Magnesium - The Most Important Mineral In The Body

January 22, 2021 5 min read

Magnesium - The Most Important Mineral In The Body

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body, and is often extremely overlooked when it comes to either supplementation or increasing intake from our diet.  We hear a ton about things like Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc, and other nutrients, but if you are an active individual, or you are stressed, or both - you may want to read further.  

What is Magnesium? 

Like we mentioned, magnesium is a mineral and it is actually the most abundant mineral in the body, meaning that the body needs A LOT of it.  One of the main reasons it needs so much is because magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body - meaning those reactions cannot occur without magnesium in the equation.  Another reason our body needs so much is because when the body is under stress, magnesium is one of the first things to be depleted or used up.  Which makes sense since it is required for so many different things within the body.  

The best analogy we can use here is to think of your car.  If you drive the car pretty normally, the gas will last a while, but if you’re constantly revving the engine, speed up super fast and then slam on the brakes over and over again, the car is going to use way more gas than it normally would.  That is basically how our body responds under stress - when we’re constantly revving the engine or speeding up, our body is going to ‘burn through’ way more nutrients trying to keep up. 

A lot of people don’t realize that they may be deficient in Magnesium either because unfortunately, blood work tests for magnesium are not extremely accurate.  When we serum test for magnesium, we’re only seeing about 1% of total magnesium in the vein, and that 1% protects the heart.  Basically that magnesium is our reserve storage for when we’rereally, really low in it.  In fact, a lot of individuals are actually deficient in magnesium as some research studies show it is one of the top nutrient deficiencies in the population.  

What Does Magnesium Do? 

Magnesium’s functions within the body are very diverse, including regulating muscle contractions, oxygen delivery, and even initiating protein synthesis [1].  Research has also shown that magnesium may even play a role in insulin sensitivity because low levels of magnesium can decrease the body’s ability to mediate blood sugar uptake into the cells [2]. Insulin sensitivity is important for reaching our physical goals because it allows the body to utilize glucose more efficiently and improve our body’s metabolic ability. 

One of the other main benefits of magnesium is that it has been shown to aid in sleep quality and help you relax.  This is why we’ve included it in our SLEEP formula along with GABA which helps create a relaxed state to sleep.  One study took test subjects and randomly assigned them to a magnesium group, where they supplemented with 500mg per night, and at the end of the 8 weeks, the magnesium group showed significant increases in sleep time and efficiency compared to the placebo group [3].  

The benefits are pretty vast, some key things magnesium has been shown to benefit include: 

  • Reducing anxiety, stress, and improving relaxation since magnesium supports the adrenal stress response.
  • Promoting healthy hormone levels within females because of it supports the detoxification pathways. Magnesium helps the liver with the detoxification of excess unwanted hormones. 
  • Preventing and easing PMS cramps and pain. 
  • Assisting with constipation - a specific form of magnesium called magnesium citrate is a healthy, all natural way to help manage constipation by pulling water into the stool. 
  • Reducing migraines - a specific form of magnesium called magnesium oxide, is often used to treat migraines.
  • Supports thyroid health.  There has been a correlation between magnesium levels and thyroid health, and magnesium is also important for absorption of Vitamin D which also supports the thyroid (SOURCE). 
  • Slowing the effects of aging because chronically low magnesium can result in excessive production of free radicals and produce low levels of inflammation within the body.  

What Does Magnesium Deficiency Look Like? 

Since magnesium is utilized in so many different ways within the body, it is obviously nearly impossible to say whether what you are feeling is directly related to a magnesium deficiency, but there are some common signs and symptoms that can definitely benefit from getting more magnesium into our day to day. 

  • Kreb Cycle Related Symptoms - Constant Fatigue, Brain Fog, Never Feeling Rested 
  • Leg Cramps
  • Heart Palpitations 
  • Migraines - Sometimes this can actually be due to the fact of too high of vitamin D without enough magnesium as magnesium is necessary for the conversion of Vitamin D to active form.  
  • Bad PMS symptoms for females. 
  • Stomach spasms which can often feel like heartburn.

Different Types of Magnesium 

There are actually 10 different types of magnesium, but we are going to only focus on the main three forms that we see the most used within supplements.  

Magnesium glycinate -This form research shows is the best absorbed form by the body, easiest on the stomach, and is commonly used for managing stress, anxiety, and muscle cramps. 

Magnesium citrate -This form is utilized mainly to treat constipation. 

Magnesium oxide -This form is the most commonly sold and has mostly been shown to help with headaches and migraines, but be careful because this one tends to be the lowest quality when produced and doesn’t always digest great within the body. 

Then if you’ve ever taken an epsom salt bath to relax or soothe your muscles, you have used magnesium supplementation before!  Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate. 

Where Can You Get Magnesium? 

Magnesium can be found in a number of foods, but one of the main reasons magnesium has become such a common deficiency is because with current agriculture, we have dug really, really deep into soil to plant.  The lower we go, the less nutrients there are - so we are actually getting less nutrients from our food than we used to.  With that being said, these are the main food sources of magnesium you can consume:

  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Cocoa powder
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Cashews
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Oatmeal

The RDA for magnesium is 400mg/day, which you can get a portion of from your foods, if you consume many of the foods listed above, but supplementing can also be beneficial, especially if you related to any of the symptoms or ways that magnesium can help listed earlier.  Magnesium is a really safe supplement for the majority of the population, and if you choose to start supplementing, a safe starting dose is around 300-400mg/day.  Some studies use doses of 600 mg/day for certain conditions, reinforcing the need for higher doses at times.  It's best to discuss the dose that's best for you with your primary healthcare provider - especially if you’re on blood pressure medication or heart rhythm control - both of which magnesium can HELP with - but you want to adjust medications lower since now taking magnesium. 


[1] - Williams, M. H. Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance: Minerals.

[2] - Rumawas, M. E., McKeown, N. M., Rogers, G., Meigs, J. B., Wilson, P. W., & Jacques, P. F. (2006). Magnesium intake is related to improved insulin homeostasis in the framingham offspring cohort. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 25(6), 486-492.

[3] - Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: a double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 17(12).

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