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The Essential Guide to Magnesium: The Master Mineral

The Essential Guide to Magnesium: The Master Mineral

If you’re reading this, I bet you are magnesium-deficient.

Give me 2 minutes, and I’ll fix your health.

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in over 3,000 biochemical reactions in the body.

Getting enough magnesium is a body requirement.


  1. Why your body needs magnesium
  2. The benefits it provides
  3. Signs of deficiency
  4. Dosing information
  5. The different types of magnesium supplements

Why Your Body Needs Magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.

It plays numerous important roles in:

  • Bone formation: About 60% of magnesium in the body is stored in bone. It helps build and maintain strong, healthy bones.
  • Muscle and nerve function: Magnesium helps regulate muscle contraction and nerve conduction. It prevents overexcitement of nerves that can lead to numbness, tingling, muscle spasms, and cramps.
  • Energy production: Magnesium is involved in at least 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions in the body. This includes energy production, protein synthesis, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.
  • Heart health: Magnesium relaxes blood vessels and balances calcium channels to support healthy blood pressure and heart rhythm.
  • Stress management: Magnesium helps regulate the stress hormone cortisol and activates the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for relaxation.
  • Sleep: Magnesium calms the nervous system to help you fall asleep faster and get deeper, more restorative sleep.
  • Immune system function: Magnesium supports the healthy development and function of immune cells.

Benefits of Magnesium

Reduces Insomnia and Improves Sleep Quality

Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system and muscles. Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep, increase sleep time and sleep efficiency, and reduce nighttime awakenings.

Relieves Muscle Cramps and Spasms

Muscle cramps, involuntary muscle twitches and spasms can be caused by magnesium deficiency. Increasing magnesium intake relieves these symptoms by supporting nerve conduction and muscle contraction regulation. Athletes frequently use magnesium to prevent and reduce exercise-associated muscle cramps.

May Ease Anxiety and Depression

Magnesium plays an important role in neurotransmitter production and nerve conduction to balance mood. Magnesium supplements have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression alone or when combined with medication.

May Regulate Blood Pressure

Magnesium supplementation may slightly reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. It works by relaxing blood vessels and balancing calcium channels in the vascular smooth muscle. Magnesium is often given intravenously in hospitals to prevent seizures in pre-eclampsia patients by lowering rapidly elevated blood pressure.

May Help Control Blood Sugar

Magnesium is involved in glucose metabolism. Getting sufficient dietary magnesium is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Magnesium supplements may also help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

May Relieve Constipation

Magnesium acts as an osmotic agent to draw water into the intestines and colon to soften and increase the bulk of the stool. It also relaxes intestinal muscles to support regular bowel movements. Magnesium supplementation is commonly used to effectively treat chronic constipation.

May Reduce Migraine Frequency

Migraine sufferers are often found to have lower magnesium levels. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to reduce migraine frequency in adults. It prevents over-excitation of nerve cells and relaxes dilated blood vessels in the brain to alleviate migraine pain.

May Lower Risk for Heart Disease, Stroke, and Heart Failure

Adequate magnesium intake is associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Magnesium deficiency increases inflammation, atherosclerosis, blood clotting, and constricts arteries. Ensuring optimal magnesium levels protects heart health and function.

May Strengthen Bones

Over 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in bones. It helps convert vitamin D into its active form to aid calcium absorption. Magnesium is also required for the activation of a calcium-sensing receptor that regulates bone remodeling. Getting enough magnesium daily may prevent and treat osteoporosis.

May Boost Exercise Performance

Magnesium supplementation has been shown to increase free and total testosterone levels, energy metabolism, and measures of strength and power. Athletes use magnesium to improve endurance, reduce lactic acid buildup, and prevent muscle cramps during training and competition.

Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is extremely common, affecting up to 80% of people in the US.

The following symptoms may indicate you need more magnesium:

  • Muscle twitches, leg cramps, and muscle spasms
  • Insomnia and poor sleep quality
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue, low energy, weakness
  • Anxiety, irritability, and poor stress tolerance
  • High blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Brain fog, trouble concentrating
  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
  • Numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, seizures (in severe deficiency)

Recommended Magnesium Dosage

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 400–420 mg per day for adult men and 310–360 mg per day for adult women.

However, many experts recommend higher doses of 500–600 mg daily for optimal health.

Magnesium is best absorbed in smaller doses throughout the day. Take 100–200 mg, 2-3 times per day, with food for the greatest absorption and to reduce the risk of digestive side effects. Always consult your doctor before supplementing.

Types of Magnesium Supplements

  • Magnesium glycinate: bound to glycine, well-absorbed, gentle on the stomach
  • Magnesium citrate: is a soluble magnesium salt that treats constipation
  • Magnesium oxide: inexpensive but poorer absorption
  • Magnesium chloride: bound to chloride, aids muscle function
  • Magnesium malate: contains malic acid and boosts energy
  • Magnesium orotate: contains orotic acid and is good for heart health
  • Magnesium threonate: crosses the blood-brain barrier

Magnesium glycinate and magnesium chloride tend to provide the best absorption and bioavailability with the least risk of gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea.

Capsules, powders, and magnesium oil absorbed through the skin are readily available.

Boost Your Magnesium Intake

Magnesium is a crucially important mineral that many people do not get enough of from diet alone. Ensuring you meet your daily magnesium needs through supplementation and magnesium-rich foods promotes overall health and well-being.