain and spine.
Magnesium L-threonate – which is patented under the brand name, Magtein – is best-known for improving memory and cognition and for calming anxious and restless thoughts. People also use it to reduce migraine symptoms.
The blood-brain barrier keeps most nutrients, drugs, and toxins from entering the brain through the bloodstream. Magnesium L-threonate gets into the brain easily. This makes it the ideal form for improving brain function.
Magnesium Glycinate *
Widely touted for being among the most bioavailable forms, this one is used to ensure healthy levels of magnesium throughout the entire body. It doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier, though. It’s an excellent complement that partners well with magnesium L-threonate. (32)
Magnesium glycinate is also known for being easy on the digestive system. Magnesium supplements might trigger diarrhea and other symptoms if you take too much. It’s usually temporary. Those who continue to have these problems with other forms often report fewer or no issues with this form. (33)
The glycine and the magnesium both help to calm the mind. (32)
Its reputation for constipation relief contributes to this supplement’s popularity. People seeking magnesium’s laxative effects may choose this form over others. Doctors refer to it as a saline laxative. Another common use is for acid indigestion. It also brings you all the other benefits of magnesium. (34)
Magnesium citrate is a water-soluble salt. Roughly 11% of it by weight is elemental magnesium atoms. That 11% has a higher absorption rate than most other magnesium supplement forms. (43)
“Magnesium flakes” is the common name for this form. The molecule is composed of a magnesium atom and two chlorine atoms, and it’s very water-soluble. (35)
Magnesium chloride absorbs into the body well. (36)
The most common uses are raising blood magnesium levels and reducing heartburn and acid indigestion. (38)
This magnesium salt absorbs into the body very easily. Even among the non-salt forms, it’s known for high absorption. (39)
On the other hand, a 500mg tablet of this stuff may only yield about 25mg of actual magnesium. This is because magnesium is only 5% of the molecule. (40)
Sufferers of leg cramps, migraines, and some intestinal problems turn to this form in large numbers. It also has a reputation for not upsetting the digestive system.
This is the most common form on pharmacy and grocery store shelves. It’s a magnesium salt. It’s known as a general use magnesium supplement. A 500mg dose of this will yield about 300mg of actual magnesium. On the other hand, it doesn’t absorb into the body as well as other forms. This means you might get 4% of the 300mg (36)(37)
If you’re prone to side effects like diarrhea or allergies, try a different form.
This form has proven itself to absorb easily into the body. It’s great for general use, and it absorbs easily. (36)
Users tend to report fewer side effects from it compared to magnesium oxide and some others.
This absorbs well compared to magnesium oxide, the most common supplement form. (36)(37)
Aspartates are amino acids known for increasing absorption of some minerals into the body. Magnesium is one of these minerals. (41)
Better-known as Epsom salts, people use this form for mineral baths. It is common to soak with it to reduce inflammation, aches, muscle soreness, cramps, and stress. There isn’t much scientific research on this yet. Some people use it internally for the magnesium content.
What is the Correct Way to Read a Magnesium Supplement Label?
To learn how much magnesium you’re actually getting, read the label.
If it says, “Magnesium from Magnesium Glycinate – 140mg,” this means you’re getting 140mg of elemental magnesium atoms.
If it says, “Magnesium Glycinate – 1,000mg,” it means you’re getting 1,000mg from magnesium glycinate, not elemental magnesium. Magnesium is about 14% of the magnesium glycinate molecule by weight. Therefore, you’re getting roughly 140mg of elemental magnesium atoms. This is about 1/3 of the recommended daily intake for adult men and a little over 40% for women.
How Much Magnesium Can You Safely Take Each Day?
The recommended daily intake varies by age and gender. Adult men typically need 400mg-420mg. For non-pregnant adult women that number drops to 310mg-320mg. Pregnant women need 350mg to 360mg. Some people need more and some need less. (24)
Excessive alcohol use and some diseases may lower the amount your body uses. High zinc consumption may interfere with absorption, too. You can consume larger amounts of magnesium or take a high-absorption supplement like magnesium glycinate to make up for that. (24)
Overdosing on magnesium is normally not a big deal. You may get diarrhea, but your kidneys – assuming they’re healthy – will get rid of the excess. (24)
Upper limits may vary according to different government agencies and professional associations. Don’t stray too far from the recommended daily intake without consulting with a doctor.
Are There Any Side Effects or Interactions to Worry About?
The most common side effects are loose stools and digestive discomfort. Sometimes that’s temporary, and your body just needs to get used to it. It could also mean you consumed too much and that you should lower your daily dose.
Nausea and vomiting could also happen, but these side effects are less common. (42)
Serious Side Effects
Serious side effects are rare. They include allergic reactions, dangerously low blood pressure, confusion, slow breathing, and coma. Most of these symptoms could mean you have accumulated too much magnesium in your body too quickly. If you experience any of them, get medical attention immediately. (42)
Magnesium may lower the effectiveness of antibiotics. The same goes for bisphosphonates, which are used for osteoporosis. Excessive doses of zinc may block magnesium absorption. So may chronic excessive alcohol use. (24)
Why Does MagEnhance Have 3 Types of Magnesium?
MagEnhance by intelligentlabs is designed to maximize magnesium levels in the brain and the rest of the body while helping to calm the mind and increase cognitive ability.
Magnesium L-threonate (Magtein) is easily absorbed into the brain and central nervous system.
Magnesium glycinate absorbs into the rest of the body efficiently and elevates magnesium levels quickly.
Magnesium taurate calms the mind with the help of taurine.
About This Ultimate Supplement Guide
We hope this guide is helpful. Medical science evolves over time. Therefore, don’t assume we gave you absolutely all the information there is to know about magnesium. No one can promise that.
Also remember that the information is not a substitute for your healthcare provider’s advice. We cannot claim that magnesium supplements cure or treat any disease. We also can’t claim that our content can help you self-diagnose. Only your doctor can provide proper diagnoses and treatments of health conditions.
1. de Baaij JH, Hoenderop JG, Bindels RJ. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiol Rev. 2015; 95(1): 1-46. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25540137
2. Kirkland AE, Sarlo GL, Holton KF. The Rolhttps://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2673882e of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders. Nutrients. 2018;10(6): E730. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024559/
3. Rubin AH, Terasaki M, Sanui H. Major intracellular cations and growth control: correspondence among magnesium content, protein synthesis, and the onset of DNA synthesis in BALB/c3T3 cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1979;76(8):3917-21. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/291049?dopt=Abstract
4. Uwitonze AM, Razzaque MS. Role of Magnesium in Vitamin D Activation and Function J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2018; 118(3):181. Retrieved from https://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2673882
5. Magnesium. Health Encyclopedia. University of Rochester Medical Center. No date. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=Magnesium
6. DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart. 2018; 5(1): e000668. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5786912/
7. Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo). 2017; 2017: 4179326. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637834/
8. Legg TJ. Magnesium for Anxiety: Is It Effective? HealthLine. Reviewed March 20, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/magnesium-anxiety
9. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012; 17(12): 1161-9. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23853635
10. Magnesium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health. No date. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
11. de Baaij JH, Hoenderop JG, Bindels RJ. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiol Rev. 2015; 95(1): 1-46. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25540137
12. Mazur A, Maier JA, Rock E, Gueux E, Nowacki W, Rayssiguier Y. Magnesium and the inflammatory response: potential physiopathological implications. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2007; 458(1): 48-56. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16712775
13. Deans E. A controlled study of magnesium shows clinically significant improvement. Psychology Today. 2018. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201801/magnesium-depression
14. Key minerals to help control blood pressure. Harvard Health Letter. Harvard Medical School. 2019. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/key-minerals-to-help-control-blood-pressure
15. Quaranta S, Buscaglia MA, Meroni MG, Colombo E, Cella S. Pilot study of the efficacy and safety of a modified-release magnesium 250 mg tablet (Sincromag) for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome. Clin Drug Investig. 2007; 27(1): 51-8. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17177579
16. Fathizadeh N, Ebrahimi E, Valiani M, Tavakoli N, Yar MH. Evaluating the effect of magnesium and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplement on the severity of premenstrual syndrome. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010;15(Suppl 1):401-5. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22069417
17. Broder J. Magnesium May Improve Memory. WebMD. Retrieved from 2010. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20100127/magnesium-may-improve-memory
18. Castiglioni S, Cazzaniga A, Albisetti W, Maier JA. Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions. Nutrients. 2013; 5(8): 3022-33. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775240/
19. Magnesium. Arthritis Foundation. No date. Retrieved from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/vitamins-minerals/guide/magnesium.php
20. O’Neill T. Magnesium for Constipation. Michigan Medicine. University of Michigan. No date. Retrieved from http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/MBCP/Magnesium.pdf
21. Zhang Y, Xun P, Wang R, Mao L, He K. Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance. Nutrients. 2017; 9(9): E946. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622706/
22. Chen YJ, Chen HY, Wang MF, Hsu MH, Liang WM, Cheng FC. Effects of magnesium on exercise performance and plasma glucose and lactate concentrations in rats using a novel blood-sampling technique. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009;34(6):1040-7. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20029512
23. Blazek N. Magnesium helps prevent, manage asthma attacks. AANP Annual Meeting Coverage. Clinical Advisor. June 11, 2015. Retrieved from https://www.clinicaladvisor.com/home/meeting-coverage/aanp-2015-annual-meeting/magnesium-helps-prevent-manage-asthma-attacks/
24. Magnesium: Fact Sheet for Consumers. Office of Dietary Supplements. National Institutes of Health. No date. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
25. Magnesium. The World’s Healthiest Foods. No date. Retrieved from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=75
26. Magnesium Rich Food: How much magnesium does your body need and which foods are rich in the mineral? Cleveland Clinic. No date. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15650-magnesium-rich-food
27. Spritzler F. 10 Magnesium-Rich Foods That Are Super Healthy. HealthLine. August 22, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-foods-high-in-magnesium
28. McCarty MF. Complementary vascular-protective actions of magnesium and taurine: a rationale for magnesium taurate. Med Hypotheses. 1996; 46(2): 89-100. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8692051
29. Shrivastava P, Choudhary R, Nirmalkar U, et al. Magnesium taurate attenuates progression of hypertension and cardiotoxicity against cadmium chloride-induced hypertensive albino rats Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2019; 9(2): 119-123. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S222541101730072X
30. Poleszak E. Benzodiazepine/GABA(A) receptors are involved in magnesium-induced anxiolytic-like behavior in mice. Pharmacol Rep. 2008; 60(4): 483-9. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18799816
31. Ochoa-de la Paz L, Zenteno E, Gulias-Cañizo R, Quiroz-Mercado H. Taurine and GABA neurotransmitter receptors, a relationship with therapeutic potential? Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2019; 19(4): 289-291. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14737175.2019.1593827
32. Ginta D. Everything You Should Know About Magnesium Glycinate. HealthLine. Reviewed March 23, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/magnesium-glycinate
33. Wu B. The uses