Magnesium is the eighth-most abundant element on Earth. It is an essential nutrient for good health, as it is involved in a wide range of functions, including the production of energy, the synthesis of DNA and RNA, the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, and the regulation of heart rhythm. It is commonly found in nature as compounds, such as magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride, and is extracted from minerals such as dolomite and magnesite. It is also present in seawater. Magnesium has a variety of uses as a treatment for some medical conditions, such as constipation and eclampsia (a serious complication of pregnancy).
Benefits and Possible Side Effects of Taking Magnesium
Benefits of Magnesium:
- Magnesium is necessary for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, including the heart muscle.
- Adequate magnesium intake may reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
- Magnesium may help improve bone health by increasing bone mineral density.
- Magnesium may also help with sleep quality and relieve anxiety symptoms.
- It may also help with constipation by relaxing the muscles in the intestines.
Possible Side Effects:
- High doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea.
- People with kidney disease or severe heart disease should consult a doctor before taking magnesium supplements.
- Magnesium can interact with certain medications, including antibiotics and blood pressure medications, so it’s important to talk to a doctor before starting magnesium supplements.
Magnesium Supplements There are several magnesium supplements available that can help you meet your daily magnesium requirements. Some popular types of magnesium supplements include:
- Magnesium citrate: This type of magnesium supplement is well-absorbed by the body and is often used to help with constipation.
- Magnesium glycinate: This form of magnesium is bound to the amino acid glycine, which can help with absorption and is less likely to cause diarrhea.
- Magnesium oxide: This type of magnesium supplement is less expensive and has a higher magnesium content per dose, but it may not be as well absorbed by the body.
- Magnesium chloride: This type of magnesium is absorbed well by the body and is often used in topical creams and sprays.
- Magnesium threonate: This newer form of magnesium supplement has been shown to improve cognitive function and brain health.
Magnesium supplements may not be necessary for people who consume a balanced diet rich in magnesium-rich foods, such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and wholegrains.
Food Sources of Magnesium
There are several food sources that are rich in magnesium, including:
- Dark leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are all excellent sources of magnesium.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all good sources of magnesium.
- Whole grains: Whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice, and oats are all high in magnesium.
- Legumes: Black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils are all good sources of magnesium.
- Avocado: One medium avocado contains about 58 mg of magnesium.
- Fatty fish: Salmon, mackerel, and halibut are all good sources of magnesium.
- Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains magnesium, with higher levels found in chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa solids.
Best Partners for Magnesium Absorption
Magnesium can be paired with certain nutrients to enhance its absorption and effectiveness. Some nutrients that may help with magnesium absorption include:
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health, and it may also help with the absorption of magnesium.
- Calcium: Magnesium and calcium are both important for bone health, and they work together in the body to support healthy bones.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is involved in the metabolism of magnesium and may help enhance magnesium absorption.
- Potassium: Potassium may help with magnesium absorption and may also help prevent magnesium loss in the urine.
Including foods that are rich in these nutrients in your diet, or taking a multivitamin or supplement that contains them, may help enhance magnesium absorption and effectiveness. However, it’s always best to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen. Additionally, taking magnesium supplements with food may help enhance absorption and reduce the risk of digestive side effects, such as diarrhea. Overall, magnesium is important to your health and should not be overlooked.
Schedule your initial consultation at Vida to discuss your health concerns and get back to optimal health. Vida is an integrative medicine clinic located in Miami, FL.