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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • November 2018
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What is the best magnesium option for you?

The hustle and bustle of the extended holiday season can take a toll not only on our energy and mood, but also on our magnesium levels.

By now, we’ve all heard that magnesium is essential for optimal body function, but did you know that stress can increase the amount of magnesium we lose from our bodies, leading to magnesium inadequacy? Suddenly, we are stuck in a vicious cycle: reacting to stress/losing magnesium. This state then affects our adrenaline and cortisol production, making small stressors cause big reactions and depleting our magnesium stores.

Inadequate magnesium levels can have wide-ranging consequences for your health, so the holidays can be an especially critical time to monitor your consumption. (Aside from stress, other conditions that can cause the body to lose the mineral faster than it can be replenished include intestinal issues, poor diet — sugar! — and alcohol consumption.) You may be suffering from magnesium insufficiency if you experience fatigue, constipation, muscle spasms, high blood pressure or loss of appetite, among other symptoms.

An adequate level of magnesium, which researchers refer to as “the neuro-protector,” is tied to providing health support in these areas: bone creation and integrity; energy production; nervous system balance (including sleep and relaxation); inflammation control; muscle function (heart health); and blood sugar control.

Since average U.S. adults tend to fall short of the recommended 400 mg per day anyway, we should make a conscious effort to eat more magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, pumpkin seeds, summer squash, turnip greens, sesame seeds, black beans, quinoa, cashews, avocados, oily fish and seaweed.

Adding a magnesium supplement to your diet can also help, especially during the holiday season. Since there are several forms, each with slightly different benefits, the selection process can be confusing. How do you know which one is best for you? The breakdown below may help.

First, it is useful to know that magnesium ions must be bound to another compound in order to be stable. While these supplements all provide elemental magnesium, they are also supplying additional substances that provide distinct benefits aside from the magnesium. So, what we’re looking at is the bonding molecule’s size, function and bioavailability.

Let’s go over a few of the most popular forms of magnesium individually:

Magnesium glycinate (Relaxation)

Glycinate is a gentle, highly absorbable form of magnesium that best demonstrates the mineral’s natural ability to support muscle relaxation. It is bonded to glycine, an amino acid involved in protein synthesis and the transmission of chemical signals in the brain. Glycine is a large molecule, so there is less magnesium by weight; but the glycine itself is a relaxing neurotransmitter and, so, it enhances magnesium’s natural relaxation properties.

Magnesium citrate (Digestion)

Citrate is a popular and easily absorbed form of the mineral. It is bonded to citric acid, which can support digestion with its mild laxative effect. This makes it a good option for those with occasional constipation or acid indigestion. If you do not drink plenty of water each day, be aware that it may lead to dehydration as it pulls water into the intestines. Since citrate is a larger molecule, there is less magnesium by weight.

Magnesium malate (Energy)

Malate is another gentle form of magnesium. It is bonded to malic acid, which acts to support cellular energy production, overall muscle performance, pain relief and mental focus. It is often recommended for people suffering from fatigue and symptoms of fibromyalgia. It is cheaper than most amino acid chelate forms — glycinate, lysinate or glucarate — but still offers higher bioavailability than oxides and sulfates.

Magnesium oxide (Multipurpose)

Oxide is one of the least absorbed forms; however, since the oxide molecule is small and compact, it delivers one of the highest percentages of elemental magnesium by weight. It is bonded to oxygen, something the body can readily use. Magnesium oxide is not as quickly absorbed in the intestine, which leads to its water-attracting effects in the colon. This makes it a good option for those with occasional constipation or digestion issues.

So, before holiday stress gets the best of you, start making healthy diet choices now and supplement with the best magnesium supplement for you! 

Theresa Groskopp, CN

Theresa Groskopp, a licensed certified nutritionist, is the founder and president of Natural Healthy Concepts, which has a retail location at 310 N. Westhill Blvd. in Appleton. She firmly believes that the foundation of health and wellness lies in proper nutrition. To supplement proper nutrition, Natural Healthy Concepts carries a wide variety of pharmaceutical grade supplements, homeopathic remedies and herbs — all of which are derived from the highest quality ingredients. The store also offers a nice selection of natural health products, including nontoxic sunscreens!

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