Magnesium is one of the major minerals in your body, and is vital in literally hundreds of processes, including muscle function, strong bones, a strong immune system, steady heartbeats, cognitive function, and plenty more,,.
Magnesium is plentiful in leafy vegetables (the mineral is a component in chlorophyll), various types of nuts, rice, seeds, potatoes and dark chocolate - so vegans and vegetarians should have few issues getting Magnesium from their diets. See the What foods have Magnesium? section below for more information.
Magnesium deficiency is rare for those eating a balanced diet, but that doesn’t mean deficiency is rare for the general population. In fact, a national survey suggested that half of adults in the US receive inadequate levels of Magnesium from their diet! To learn more about Magnesium deficiency, see the What happens if you’re deficient in Magnesium? section below.
Magnesium supplements are tricky, as they come in many forms, such as Magnesium oxide, citrate and chloride, among others. Adsorption efficiency varies depending on the type of supplement you take.
Things get more complex due to the abundance of false marketing. We’ll overview when and if you need Magnesium supplements in the Do you need Magnesium supplements? section.
Let’s dive in and see why Magnesium is so important to your health.
What are the benefits of taking Magnesium?
A major/macro mineral is a mineral that is present in your body at quantities above 5g. Your body contains about 25g Magnesium, with about half in your bones and the rest in soft tissue. It’s no surprise that this nutrient is so important for healthy bones and muscles!
Magnesium helps muscles contract and relax, strengthens your bones, maintains your nerve cells, keeps the immune system functioning, keeps your mood up, improves PMS symptoms, helps repair DNA, and assists in a staggering 600 reactions in your body,.
Low Magnesium levels have been associated with depression in younger adults, evidence supported by several recent studies.
The first beneficial effects of Magnesium on depression were published a century ago!
It goes without saying that we need Magnesium. But how much is safe to take, and what happens when we over- and underdose on this vital mineral? We’ll explore this next.
How much Magnesium do you need?
The Food and Nutrition Board recommends daily Magnesium intake of 310mg-320mg for women, 400mg-420mg for men, 350-360mg for women who are pregnant, and 310-320mg for women who are lactating.
We strongly advise to take these numbers with a grain of salt. Depending on your lifestyle (especially weight and diet), genetic factors and nutrient levels in your blood, these requirements can change. The numbers above are average, and may not factor in important information about your body that can alter these recommendations.
At Rootine, we analyze your DNA test results and consider your lifestyle when formulating your personalized dose of nutrient microbeads. We also look at current nutrient levels via blood level results. Everyone is unique, and to get the appropriate dosage of Magnesium, only looking at averages won’t cut it - you need something tailored to your body.
Let’s see what happens when you’re deficient in Magnesium.
What happens if you’re deficient in Magnesium?
Dr. Bruce Bistrian, chief of clinical nutrition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, notes that Magnesium deficiency in healthy individuals eating a balanced diet is rare. He also notes that "the kidney has an extraordinary ability to reduce magnesium loss in urine, and thus achieve magnesium balance on a wide variety of intakes.”
Unfortunately, not everyone fits this definition of “healthy”, eats a balanced diet, is disease free, and has no genetic variations that may throw off Magnesium absorption. This is why an estimated half of US adults may have lower-than-recommended Magnesium levels.
Deficiency is characterized by a number of symptoms: nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, irritability, depression, irregular heartbeat and even seizures,. Healthline cites several studies that link Magnesium to chronic inflammation, which speeds up aging, obesity and disease.
What if you take too much Magnesium?
While getting too much Magnesium from food is not a health risk thanks to the kidneys, supplements - which may be necessary in some cases - can lead to a number of symptoms if taken in large quantities. Magnesium overdose can lead to heart issues, low blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, difficulty breathing and fatigue.
The National Institutes of Health page on Magnesium warns that four forms of Magnesium cause diarrhea: carbonate, chloride, gluconate and oxide. After all, Magnesium itself is used as a laxative if taken in high quantities.
This is why our nutrient microbeads are designed for slow-release throughout the day, ensuring you get adequate levels of Magnesium at the right times.
Do you need Magnesium supplements?
As we noted in the section above and in the introduction, you need to ensure you’re taking the right type of Magnesium supplement. Some supplements are more difficult to absorb, others may cause unfavorable side effects. In some cases, supplement companies falsely market Magnesium as being a miracle nutrient for all sorts of ailments.
Dr. Bistrian, who we met in the What happens if you’re deficient in Magnesium? Section, acknowledges that “there's no evidence... that [Magnesium supplements] would be effective” for improving energy, sleep and body aches. Do note that he means for people who already have adequate levels of Magnesium.
Do you need Magnesium supplements? Again, this depends on your body and your lifestyle. Health conditions, diet, what medications you are taking and excessive alcohol consumption can all lead to deficiency.
There are three steps to help determine if you need additional Magnesium.
First is to assess your lifestyle habits. Second is a DNA test - your genes tell another story, and certain variations may lead to recommendations for higher Magnesium intake. Finally, blood work done to measure Magnesium levels is helpful.
An important note on absorption: different types of Magnesium supplements are absorbed differently. The National Institutes of Health site notes that Magnesium in “the aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride forms is absorbed more completely and is more bioavailable than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate”.
What foods have Magnesium?
Magnesium is one of the most vegetarian- and vegan-friendly nutrients, as it is plentiful in greens such as spinach and edamame, and foods like soy milk, nuts such as almonds and cashews, avocados, potatoes, rice, whole grains and seeds. Dairy and meat have lower quantities of Magnesium, while processed foods have the lowest (think pasta, sodas and sweets).
Here’s a quick roundup of Magnesium-rich foods:
- Almonds: 80mg in around 28g of almonds.
- Spinach: 78mg in ½ cup of boiled spinach.
- Bran flakes cereal: 64mg in ¾ cup.
- Dark chocolate: 64mg per every 28g serving.
- Black beans: 60mg in ½ cup of cooked beans.
- Potato: 48mg, medium-baked with skin.
- Avocado: 44mg per one cup of cubed avocado.
- Salmon: 30mg per 100g of salmon.
Magnesium and Zinc
Those taking Zinc supplements should note that doses of around 142mg+ per day disrupt Magnesium balance in the body. Calcium also has this issue. Rootine’s nutrient microbeads take into account interactions like Zinc and Magnesium, ensuring all your vitamin and mineral dosages are properly balanced.
Curious about Personalized Nutrients?
Rootine is dedicated to providing personalized nutrients that fit your specific lifestyle and genetics. To learn more about nutrient microbeads and Rootine’s process, see our FAQ page.