Just about everyone has heard of magnesium and some of its many benefits, and it has been used for generations as a natural remedy for just about everything. Magnesium exists in many different forms and can do many different things inside of your body. So, let's dig into the basics of magnesium and find out which supplement is the best to take for your goals.
Some popular uses of magnesium include:
Magnesium as an electrolyte for hydration
Magnesium to relive muscle cramps and Charlie horses
Magnesium to relieve constipation as a stool softener
Magnesium for sleep
Magnesium to reduce anxiety and promote calmness
Magnesium for symptoms of PMS
With so many uses for magnesium, it's common for people to take the wrong form to accomplish their health goals. This is why we want to shed some light on exactly what magnesium is and the best magnesium supplements to take for different goals.
What exactly is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a chemical element on the periodic table, and the 8th most common mineral found in the Earth. Without magnesium photosynthesis would not occur and without it life as we know it wouldn't exist. Magnesium is essential to life and should be consumed regularly to prevent deficiency. It can be found in almost every part of your body, including your brain. It is estimated that only 1% of total body magnesium is present in extracellular fluids and only 0.3% of total body magnesium is found in serum.
So, then where can the majority of our magnesium be found? It's found in: bone, muscles, and non-muscular tissue.
We've established the necessity of this mineral, but what does magnesium actually do?
Magnesium is used in the nervous system in over in the nervous system in over 300 chemical reactions and is necessary for many processes including:
Neurotransmitter release (such as GABA, serotonin, and dopamine)
Muscle contraction and relaxation
Blood pressure regulation
Mitochondria, cellular health (acts as an antioxidant)
Support for adrenal health and adrenal fatigue
What form of magnesium is matched to which function?
Magnesium exists in 12 different forms, and each has a different function in the body. Not all forms are the same, so it should be supplemented according to the specific needs you have to be effective.
Here are the forms of magnesium and the best ways to take them:
*Please note all supplement use should be individualized and discussed with a healthcare practitioner to confirm you are taking the right form for your goals. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.
Magnesium citrate: relieves occasional constipation on a short term basis. Magnesium citrate is in the saline laxative class of medications. It works by causing water to be retained with the stool to increase the number of bowel movements and softens stool to make it easier to pass.
Magnesium oxide: can be used to relieve heartburn, sour stomach, or acid indigestion. Magnesium oxide may also be used as a laxative for short-term, rapid emptying of the bowel.
Magnesium aspartate: is typically used for treating low levels of magnesium in the blood.
Magnesium chloride: is easily absorbed and often used to treat heartburn, constipation, and low magnesium levels. Some people have also found success in treating sore muscles by applying magnesium chloride topically.
Magnesium lactate: Mainly used to prevent and treat low magnesium in the blood. It can be a great option for people who need to take large doses of magnesium regularly, as it tends to be a little more gentle on the digestive tract than other forms.
Magnesium malate: believed to be one of the most bioavailable forms as magnesium with higher absorption, magnesium malate is thought to help migraines, chronic pain, and depression.
Magnesium gluconate: used to treat low blood magnesium.
Magnesium orotate: may promote heart health by improving energy production in the heart and blood vessel tissue, making it a popular form of magnesium for both athletes, and people with heart disease.
Magnesium sulfate: More commonly known as Epsom salt, magnesium sulfate can be dissolved into water to soothe sore, achy muscles.
Magnesium L-threonate: the best form to take for brain health. Magnesium L-threonate is the only form proven to cross the brain-blood-barrier, meaning it supports healthy cognitive function and can help treat some disorder like depression, memory loss, and anxiety.