Magnesium is a vitally important mineral for our health. It is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, which means it plays a role in hundreds of different processes that keep us alive. It is needed for energy... Read more
Magnesium is a vitally important mineral for our health. It is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, which means it plays a role in hundreds of different processes that keep us alive. It is needed for energy production, muscle and nerve function, and for our bones and teeth (about half the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones). Our best sources of magnesium are whole plant foods, such as seeds, nuts, beans and pulses, and green leafy vegetables.
Primary functions of Magnesium
Magnesium may also play a role in healthy blood pressure , normal heart rhythm, supporting insulin sensitivity (healthy blood glucose levels) and supporting sleep, among many other potential roles [3,5].
How much magnesium do we need?
The nutrient reference value for magnesium in the UK is 375 mg for adults. Nutrient reference values refer to the amount needed to ensure that the needs of nearly all the population (97.5%) are being met.
The best common food sources of magnesium are:
Deficiency signs and symptoms*
Some researchers say magnesium deficiency is quite rare . However, others have found that magnesium intakes in industrialized countries are below recommended daily intakes – one reason being the increased consumption of processed foods.[4,5]
Deficiency symptoms may include [3,5]:
*If you experience any of these symptoms, please consult your doctor or health practitioner.
Forms and bioavailability / What to look for when buying a supplement
When looking at magnesium supplements, it’s important to note that some forms of magnesium are more absorbable than others.
In summary, our top recommendations are magnesium glycinate (chelated magnesium) and food-form magnesium, followed by citrate, malate and gluconate. Malate and citrate may be chosen if the person has slow digestive transit (constipation), whereas glycinate or food-form may be better for someone who needs a form that’s gentler on the digestive system.
Dosages: Lifestyle Labs’ recommendations
Adults: Magnesium supplements for adults typically provide between 100 and 400 mg per daily dose (which maybe two or three tabs/capsules). The ideal amount to take can be very individual: some people find they do well on just a small amount, and some regularly take 300 or 400mg. For most people, anywhere within this range is considered safe for daily use as long as it is not causing loose stools; however if you’re regularly taking over 300mg, we would advise making sure you’re getting a good source of other minerals either in a nutrient-rich diet, or in a multi-mineral or multivitamin/mineral supplement taken at a different time of day to the magnesium. Taking more than 400mg per day is not advisable unless recommended by a practitioner.
Children: There are small number of magnesium supplements on the market suitable for children under 12 – they tend to provide up to about 100 or 125mg per daily dose. More than this may be recommended by a healthcare practitioner.
If you are taking any medications or have any medical condition, please consult your healthcare practitioner before taking magnesium.
Magnesium is generally a very safe supplement to take for most people. The primary sign that you’ve taken too much is loose stools – if this happens, lower the dose, or choose one of the gentler forms of magnesium, as we saw above.