Your Quick and Easy Guide to Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral essential for overall body function. It is involved in over 300 chemical reactions including:

  • Supporting healthy bones and teeth
  • Maintaining proper muscle and nerve function
  • Keeping heart rate steady
  • Regulating blood sugar

While 50-60% of it can be found in the bones, the rest is in the tissues, muscles and organs.

Magnesium Deficiency

Despite magnesium being widely distributed in both plant an animal food sources, deficiency is extremely common, affecting about 50% of Americans. Those at risk include people with gastrointestinal diseases (i.e. Crohn’s, celiac disease, IBS) due to malabsorption, alcoholics, athletes, postmenopausal women, those taking medications causing excessive urination, and those consuming a highly processed diet.

symptoms of deficiency

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Severe PMS
  • Personality changes
  • Memory loss

Recommended intake and food sources

The recommended dietary allowance is 400-420 mg/day for men and 310-320 mg/day for women. Below you will find a list of 10 foods high in magnesium. Nuts, seeds and fish are among the best sources!

FoodAmount of Magnesium (per 100 grams)
Squash and pumpkin seeds534 mg
Dark chocolate327 mg
Sunflower seeds325 mg
Cashews292 mg
Peanut butter154 mg
Mackerel97 mg
Soybeans86 mg
Spinach79 mg
Dried figs69 mg
Brown rice44 mg

Supplementation

In some cases, magnesium supplementation may be appropriate or recommended. If so, be sure to choose a high quality supplement that has been tested by a 3rd party or has a GMP (good Manufacturing Practices) stamp of approval. You should also read the ingredient list to identify the presence of any unwanted fillers, additives, artificial colors or flavors, etc.

In addition to boosting magnesium levels, certain forms provide additional therapeutic benefits and have different levels of bioavailability. For example:

Magnesium glycinate: Very easily absorbed so best if you have a deficiency. Provides mood boosting benefits by helping user to relax. Also good for nerve pain.

Magnesium citrate: Commonly used to help relieve constipation. Recommend taking before bed as it can also help support sleep.

Magnesium threonate: Best for neurological and cognitive symptoms.

I recently had my lab values tested and have you know, my magnesium was slightly low! It is always a good idea to ask your doctor to have your micronutrient levels tested at least yearly, particularly magnesium, vitamin D, and a few select others depending on your dietary preferences or restrictions.

*TIP: Make sure you ask to actually see your results! Providers can miss deficiencies or other less-than-optimal laboratory values