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Magnesium is sometimes called the miracle nutrient because it participates in nearly 300 biochemical reactions in our body. Every cell in your body needs magnesium to function at its optimal level. Magnesium takes care of almost everything from the health of your heart to the strength of your bones.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is a micronutrient mineral that is most abundant in the body. About 60% of the magnesium is in the bone, 20% is present in the skeletal muscle, 19% in soft tissues, and less than 1% in the extracellular fluid. It helps maintain healthy blood pressure, aids a steady heartbeat, and promotes healthy blood sugar in the body. Because this vital nutrient plays many roles, it is hard to confine it to just a few functions.
Since it cannot be made by the body, you need to get it from your diet through food and supplements. Magnesium plays a broader role in your health and wellbeing; hence getting enough of this nutrient has short and long-term benefits. Here are some top benefits of getting adequate magnesium in your diet.
Health benefits of magnesium
Needed for energy: Magnesium is a crucial nutrient that is necessary to turn food into energy. The conversion of food into energy requires numerous magnesium-dependent reactions. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of every cell, requires magnesium to form a complex. This complex is readily transported to other parts such as muscles and liver for energy consumption. Studies show that most chronic fatigue syndrome patients are deficient in magnesium which causes muscle weakness and low energy levels.
Production of molecules: Magnesium is necessary to produce crucial biological compounds that are made primarily of protein. Examples include DNA, RNA, enzymes, and coenzymes. Magnesium also plays a critical structural role in bones, chromosomes, and cell membranes.
Maintains heart rhythm: Magnesium is an electrolyte nutrient; it is involved in the active transport of ions such as potassium, sodium, and calcium across the cell membranes. Because of its role in the ion transport system, magnesium is involved in muscle contraction, the transmission of nerve impulses, and normal heart rhythm.
Promotes blood sugar balance: Research shows low magnesium levels could cause insulin resistance, a primary reason for developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance happens when the cells stop being responsive to insulin presence and glucose cannot enter the cell quickly. It results in a build-up of sugar in the blood leading to type 2 diabetes. Studies show that adequate magnesium levels in the body prevent insulin resistance, thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Helps maintain blood pressure: Magnesium and calcium work in tandem to regularize blood pressure levels. When the body levels of magnesium are low, calcium levels also get low, resulting in high blood pressure. A study involving 241,378 participants found that including magnesium-rich foods in the diet can reduce the risk of stroke by 8 percent.
Reduces the risk of osteoporosis: Research reveals that low levels of magnesium to be linked to osteoporosis in postmenopausal and older adults. Evidence suggests that magnesium supplementation increases bone density or prevents bone loss in 80% of osteoporotic patients.
May help improve mood: An increasing number of studies suggest that a magnesium-rich diet helps reduce anxiety, stress, depression and improve mood levels. A review of 18 studies found that magnesium supplementation helped reduce anxiety among subjects, indicating its beneficial effects. Magnesium regulates the neurotransmitters such as melatonin (the sleep hormone) and GABA (calming and relaxing agent). Due to this effect, it may play a crucial role in improving mood levels and alleviating depression.
Could help alleviate migraine: Studies show that people that are low in magnesium are more susceptible to migraine and other headaches compared to those with normal magnesium levels. Low magnesium levels lead to constriction of blood vessels and changes in neurotransmitter levels resulting in migraine headaches. The American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society concluded in their evidence-based guideline update that magnesium therapy is likely helpful for preventing migraines.
Reduces the risk of heart disease: Research shows that having low magnesium levels increases the risk of heart disease. This is likely because of magnesium’s role in regulating blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which are direct factors determining an individual’s heart health. For this reason, improving magnesium levels by including magnesium-rich foods and supplements could lower the risk of heart disease. One random controlled trial confirmed a possible association between modestly lower risk of heart disease and increased magnesium consumption in men. The researchers of this study concluded that it is reasonable to encourage diets high in magnesium to lower heart disease risk. 
Is there a need to supplement?
Even though it is the most abundant nutrient in the body, surprisingly, many of us are low on this essential nutrient. Data analysis from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 2013-2016) found that 48% of Americans of all ages get less magnesium from food than their estimated average requirements. This could be attributed to low magnesium levels in the soil, inadequate consumption of magnesium-rich foods, malabsorption issues, overconsumption of alcohol and processed foods. Besides these, an increase in the use of prescription medications could also lead to magnesium deficiency.
Groups that are at a risk of magnesium deficiency
Type 2 diabetes patients,
Individuals with gastro-intestinal issues,
Chronic alcoholics, and the
In addition, a chronically low intake of magnesium can impact the biochemical pathways of the body, which could increase the risk of illness over time. If you are low on magnesium, it is essential to include high-quality supplements to prevent deficiency and chronic diseases.
Some tips for choosing magnesium supplements
Magnesium supplements are available in many forms, and their bioavailability differs based on the form. Some common magnesium forms include an oxide, glycinate, sulfate, citrate, to name a few. No matter which forms of magnesium supplement you choose, it is essential to look for the following in your supplement,
Quality: It is essential to choose a supplement formulated with high-quality ingredients and has the proper dosage. The recommended dose for magnesium supplements ranges from 200- 400 mg per day. Choosing your magnesium supplement from a reputed manufacturer assures quality and safety.
Type: The type of magnesium is critical to ensure that your body absorbs the nutrient from the supplement. Avoid supplements in magnesium oxide forms; it tends to form clusters of water and result in a laxative effect. Choosing magnesium supplements in chelated form ensures safe delivery of the nutrient without undesirable side effects.
Bioavailability: Bioavailability is the percentage of the nutrient that is available to the body. Higher the bioavailability, better the supplement’s intended benefits. Most bioavailable magnesium supplements are bound to other compounds and are called chelated magnesium. Examples include magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate.
Here are our recommendations for the best bioavailable magnesium supplements.
Magnesium Glycinate by Pure Encapsulations: The elemental magnesium is offered in a chelated form as magnesium glycinate. This chelated form is less likely to cause intestinal discomfort such as loose stools than other forms of magnesium. Magnesium glycinate is well absorbed by the body. The amino acid glycine is often used to lower inflammation and for its calming effects. When presented as the chelated magnesium glycinate, it may help promote better sleep and relieve anxiety. The supplement offers 120 mg of elemental magnesium in the form of magnesium glycinate in one capsule.
Magnesium Citrate by Pure Encapsulations: The formulation is a combination of magnesium and citrate made with hypoallergenic ingredients. The supplement is non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan. Magnesium citrate is the most popular form of chelate in the supplement market. It is well absorbed by the body. The formulation offers 150 mg of elemental magnesium as magnesium citrate in one capsule.
Tri-Magnesium by Integrative Therapeutics: This is a vegan, gluten-free supplement that offers 300 mg of elemental magnesium in a highly bioavailable form. The formulation presents magnesium in three forms that is in a specific blend. The blended magnesium complex is well absorbed by the body and utilized. The supplement is suitable for individuals looking for dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance ( RDA) for adults (19 – 51 years) is 400- 420 mg per day for men and 300- 320 mg/day for women. People over 51 years are recommended 420 mg of magnesium per day to compensate for the poor absorption and low intake from food.
The above recommended products meet the high standards of quality, type, and bioavailability set for magnesium supplements. The magnesium combination in these formulations is free of unwanted additives and are readily absorbed and used by the body.
 Rude RK, Shils ME. Magnesium. In: Shils ME, Shike M, Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006:223-247.