Welcome to our latest article on dietary supplements! This guide will help you get a better understanding of the role of magnesium, an essential nutrient for our well-being. We have compiled detailed information to explain its main benefits, how to know if you need magnesium supplements in your diet and which product best suits your needs.
Magnesium lets your heart muscle relax, hence preventing the appearance of arrhythmia. It also takes part in the production of energy, stabilises DNA and enhances neuronal function. High amounts of magnesium are lost under stress conditions, and studies have estimated that up to 80% of the Western population may have some form of deficiency of this nutrient.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best magnesium supplements in the market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about magnesium
- 3.1 What is magnesium exactly?
- 3.2 What bodily functions does magnesium intervene in?
- 3.3 What foods are rich in magnesium?
- 3.4 What are the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency?
- 3.5 Why is it recommended to take magnesium supplements?
- 3.6 What are the benefits of magnesium supplements for my health?
- 3.7 What types of magnesium are available out there and which one is right for me?
- 3.8 What is the recommended dosage of magnesium?
- 3.9 What is the price range for magnesium supplements?
- 3.10 Is it possible to take too much magnesium? If so, what would be the consequences?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Magnesium is a compound involved in over 300 reactions in your body. Several factors can lead to a deficit, such as a bad diet, stress and lack of vitamin D.
- Dozens of supplements are available on the market and are tailored to the needs of each individual: powder, capsules, tablets and even creams.
- You will reap different benefits depending on the form of magnesium you choose: relaxing or energising effects, prevention of muscle damage or an improvement in cardiovascular health.
Ranking: The best magnesium supplements in the market
There are dozens of brands and methods of ingestions available when it comes to magnesium supplements. We have chosen your best options in Australia, so you can find the one that’s just right for you.
No. 1: Cenovis Magnesium (tablets)[amazon box=”B076ZZRPGD” description_items=”0″]
Queensland-based brand Cenovis has been in the industry since the 1930s, so it is no wonder the brand’s value pack is Amazon’s Choice for magnesium supplements. This product offers fantastic bang for your buck, with 200 tablets that should last you for months to come. It is composed of magnesium oxide and amino acid chelate, with added manganese and vitamin B6.
Cenovis recommends taking 1 to 2 tablets daily in accordance with your healthcare professional. Used to reduce cramps, migraines or menstrual symptoms, this magnesium supplement has been praised by customers for its overall efficiency and great value for money. Keep in mind that magnesium oxide tends to give bad flavour to products.
No. 2: Swisse Ultiboost Magnesium (tablets)[amazon box=”B07711C899″ description_items=”0″]
This magnesium supplement by Melbourne company Swisse comes in the form of magnesium citrate, which promotes absorption of the nutrient. Made 100% from magnesium, this product is suitable for vegetarian and vegan individuals. Swisse’s supplement can be consumed for general health or with more specific goals, such as muscle cramp relief or to contribute to heart health.
Magnesium citrate can provide a laxative effect and people with kidney disorders should use in agreement with their healthcare provider. Remember to always read the label and follow directions of use for any supplement intake. The use of Swisse Ultiboost is recommended for persons over the age of 18. Each product contains 60 tablets.
No. 3: Blackmores Super Magnesium Plus (tablets)[amazon box=”B079TS8JZY” description_items=”0″]
Blackmores is another leading Australian brand in the vitamin and supplement industry, and their Super Magnesium Plus supplement will efficiently help you balance your low magnesium levels. Made from amino acid chelate and citrate, two easily absorbed forms of the essential nutrient, its use is recommended to 1 tablet a day.
With 100 in each pack, you’ll be good to go for a while. In line with the brand’s reputation, customers say you simply can’t go wrong with their magnesium supplement, with particularly noticeable effects on muscle cramps. Note that the use of this product is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women, unless specified otherwise by your doctor.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about magnesium
Magnesium plays a part in countless chemical reactions in your body. It is a component of your bone structure and has an important role in the formation of energy (ATP), modulating muscular, neuronal and hormonal functions. Depending on where magnesium is located in your body, it can have either activating or relaxing functions.
What is magnesium exactly?
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body. Present in large amounts in bones, teeth, and organs such as the heart and kidneys, it is considered a “cofactor”: an essential component for the proper functioning of multiple enzymatic reactions and processes (believed to be more than 300).
In spite of this, magnesium had always received little attention in clinical work. In recent years, several studies have found a correlation between low magnesium diets and several diseases (diabetes, obesity, hypertension or polycystic ovary syndrome), demonstrating its importance and encouraging health professionals to further investigate the benefits of this electrolyte.
What bodily functions does magnesium intervene in?
Magnesium has vital functions in virtually every system in your body. Here are some of them:
|Musculoskeletal||Formation of tooth and bone structure|
|Cardiovascular||Relaxation of muscle fibres, creation of muscle fibres|
|Nervous||Arterial dilation, transporting of cholesterol, relaxation of the heart muscle|
|Digestive||DNA stabilisation, increased sensitivity to insulin, ATP synthesis (energy)|
What foods are rich in magnesium?
Chlorophyll, the pigment that makes plants green, has a high content in magnesium. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard and cabbage are therefore rich in magnesium.
This mineral is also commonly found in:
- Fruits (bananas, lemon, orange and grapefruit)
- Dried fruits and vegetables
- Soya products: tofu, miso
- Whole grain cereals (rice, whole oats)
- Linseed and pumpkin seed
- Dark chocolate
While magnesium is present in many different foods, studies have shown that fruits and vegetables grown in impoverished soils with little magnesium provide a much lower concentration of this mineral.
What are the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency?
Magnesium deficiency occurs mostly in individuals with diets poor in fruits and vegetables, rich in refined foods (such as bread and white rice, which undergo chemical processes to remove most of the magnesium), fatty food and alcohol.
People with gastrointestinal disorders, those who have suffered burns and those undergoing psychological or physical stress tend to lose more magnesium than on average, and are also at risk of suffering a deficiency. Our body’s ability to absorb magnesium also decreases with age and in case of vitamin D deficiency.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women, athletes, individuals preparing for exams and those recovering from an operation also require higher levels of magnesium.
Magnesium deficiency affects the whole body. Here are the most common symptoms:
- Lack of energy
- Menstrual disorders
- Muscle cramps (especially in the legs, at bedtime) and muscle weakness
- More frequent muscle injuries, difficulty concentrating and trembling
Certain studies suggest that a lack of magnesium may be a factor in the development of any of the following: cardiac arrhythmias, diabetes, obesity, increased cholesterol, kidney stones, anxiety and depression.
Why is it recommended to take magnesium supplements?
Considering the fact that studies have led us to believe that the majority of the population faces some degree of magnesium deficiency, an extra magnesium intake is recommended to improve your overall health, decrease fatigue and even slow down the ageing process.
The following individuals would particularly benefit from magnesium supplementation:
- Students during exam period
- Persons suffering from insomnia
- Persons with muscular or joint pain
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Persons over the age of 40
- Persons undergoing physical or emotional stress
- Persons who follow a weight loss diet
- Persons diagnosed with pre-diabetes
- Persons who abuse alcohol
What are the benefits of magnesium supplements for my health?
Magnesium supplements will help you reap the following benefits:
- Improved concentration and memory
- Relief of insomnia and fatigue
- Faster recovery after training and from muscle injuries
- Reduction of bone and joint pain
- Relief of dysmenorrhoea (menstrual cramps), impotence and decreased libido
- Increases insulin sensitivity and cholesterol control, making it easier to control weight and blood glucose
- Improvement in mood, with greater ability to cope with stress
- Improvement of cardiovascular health
- Wrinkle prevention, improved skin and hair appearance
What types of magnesium are available out there and which one is right for me?
You should always keep in mind that the organism needs to break down magnesium to its ionic form, regardless of the form in which the supplement is presented. Laboratories working on magnesium consumption associate this nutrient with different preparations that give the supplement special characteristics.
The table below will introduce you to the main preparations, which will help you choose the supplement that best suits your needs:
- Magnesium oxide: It is the most common and cheapest form. Its taste is unpleasant (it is recommended to take it with fruit juice) and it should be consumed in small doses 4-5 times a day to ensure absorption.
- Magnesium glycinate: This preparation binds magnesium to glycine, an amino acid that increases absorption capacity. Its effect is fast and mostly relaxing, which is why it is recommended to take it at night. It is unlikely to produce laxative effects.
- Magnesium citrate: It is an acid formulation also used as a laxative. Certain studies blame this formulation for interfering with copper metabolism, so individuals with liver disorders should take it with caution.
- Magnesium threonate: This is one of the most modern forms of magnesium supplement. Threonate helps magnesium enter directly into the mitochondria (the part of the cell responsible for energy production), and it is therefore particularly useful for reducing tiredness and fatigue.
- Magnesium sulfate: This form is not usually used as a supplement, but as a medicine to treat seizures in pregnant women. Do not take it without a doctor’s prescription.
- Magnesium taurate: This form provides the benefits of magnesium without the laxative effects as its impact of the gastrointestinal system is reduced.
- Magnesium chloride: Chloride improves magnesium absorption and helps reach high mineral concentrations with a small amount of supplement.
- Magnesium malate: This formulation associates magnesium with malic acid, an acid commonly found in fruits. It offers a high absorption capacity and individuals taking this supplement report a reduction in joint and muscle pain and increased energy for sports.
- Magnesium carbonate: This cheap supplement has laxative effects and is mostly for constipation and heartburn.
What is the recommended dosage of magnesium?
The recommended dosage of magnesium varies according to sex, age, and other requirements:
|Population group||Recommended daily dose|
|Babies 0-6 months||30 mg|
|Babies 7-12 months||75 mg|
|Children 1-3 years||80 mg|
|Children 4-8 years||130 mg|
|Children 9-13 years||240 mg|
|Boys 14-18 years||410 mg|
|Girls 14-18 years||360 mg|
|Adult males||400-420 mg|
|Adult females||310-320 mg|
|Pregnant women||350-360 mg|
|Men over 40||420 mg|
|Women over 40||420 mg|
What is the price range for magnesium supplements?
Supplements containing the most common formulations, such as magnesium oxide or magnesium carbonate, tend to be more affordable. Newer supplements like magnesium threonate are naturally more expensive, but present fewer side effects and lower quantities are required to be effective.
Is it possible to take too much magnesium? If so, what would be the consequences?
Under normal conditions, excess magnesium is excreted in the urine and faeces. Hypermagnesemia (excess magnesium) is rare and is often linked to malfunctions of the kidney or gastrointestinal tract. You must consult your physician before taking any magnesium supplement if you suffer from any kidney disease (such as kidney failure) or gastrointestinal disease (such as Crohn’s disease).
Hypermagnesemia can cause dizziness, muscle weakness and heart rate disturbances. Go to your nearest hospital if these symptoms appear after taking magnesium supplements.
Magnesium helps to product serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body #sleepbeautifully pic.twitter.com/YQUMehkozM
— Kiss the Moon (@kissthemoonxx) February 27, 2019
We have gathered information on the most important purchasing factors to help you choose the magnesium supplement that best suits your needs:
- Desired effect
- Absorption capacity
- Side effects
- Method of ingestion
You now know that magnesium influences over 300 reactions throughout the body. However, the effects of the different preparations are more or less potent depending on the area of the body. Magnesium glycinate or taurate are your best options if you want to fight stress and anxiety.
Magnesium threonate will help you improve your intellectual capacity, while you should lean towards citrate or magnesium carbonate if you also want a laxative effect. If you can tolerate the taste of magnesium oxide several times a day, it is a good option, both balanced and economical.
Cheaper supplements tend to be harder to absorb, and you will need to take higher doses to reap the same benefits as with the more expensive supplements. This is actually a key factor that strongly influences the value for money of the different supplements.
Most magnesium supplements are suitable for vegans, gluten-intolerant individuals, diabetics and persons suffering from nut allergies. You should always check the labelling, and ask immediately if any doubts persist.
There have been cases of allergic reactions to magnesium chloride, with the following symptoms: dizziness, nausea, general redness of the body and swelling of the airway with respiratory distress. If any of these symptoms appear, head to your nearest emergency service and stop supplementation.
Certain consumers prefer cheaper supplements with less potent effects, while others are happy spending more if the quality of the product is excellent.
We have compared the main magnesium supplements in the table below, with their recommended price and absorption capacity (a key factor in the potency of their effects):
|Type of supplement||Recommended average price||Capacity of absorption|
The laxative power of magnesium is its main side effect, which many people will understandably find this uncomfortable. In case of diarrhoea, you should reduce your intake in magnesium until your body gets used to it. You can then gradually increase the dose to the amount recommended by the supplement manufacturer.
People suffering from diabetes, hypertension and heart disease should also discuss potential interactions of magnesium with their medication (especially insulin and diabetics) with their healthcare provider.
Last but not least, although studies have shown that magnesium can help combat depression and anxiety, antidepressant or anxiolytic medication should never be replaced by magnesium supplementation.
Method of ingestion
Magnesium supplements are sold in different forms:
- In powder: Easy to mix, it lets you easily adjust dosage. It may have a bitter or “earthy” taste.
- In tablets: They can be divided to adjust dosage, or they can be crushed to mix with drink or food. Magnesium oxide will make tablets taste bad.
- In hard capsules: These are comfortable to take, except for people who have difficulty swallowing.
- In softgels: While offering the same benefits, they are easier to ingest than hard capsules.
You now know how essential magnesium is for the proper functioning of your body. Our societies move at an ever faster pace of life, our diets are becoming poorer and poorer in fruits and vegetables, and the population wants to stay active and competitive at increasingly older ages. Magnesium supplements have been designed to give you that extra energy and health you need to enjoy life to the fullest.
We hope that the information we have gathered in this article will help you choose the option that best suits your needs, avoid deception and improve your health at the best possible price.
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(Source of featured image: Siamphotos: 25480935/ 123rf.com)