When dietary sources of magnesium are insufficient for our needs, using magnesium supplements are the answer.
Depending on your general health and medical background, your requirements for the administration and absorption of magnesium may vary.
Magnesium is so essential to health and yet over 60% of Americans are not getting their recommended dietary amount. For a list of foods rich in magnesium click here.
This, combined with diet and lifestyle factors further depleting the stored magnesium inside our bodies, necessitates the consumption of magnesium supplements. If you are over 50, take calcium supplements, drink excessive alcohol or carbonated beverages, have a high sugar diet or a chronic disease such as diabetes, your risk of severe magnesium deficiency drastically increases.
Magnesium deficiency leads to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, kidney disease, calcium buildup i.e. gall stones, fatigue, insomnia, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, muscle spasms, Alzheimer’s and more.
Do you have any of the classic symptoms of magnesium deficiency listed here?
So what are the best magnesium supplements for your needs?
Here are the top 5 preferred types of magnesium commonly found in the majority of readily available supplements on the market today:
Topical formulations of magnesium chloride is absorbed straight into the cells without going through the metabolic processes in the digestive system which results in almost all of it being used by the body.
This means you are less likely to suffer from the laxative side effect that you may find with the other common forms of magnesium supplement.
Because it has a bitter taste, magnesium chloride is more commonly used in the transdermal examples of magnesium supplements – oil, lotion or transdermal patches. This makes it super easy to use by simply spraying or massaging it directly onto your skin.
Because you need a larger mass to get the required amount of magnesium, the tablets of this variation are often quite large so it is commonly found in a powder form.
Magnesium citrate has a higher possibility of causing a laxative effect, especially if you take your whole recommended daily dose in the one go. The dosage is easily controlled by using it in a powder form and making a solution which you then sip throughout the day. Constipation can be a side effect of magnesium insufficiency so if you take magnesium citrate gradually throughout the day, it can have a positive effect of being a gentle laxative.
Magnesium citrate doesn’t dissolve in water so you can either stir it up in some liquid before drinking it, or sprinkle it on your cereals or soup for example.
If you are administered magnesium in this form it usually means you have pressing need for fast uptake of magnesium. It is administered intravenously in hospital to patients at risk of serious magnesium deficiency side effects.
Magnesium gluconate has, in recent years had a new resurgence in domestic use with the development of liposomal magnesium supplements. See below.
This is another very quick acting and well absorbed form of magnesium. You probably know it best from Epsom Salts. These pure magnesium rocks or flakes are dissolved in a hot bath or foot soak so you can up your magnesium uptake while you rest. This is especially good for relieving muscle aches and pains. Click on the picture (right) for more details!
Magnesium sulphate can also be used as an IV administered drug for emergency medicine with great efficacy.
This is used very commonly in magnesium supplement compounds as it is has a high magnesium content to a low mass. However, it is not readily bioavailable with only 4% of the magnesium contained actually being absorbed into the body. The magnesium oxide that is not absorbed is excreted by the digestive system, often in the form of diarrhoea so this is not one of the best magnesium supplements.
Other Forms of Magnesium
This contains magnesium gluconate and magnesium bisglycinate – two of the most easily absorbed forms of magnesium which are encapsulated inside liposomes. The phospholipids transport the magnesium molecules directly into the bloodstream and don’t waste a drop as they deposit it exactly where it is needed, within the cell membrane.
This means no wastage. The only drawbacks with liposomal magnesium are the bitter taste, and the cost. However it is the most effective at delivery and therefore is superior in terms of nutritional value.
Optimal Liposomal Magnesium by Seeking Health is among the best liposomal magnesiums on the market.
This is a specific category of oral magnesium supplements that you should look for.
When magnesium is chelated, it simply means it is easier for the body to absorb therefore you will have a higher rate of absorption of the mineral. Chelation of magnesium bounds mineral molecules to negative ions which makes it more likely to make it all the way to the small intestine before its absorption begins. Magnesium citrate is commonly found as a chelated version.
Is there anything to avoid?
Always check the label for dosage and ingredients. Mineral supplements should be organic where possible and avoid too many additives especially those which have no added health benefit whatsoever such as magnesium stearate.
Magnesium toxicity is super rare as the body tends to self regulate absorption of magnesium and excrete the rest that is not needed. However it is recommended to stick to the recommended daily intake of 320-420mg per day (NIH) with your supplements while maintaining a balanced and nutrition-rich diet.
When selecting the best magnesium supplements for your personal use remember this:
Magnesium chloride and magnesium gluconate are by far the best absorbed and gluconate has the least GI disturbances. Of these two, the mode of delivery is the next consideration.
Magnesium chloride is available as an oral liquid such as Nutricology Magnesium Chloride Liquid however stomach upsets are a common side effect to oral use.
Magnesium chloride is best found in topical oils such as Dr. Barbara Hendel’s Magnesium Oil .
Gluconate is most commonly found in IV magnesium therapy or in liposomal magnesium liquid which is the best absorption rate of all the magnesium forms.
If you want the laxative effect, then go with magnesium citrate powder with a gradual dose.
Please consult a physician before commencing magnesium therapy if you are on medication, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have chronic kidney or liver disease.