Magnesium deficiency is a serious problem in the United States. It’s likely that 80% of Americans have too-low levels of this essential nutrient.
The mineral magnesium is abundant in healthy bodies. It’s stored in our organs and bones, and used in over 300 enzymatic processes.
Enzymes are proteins that speed up processes and reactions in our bodies. Without them, these actions may not get completed.
This includes your body turning food into energy. It’s also vital for proper transcription of DNA and RNA.
Although it’s considered an “invisible deficiency,” low magnesium levels can manifest in a variety of ways like heart palpitations, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea and migraines.
These may be indicative of bigger health issues like heart disease, diabetes, asthma and anxiety disorders.
If you’re not sure that you’re getting enough magnesium, there are more than 100 health reasons to find out.
GreenMedInfo.com lists more than 100 therapeutic benefits of magnesium so far. They say it can help with:
- Proper formation of bones and teeth
- Regulation of blood sugar levels
- Cardiovascular disease
- Slowing the aging process
- Reducing stroke risk
- Chelation of extra calcium in the body*
(*This keeps the arteries from hardening due to excess calcium.)
Magnesium deficiency is considered an “invisible” one. But just because you don’t show symptoms, doesn’t mean your magnesium levels are optimal.
Here are three tests you can take to see how much of this mineral you have (or need) …
Magnesium Serum Test — This is the most-common magnesium test, but it’s also said to be the least-accurate.
That’s because less than 1% of the body’s total magnesium is in the blood plasma. And the body will do whatever it takes to keep that number in check.
However, if you do score low on a plasma test, then your bones, organs and muscles may be in dire need of magnesium.
Magnesium RBC Test — This is supposed to be a better test because it quantifies the amount of magnesium stored in your blood cells and bones. If you have good magnesium reserves in your body, you should see a score of 6mg/dl or higher on this test.
Magnesium EXA Test — This involves scraping your cheek buccal cells. Many say this is the most-accurate test because it lets you know how much magnesium is being stored in your cells, bones and muscles.
Due to soil depletion and poor farming practices, it’s almost impossible to get enough magnesium from diet alone.
Magnesium supplements are easy to come by, but all forms of magnesium are not created equal. In other words, they can either do damage in the body or are very poorly absorbed.
These types of magnesium are ones you will find in supplements available from the local Walgreen or Wal-Mart.
John Brisson at FixYourGut.com put together a comprehensive listing of the types of magnesium supplements out there. Here are some the best and worst …
Best Forms of Magnesium to Take
Time taken: Bedtime
Magnesium Glycinate — This is the most bioavailable form of this mineral. One benefit is that it can help with sleep and feeling calm. This is also the least likely form to cause loose stools.
Magnesium Malate — This could help those who feel fatigued or who have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This form can also increase stomach acid and assimilation.
Magnesium Taurate — This could be helpful for people with heart disease, as the extra taurine helps the heart to function better.
Magnesium Citrate — This should mostly only be used for bowel irrigation, but it is an OK form of magnesium as long as it is taken with meals. Like Magnesium Malate, it could increase stomach acid and assimilation.
Magnesium ZMK — This form, taken with meals, is considered to be a complete supplement. That’s because it uses magnesium from all of the Krebs (citric-acid) cycle: Citrate, Fumarate, Malate, Succinate and Alpha-Keto-Glutarate. Many athletes use this supplement because it’s said to enhance recovery.
Avoid These Forms of Magnesium
Magnesium Oxide — With a low absorption rate, this is arguably the worst form of magnesium. Yet, it’s the most-common one to find on the shelves of the local drugstore. Out of a 400 mg dose, at most 80 mg of magnesium is absorbed by the body.
Magnesium Aspartate — This was once believed to be more-absorbable because of the aspartic acid. Unfortunately, too much aspartic acid is neurotoxic.
Magnesium Hydroxide — This is another form that isn’t well-absorbed by the body. Most of this magnesium is released into the bowels.
Be sure to research your own magnesium levels before you decide whether to add — or not to add — magnesium to your diet.