Magnesium is an essential mineral and is the fourth most abundant mineral used in the body.
It is an essential cofactor for over 300 enzymatic systems in the body that regulate biochemical reactions. Some of these include protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood pressure maintenance, bone structure, energy production, memory, and detoxification.
In 2015 the Food and Drug Administration concluded that Americans were under consuming magnesium and listed it as a “nutrient of concern”.
Turns out over 60% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. The recommended RDA in men is 400 mg and in women is 310 mg. (older adults and athletes may need 20 – 50 mg more). Deficiency symptoms include anxiety and agitation, restless legs and muscle cramps, sleep disorders, abnormal heart rhythms, poor nail growth, osteopenia and osteoporosis, headaches and in rare cases seizures. Foods high in magnesium include pumpkin seeds, spinach, quinoa, nuts and beans, and chocolate.
Given the high use of magnesium in the body, it is important to get this mineral in foods or supplements if needed.
Choosing the form of magnesium is important. The correct formulation is key to success. Always choose supplements free of fillers, gluten dairy, soy and artificial ingredients.
Magnesium Citrate has higher absorption than other forms of magnesium and is often used to support detoxification and regular bowel movements.
It also helps to prevent the crystallization of calcium in the kidney and is used to prevent the formation of stones. This form of magnesium is excellent for individuals with constipation. It is important to titrate it until optimal results are achieved. Start at doses of 100-150 mg and go up every three days until bowel movements are regular. For those with kidney stones, a daily dose of 100-200 mg may be enough to aid in prevention.
Magnesium Glycinate is the most highly bioavailable form of magnesium.
It is the most soluble, so it does not have a laxative effect like the citrate formulation and thus is not helpful for those with constipation and problems with evacuation. Magnesium glycinate is very tolerate as it is chelated and less likely to cause GI symptoms. This formulation is optimal for treatment or prevention of headaches, sleep disturbances and restless legs and muscle cramps. Doses can be divided into twice a day and should never exceed 600 mg unless recommended by your physician.
Magnesium L-Threonate is a special form of magnesium as it can cross the blood-brain barrier. This formulation was found to augment synapse enhancing memory and learning in rodents. In humans, a clinical trial showed Magnesium L-Threonate supported cognitive abilities in older adults. This formulation would be best for those struggling with brain fog, cognitive decline and anxiety, and agitation. Doses for these are variable but should start at 200 mg daily and increased to 200 mg twice a day if tolerated.
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