I understand there are a number of detailed resources that get into the specifics of magnesium, but I wanted to share with you an easy and quick guide to the most popular forms of magnesium. With that being said, I’ll start off by saying I’m a huge fan of supplementing with magnesium. In fact, magnesium is one of the most deficient minerals in the world. Even with a healthy diet, magnesium can be hard to come by because of how deficient our soil has become in magnesium.
Side Note: I imagine the calming effect to be similar to what the rappers describe being on “lean” is (minus the health problems and criminal record). In case you didn’t know what “lean” is, it’s a concoction of cough syrup and alcohol that rappers rap about and something you should never attempt or try.
What were we talking about? Oh yes, Magnesium. If you’re unaware of what magnesium is, it’s a dietary mineral that the body uses for things like energy production (a lack of magnesium can affect our energy system on a cellular level), muscle function, immune function and also keeps calcium in solution, which has a positive effect on bone health.
Now that you’re sold on it, you’re probably asking yourself, how much and what kind. I’m often asked why there are so many magnesium forms and which form is best. I wanted to share with you some tips you can refer to the next time you’re in the market for a good magnesium supplement. So, the next time you’re in Whole Foods or GNC, you can refer to this post.
Why are there different types of magnesium?
Let’s be clear, the thing that makes magnesium supplements different from one another is what they’re attached to. Attaching magnesium to molecules like citric acid and glycine dictates where the magnesium goes and what it does in the body.
Here are a couple things to consider…
Elemental Magnesium aka amount: If you’ve ever looked at the back of a magnesium supplement, you’ll notice the words “elemental magnesium”. Elemental magnesium refers to the actual amount of magnesium in the supplement. Magnesium needs to be attached to something called a chelate for it to be absorbed in our body. Basically, this means magnesium needs something to carry it around (something I’ll touch on in the next couple steps). When we look at the elemental amount of magnesium, were looking at the actual amount of magnesium and not the total amount of magnesium and its carrier molecule.
Forms of Magnesium: What form of Magnesium should you take? As I mentioned before, magnesium will differ by what its attached to or what’s “carrying it around”. These carriers (molecules) affect where magnesium goes in our body, which makes different forms of magnesium beneficial to different aspects of our body. Here are some of the most common forms of magnesium found on the shelves and what they help with…
Magnesium Citrate: Having issues with regular bowel movements? This form of magnesium paired with citric acid is used medicinally as a laxative.
Magnesium Glycinate: Looking for a magnesium supplement that targets muscle function and recovery? This form of magnesium is paired with the non-essential amino acid known as glycine. Magnesium glycinate is best used for pain management conditions and muscle recovery.
Magnesium Taurate: Looking for a cardiovascular friendly magnesium supplement? Magnesium taurate has antioxidant and immune system benefits. It’s also been shown to reduce blood pressure and have a relaxing effect on the central nervous system.
Magnesium Sulfate: This is the stuff found in Epsom salt. Normally, this form isn’t ingested orally. It’s usually used in a hot bath. If you haven’t soaked in an Epsom salt bath then you’re missing out my friend. I’ve implemented Epsom salt baths as a method of recovery from sore muscles, sprains, bruises and even psoriasis. Soaking in a hot bath for 15 minutes can allow magnesium to get to your muscles via the skin.
Magnesium Picolinate: I’ll never forget the first time I supplemented with magnesium picolinate. It was given to me as a gift along with other supplements. I later found out that its one of the cheaper forms of magnesium because its effects on the body seem to be less beneficial than other forms.
Note: Most forms will give you that relaxed feeling making it a great addition to your bedtime routine.
How much should you take?
You probably wont like my answer, but the amount you should take varies from person to person. I’ll let you reach out to someone for help rather than give you the numbers on this blog post. The good thing is, when you’ve over supplemented, you’ll usually know because you’ll be running to the washroom soon after. Most upper limit doses are to bowel tolerance.
Magnesium on my friend...