Welcome back everyone! This is part 3 of managing the master mineral ‘magnesium’ & in this episode you’ll be learning about magnesium rich food sources & supplements, the different forms of supplements, how to determine the dosage of magnesium supplements & understanding why serum magnesium numbers are not sufficient to know about your body’s magnesium status. And what different levels of magnesium in red blood cells, serum & urine, actually mean.
Let’s start with the foods rich in magnesium. Before considering supplementation, you can go for a good quality & organic (that’s necessary) wheat grass powder because its rich in chlorophyll & magnesium is found at the heart chlorophyll. Ofcourse, you should also consume leafy greens if you haven’t already. Spirulina is another miraculous herb which I have to talk about with you’ll. Wow, there’s actually a lot I have to talk about! You can switch the table salt which I am absolutely NOT a fan of, with Himalayan pink salt. Also, switching to using grass-fed dairy products, if you have no problems with it, is also a good place to start. These basic everyday things will first of all help a lot! And feel free to include dark chocolate to your grocery list but an unsweetened one, try ‘Criollo’. The variety from Venezuela, its mind blowing! Then there are more foods like avocados, pumpkin seeds, nuts, sprouts, wild caught fish, dandelion, sea vegetables like wakame, chlorella, dulce, nori, kelp. Basically, a nice balanced wholesome diet with natural foods & vegetables, clubbed with a healthy gut & eating hygiene, is the end all be all solution for not just magnesium but almost all nutrient deficiencies in the body!
As for magnesium supplementation. As you might be aware, there are different forms of magnesium & we’ll start with the ones you have to avoid. Magnesium oxide, dihydroxide (also know as milk of magnesia), carbonate, sulfate & aspartate. These forms are either poorly absorbed or extremely laxative in nature. Now, there are a few things I’d like to clear out. Some people would argue that using magnesium sulfate, when used externally, in a oil form or epsom salts for bath helps raise magnesium levels. So, I spent quite sometime searching for some scientific studies & there aren’t many. I came across a few that conclude that transdermal magnesium absorption is not yet scientifically proven. Its not a proven form of magnesium application (12) while there were others that tested serum magnesium levels which did increase (13) (14). Basically, serum magnesium levels don’t mean much specially in itself. What’s more important is intracellular magnesium levels, which sadly weren’t tested. I personally wouldn’t rely on transdermal magnesium for meeting magnesium deficiencies but that’s my view. You can take a look at the studies which I have provided to you in the transcript & decide if you’d like to spend your money on that. And, magnesium aspartate is another from which is taken orally & I’ve found mixed reviews on that. Frankly I didn’t bother much to do research on this one since there are other forms which have shown to be effective & which almost all functional medicine doctors & researchers agrees on.
By the way, a lot of healthcare experts do not agree with the RDA guidelines for magnesium, which is 300mg, they state that it is actually lower. However most of us get far less than 200mg because of poor food & lifestyle choices. Okay, let’s start with magnesium citrate which is one of the most commonly found & used form of magnesium since its low cost & reasonably bio-available. Its useful in constipation & is potentially helpful with oxalate metabolism, while it also helps with nocturnal leg cramps & headaches. Then there’s magnesium glycinate & even bisglycinate, which is a chelated form of magnesium. Basically its made up of the amino acid amino acid glycine along with magnesium, making it one of the most bio-available forms of magnesium. A chelated from is basically that is more bio-available & hence more effectively absorbed. It does not have a laxative effect since it doesn’t influence the GI tract much. So, if you’re having healthy bowel movements, then this is good option. It has anti-stress affect, magnesium ofcourse but its also because of glycine which has a calming effect, so its great for sleep, anxiety, its anti-inflammatory, supports blood sugars. There are also more chelated forms of magnesium like magnesium malate which is great for fibromyalgia & ATP, basically energy production so its great to combat fatigue & even blood sugar regulation, while ofcourse these forms are even great for muscle tensions & spasms or tightness & headaches.
Then we have Magnesium L-threonate which is significantly beneficial for brain health since it is able to cross the blood brain barrier & get absorbed into the neurons (15) (16). It has shown positive effects in the case of Alzheimer (17) (20) & has also shown to improve memory & learning (18) (19). Magnesium L-threonate has the highest absorption rate of magnesium available for cells & may be the best form of magnesium available! Great for anxiety, panic, attention deficit, ruminating thoughts & much more. Magnesium Orotate is also a form which is absorbed deeply & reaches the mitochondria, making it ideal for athletes. And lastly, magnesium for the heart (22) (23). That’s magnesium taurate. Actually, it has more benefits, not just for the heart because the amino acid taurine plays many crucial roles specially in brain development, retinal & muscle health, it has antioxidant properties, its a calming neurotransmitter & has positive benefits right from diabetes to epilepsy & much more (21)! This one’s a really valuable form too! I’ve linked to some interesting scientific literature related to taurine, feel free to have a look. There are more forms of magnesium but I’ve listed the main ones. If you have questions about any other forms then let me know about it. You can contact me via the contact from on my website or simply through any social media platform. I’m there on all the main ones. A word of caution before I move ahead. Be careful when selecting your supplementation because when it comes to the brands, its not necessary that what’s on the label is also in the bottle, so for this reason, always ensure that you are getting your supplement from a source that tests every batch & that they are actually giving you what’s on the label, nothing less & definitely nothing more like unwanted toxins, allergens & heavy metals! Make sure that the company is not self-certifying itself! The certifications should always be from a third party & the product should be GMP, as in, good manufacturing practices compliant. Its also better if you can get a product which is free of unnecessary & even at times harmful ingredients including binders, colorants, flavorings, fillers, coatings, preservatives & all those sort of things. And if you’re pregnant or nursing or if you’re on medications then please consult your doctor before starting with supplementation, especially if you have any kidney related issues or severe heart disease!
Anyways, moving onto the dosages. As mentioned in the previous episodes, if you already have one or some of the symptoms that we discussed in the first part & find yourself doing some of the things which is causing a depletion in magnesium, especially if your intake is already low if you’re not consuming some of the foods I just mentioned on a daily basis, chances are that, you are deficient in magnesium! So, a good place to start would be, as I mentioned earlier by introducing natural foods rich in magnesium along with 300mg of supplemental magnesium which has to be taken away from meals because its alkaline & could interfere with digestion of food by negatively impacting the acidity of the stomach acid. An ideal time for its intake would be before bedtime since magnesium alleviates stress, calms the mind, and relaxes the muscles, so it’ll basically help in a smooth transition into a deep and restful sleep. You can also split up the dosage instead of having it all at once. And you can gradually increase the dosage until you have a mild laxative effect as a sign of excessive ingestion & that’s when you can taper down your dose until you have bowel tolerance. Once you have achieved your ideal dosage then continue with it for 2 to 3 months which should be sufficient to replete your magnesium levels, after which you can reduce your dosage to 200 to 400mg depending upon your magnesium intake from foods & other factors like for example, if you are supplementing with perhaps Vitamin D. Its important to monitor your symptoms throughout & I’d recommend that if you need to administer more than a 1000mg, its best to work with a healthcare professional, especially if you’re unsure of what needs to be done. Or, atleast its best to get your RBC magnesium, that’s your red blood cell magnesium tested.
With that we come to the final part of this series on magnesium. Speaking of magnesium levels in our body, its the serum magnesium that’s generally tested. Serum magnesium is the amount of magnesium present in the blood & these figures are only a short-term representation of magnesium levels in the body which is influenced by what has happened & what you’ve eaten in the last 1-2 days. And remember, magnesium in the blood in itself doesn’t mean much. It needs to get inside the cell to be used. Hence RBC, though, not being a perfect marker, but is still a better one available to us. Its a more accurate reflection of our magnesium intake & levels in the body, from the past 2-3 months & that too it being an intracellular measurement, basically the amount of magnesium within the cell. While, magnesium levels in the urine is an indicator of the amount of magnesium excreted by the body, basically, the amount of magnesium loss through the urine. Now, RBC magnesium usually tends to get low before serum magnesium. However if serum magnesium is normal & RBC magnesium is low, that means, there’s a problem with magnesium’s uptake, basically entry into the cell, which may be indicative of insulin resistance or a vitamin B6 deficiency or low sodium consumption, which is usually a problem in people trying to avoid salt. If urinary magnesium levels are high & RBC magnesium is low, supplementing is a good idea but the underlying factor has to be addressed that is resulting the loss of magnesium in the urine, in the first place! And if both RBC & serum magnesium levels are low & urinary magnesium level is normal, that’s simply due to a Magnesium deficiency. It’s simple ain’t it!
And we have concluded the 3 part episode series on magnesium. I hope you’ve found this useful & as always I’d love to have your suggestions, feedback & questions. I’ll see you on the weekend with another episode, until then, don’t worry, be happy!! And Stay Healthy!