Are you suffering from symptoms such as muscle cramps, headaches, constipation, nausea, vomiting and irritability? If so, you may have magnesium deficiency.

This essential mineral is involved in the activity of hundreds of enzymes in the human body, playing a vital role in energy production, nerve function, muscle contraction, blood pressure, bone structure, and regulation of heart rhythm.

Why are so many deficient?

Severe deficiency is rarehowever many people have low or suboptimal magnesium levels. There are a few reasons why you could be deficient:

Dietarychoices Experts believe that the Western diet is to blame. Abundant with processed and refined foods, it lacks in many nutrients, including magnesium.

Soil depletionModern agricultural methods and the use of fertilisershave resulted in soil mineral depletion.

MedicationsThe use of certain types of medications, such as diuretics, antibiotics, and proton pump inhibitors can cause low levels of magnesium.

Health conditionspoorly controlled diabetes, renal disease, and gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and coeliac disease can all lead to malabsorption of magnesium.

AlcoholismMagnesium deficiency is very common in alcoholics.

AgeMagnesium absorption and intake tends to decrease with age.

Genetic A very rare gene-mutation is associated with magnesium deficiency.

Food sources of magnesium

Green leafy vegetable (such as spinach, Swiss chard, and kale), Nuts and seeds (such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and hazelnuts), beans, milk, figs, brown rice,cocoa powder, molasses, pineapple, okra, and bananas are some of the food sources of magnesium

Magnesium supplements

Although it is always best to get nutrients from food whenever possible, most people cannotobtain sufficient magnesium from food, even if their diet is a balanced whole foods diet.

There are many types of magnesium supplements. Oral magnesium supplements are available as tablets, capsules, or powders, while topical magnesium comes in the forms of spray, oil or cream. There are also magnesium bath salts.

Choosing the right magnesium supplement can prove difficult. Magnesium in its pure form is unstable, so it is typically bound to another molecule. This is why supplements are available in many forms, such as magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, magnesium chloride, magnesium glycinate, magnesium orotate, magnesium sulphate, magnesium aspartate, and magnesium acid chelate.


Which magnesium should I take?

Studies suggest that magnesium that is in the glycinate form especially, but alsointhe aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride forms, is absorbed more completely and is more bioavailable than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulphate.

The magnesium in the form of magnesium acid chelate, as in BioCeuticals Ultra Muscleze Night powder, is highly absorbable. The magnesium is attached to multiple amino acids, including glycine, which makes it highly stable. This form doesn’t break down in the digestive process and is easily digested without causing any gastrointestinal upset or diarrhoea, and with highly effective absorption across the gut wall into the blood stream.

Using a supplement in the form of powder can enhance absorption, especially if you’re suffering from digestive problems.

For those who prefer the convenience of tablets, Ethical Nutrients Mega Magnesium contains a similar highly absorbable magnesium amino acid chelate that contains glycine.

Magnesium chloride, the form that is found in Amazing Oils Magnesium Spray has been found to be rapidly absorbed through the skin to relieve aches and pains. It is naturally form of magnesium,organically sourced from the pristine Salt Lakes of Australia.

The bottom line

Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms. Choosing a highly absorbable form and taking the right dose will help you get enough magnesium for your needs. Always read the label to check the amount of elemental magnesium in the product, which is the dose of the actual magnesium rather than the weight of the entire magnesium-containing compound.