Thanks, Ron. I have been taking magnesium citrate. I think maybe it was recommended at some point because I tend to have kidney stones.
Here is an updated version on my website: Magnesium Archives - FixYourGut.com
Magnesium: The Most Overlooked Mineral for Improving Health
Magnesium is essential to your digestive health. Magnesium is used in the production of the body’s digestive enzymes. It is also used by the colon as an osmotic laxative. Finally, magnesium can restore regularity to the bowels and reduce the amount of muscle spasms in the colon.
The majority of Americans are deficient in magnesium (could be as high as 80%), and this worsens the epidemic of diabetes and heart disease to explode! Now, you have probably had a magnesium blood test in your adult life, and the test results came back as normal. Well, don't feel relieved just yet! Your body's total magnesium that is reflected on the results of the blood test is only about 2%, and your body does whatever it can to keep this level normal. If this level isn’t maintained, you could suffer from heart arrhythmia and even possibly have a heart attack! Our bodies are completely deficient in magnesium, in our bones, organs, and even on a cellular level.
Magnesium is important in over 325 enzyme reactions in the body. It is used to regulate blood sugar in the body, and to help prevent you from developing diabetes. Magnesium relaxes arteries that carry blood throughout the body, which lowers blood pressure. Magnesium also chelates extra Calcium in the body; this keeps the arteries from hardening due to excess calcium. Finally, Magnesium supplementation can help lower stress and anxiety levels.
Lets take a look at the many magnesium types and their functions, but the best form I can recommend is Magnesium Glycinate. The body absorbs the most elemental magnesium from Glycinate. The extra Glycine, an amino acid, relaxes nerves, and relieves anxiety.
Possible Symptoms of A Magnesium Deficiency
This is a list of possible symptoms a patient might have if they have a magnesium deficiency. If a magnesium deficiency is present you can still have a magnesium deficiency and not have any of these symptoms as well. This often occurs in patients that are younger (age helps reduce the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency), and it can also depend on the gender (men tend to have less symptoms than women). Most people should supplement with 400 mg of elemental magnesium (as long as their kidney function is normal) even if they don't know if they are deficient.
• Tingling in Legs - Magnesium deficiency is the main cause of Restless Legs Syndrome
• Leg Cramps (Charlie Horse)
• Elevated Blood Pressure and/or Pulse
• Heart Disease
• Irregular Heartbeat (Palpitations)
Diagnostic Tests for Magnesium Deficiency
Here is a simple guide of the different tests that are used to determine if you have a magnesium deficiency or not.
Magnesium Serum Test – This is the most common magnesium test performed and also the most inaccurate. Less than 1% of the body’s total magnesium is in the blood plasma and the body does whatever it takes to keep that number regular. If you score low on a plasma test then you are in dire need of magnesium and you are definitely deficient in your bones, organs, and muscles. This test is used to measure extracellular magnesium levels.. Normal plasma magnesium levels are, 1.6 - 2.4 mEq/L. This test doesn’t accurately measure the body’s total magnesium level, but is the test most often used for diagnostic testing.
Magnesium RBC Test – This is a more accurate test that quantifies the amount of magnesium stored in the red blood cells. This test measures intracellular magnesium levels. This test gives you the amount of magnesium that has been stored in your cells for the past four months. Results of 6 mg / dl or higher indicate strong magnesium reserves in the body.
Magnesium WBC Test - This test is more accurate than the RBC test. Like the magnesium RBC test, the WBC test also measures intracellular magnesium levels. This test gives you the amount of magnesium that is currently in your cells, it doesn’t show an average of magnesium in the cells over a period of time like the RBC test. This test isn’t available to many doctors or diagnostic labs.
Magnesium EXA Test – This is the best test to determine magnesium deficiency. This test is performed by scraping your cheek buccal cells for a sample so that levels of magnesium stored in your cells, bones, and muscles can be determined. Like the WBC test, the EXA test is considered a intracellular magnesium test. The EXA test will account for 99% of the body’s total magnesium, and is the most accurate diagnostic test for magnesium currently.
The rest of the magnesium post can now be seen four replies down.
Last edited by Ron_Swanson; 07-28-2014 at 09:38 AM.
Thanks, Ron. I have been taking magnesium citrate. I think maybe it was recommended at some point because I tend to have kidney stones.
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This is an excellent post, thanks for sharing. My RX depletes my magnesium, so I have been supplementing with citrate, but I think I'll have to try the glycinate now. I was just reading the other day how magnesium in best absorbed with calcium, and it's best to take magnesium on an empty stomach, so I take it while fasting. I tried powdered eggshells with it, but the shells upset my digestion too much. Any suggestions for calcium in a fasted stateto go along with the magnesium?
Thanks for the post, very nice summary.
What was your criteria was selecting the specific brands? I am currently using Carlson magnesium glycinate.
Magnesium Amounts in Food Intake
Magnesium has to be supplemented because even if you eat a perfect diet you would still have to eat a ton of nuts, brown rice, avocados, and spinach to keep from developing a deficiency. To even get around 400 mg a day you would have to eat one cup of cooked spinach (157 mg), 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds (150 mg), 1 avocado (56 mg), and 1 cup of cooked brown rice (86 mg) a day on average (449 mg of magnesium total). These amounts also don't count the magnesium bonded to phytic acid in the pumpkin seeds, in the brown rice, and individual intestinal absorption of magnesium for different patients.
So to be conservative let's say that after a patient ate all this food they only absorbed 300 mg of magnesium from the food. Imagine if you had to take in 1,000 mg of magnesium daily. You would have to intake three cups of cooked spinach, three ounces of pumpkin seeds, three avocados, and three cups of brown rice throughout the day. Good luck!
Because of common sense, most people would argue that since ancient man didn't take in much magnesium through food as much as modern man, why do we need to supplement it at all or in such large amounts? A few theories have been mentioned to answer this question one of those theories is that the water ancient man drank had a higher concentration of magnesium in it. Because water had greater magnesium concentration so did the plants, nuts, and animal meat and bones that ancient man consumed in their diet. Also since ancient man wasn't under as much stress as modern man seems to be, their bodies don't magnesium waste quite as much and were able to hang on to more magnesium on a cellular level.
The amount of magnesium absorbed by food or even supplements requires you to have good functional digestion. If you are suffering from poor digestion the amount of magnesium you would absorb from food would be very poor. I would suggest eating food rich in magnesium like spinach, avocado, and pumpkin seeds while you are supplementing with magnesium.
Remember because of phytic acid levels of magnesium might not be as bioavailable in the body in foods like beans, nuts, and seeds. For example this means that even though pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium some of it is bounded to phytic acid therefore all 191 Mg won’t be absorbed by the body.
The supplementation amounts suggested in the guide pertains to elemental magnesium. A supplement will usually have both the total amount of magnesium and the amount of its chelation on the front of the supplement. The elemental magnesium amount is found on the back of the supplement . This is the amount of actual magnesium you are getting when you take the supplement.
If on the front of the supplement it says that 4 capsules are 2,000 mg of magnesium malate, and on the back of the supplement it says that you are getting 400 mg of magnesium, then the 400 mg is the elemental amount of magnesium you are assimilating. This also means that you will be receiving 1,600 mg of malic acid when you ingest the supplement as well. So out of that 2,000 mg of magnesium malate, 1,600 mg is made up of malic acid, and the other 400 mg of it is the elemental magnesium in the supplement.
Oral Magnesium Supplementation
Magnesium is a natural antacid unless the magnesium is chelated with an acid or a chelation that simulates production of HCL in the stomach. For this reason I have broken up the different magnesium's, and if they should be taken before bed or with a meal.
The general magnesium protocol for a person that weighs between 100 - 200 pounds is that they should take at least 800 mg of elemental magnesium for 4-6 months, then 600 mg daily thereafter. If a patient weighs less than 100 pounds, 600 mg of elemental magnesium should be taken for 2 months, and then 400 mg thereafter. This isn't the optimal amount of magnesium that a person should take daily, but this is a good standard protocol to follow.
The amount of magnesium you should supplement depends on your weight. The average basis for good magnesium cellular saturation is between 10 mg - 14 mg per kilogram a day. This means the ideal amount for a person who is 200 pounds is about 1,000 mg - 1,400 mg of elemental magnesium a day ingestion a day, for about 4-6 months to get magnesium levels balanced. This number should be increased by 200 mg in times of great stress.
If a person has loose stools at high levels of supplementation then they must switch to magnesium glycinate. If they continue to have loose stools with glycinate only supplementation, then they might need a mix of oral and transdermal to help increase their magnesium levels. Finally, if they are still having problems then an homeopathic magnesium supplement might be needed (follow supplement instructions, dosage of this supplement isn’t dependant on weight).
If a patient has kidney disease their magnesium intake needs to be greatly monitored, since good kidney function is needed to excrete excess magnesium.
Transdermal Magnesium Supplementation
Transdermal magnesium can be very important if you want to quickly raise intracellular levels of magnesium in your body. Oral magnesium supplementation can take 6-10 months to properly raise your magnesium levels to a normal range. Transdermal supplementation on the other hand can take only 3-4 months. Taking epsom salt baths twice a day, can be one way to increase transdermal supplementation.
The best way to use transdermal magnesium is to use a magnesium gel like MagneGel. MagneGel delivers approximately 150 mg of elemental magnesium per 1/4 teaspoon to the skin, or about the size of a nickel. I would suggest applying 900 mg-1,200 mg transdermal daily for about 4 months. You can base the transdermal supplementation guidelines on the same oral weight recommendations above, if you weigh more than 200 pounds you will need to increase the amount you supplement..
Both Oral And Transdermal Supplementation
The best option is to use both oral and transdermal supplementation. I would take 400 mg of elemental oral magnesium daily, and use MagneGel once or twice a day if you weigh close to 200 pounds.. This way you would get around 1,000-1,400 mg of total magnesium intake a day. I would follow this regimen for four months and then get my magnesium levels tested.
Magnesium Recommendation Dosages Based On Weight and Sex
Remember, the amount of magnesium you should supplement depends on your weight. The average basis for good magnesium cellular saturation is between 10 mg - 14 mg per kilogram a day.
All of these magnesium dose recommendations are for a person that weighs roughly 200 pounds (1,000 mg - 1,400 mg daily). If you only weigh 100 pounds, I would divide the total magnesium intake daily to around 600-800 mg of magnesium a day to increase magnesium levels. If you weigh more than 350 pounds you might want to increase daily magnesium intake to about 1,800 mg - 2,200 mg daily, as long as you have adequate kidney function.
Women who are ovulating might want to increase their magnesium by about 150-200 mg daily when they are on their periods. Women who are pregnant might want to go more conservative on their dosages and take no more than 600 mg daily to be safe.
Building Magnesium Levels, When to Test, and Maintenance Dosage
I would suggest that anyone wanting to supplement their magnesium to have their EXA levels tested first. If your magnesium is low then follow the recommendations from the guide above. Depending on how low your level of stored magnesium is, is how long you should supplement magnesium to get optimal levels.
Length of Average Magnesium Supplementation
If your magnesium levels are normal you should take a daily supplementation of elemental magnesium of about 400 - 600 mg daily. Even if your magnesium levels are normal, and you have a specific medical reason to increase your magnesium above these levels (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Nerve Damage, and Brain Trauma are some examples), you should be fine to increase supplementation as long as you have adequate kidney function. You will need to get your magnesium levels tested frequently (every 2-3 months), to make sure hypermagnesemia doesn't occur.
Finally, if you magnesium levels are extremely low, IV magnesium supplementation might be needed on an emergency basis.
Hypermagnesemia is a rare condition in which a person has too much magnesium in their blood plasma. This usually doesn't happen in patients that take supplemental magnesium, but it can happen if a person has inadequate kidney function. It usually happens in patients with poor kidney function and patients that receive an overdose of IV magnesium. Rarely, supplemental magnesium causes hypermagnesemia, this is because the kidneys are very good at excreting excess magnesium.
Diagnostic symptoms are usually a combination of low blood sugar and high calcium. Symptoms usually include weakness, vomiting, impaired breathing, hypotension, increased blood calcium levels, arrhythmia, lack of muscle reflexes, and bradycardia (slow heart rate). It is possible that if one's plasma magnesium level is too high the heart can stop, causing a "heart attack". This is because magnesium is a muscle relaxant, but this outcome is extremely rare.
Treatment for hypermagnesemia includes giving IV calcium gluconate to inactivate and bind to the excess magnesium. The calcium also reactivates the muscle cells because calcium is a muscle stimulator. Finally, dialysis might be needed in some cases to eliminate excess magnesium and to help with kidney function.
Last edited by Ron_Swanson; 08-07-2013 at 09:58 PM.
Different Forms of Magnesium
Recommended Forms of Magnesium:
Magnesium Glycinate - The most bioavailable form of Magnesium. The extra glycine as an amino acid can help with sleep and provide a calm feeling. This form of magnesium is the least likely to cause loose stools. Taken at Bedtime.
Magnesium Malate - Magnesium malate is important for people who have a lot of fatigue or suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Magnesium supplementation increases ATP, which is a molecule that provides energy to our cells. Malic Acid has also been shown to increase ATP levels. Magnesium Malate should be taken during the day with meals. The extra malic acid will increase stomach acid and assimilation.
Magnesium Chloride - Magnesium Chloride is one of the best forms of magnesium for people with Gerd or stomach problems. It must be taken with food because the extra chloride will definitely make more HCL in the stomach. Can also be used topically as a spray for transdermal supplementation.
Magnesium Taurate - Magnesium Taurate is a lifesaver for people with heart disease. The extra taurine is an amino acid helps increase heart function. Taken at Bedtime.
Magnesium Citrate - Magnesium Citrate should mostly only be used for bowel irrigation, it is also one of the most well known forms of magnesium supplementation. It causes some loose stools and it’s absorbability is average. Magnesium citrate should be taken with meals because the extra citric acid will increase stomach acid and assimilation.
Magnesium Sulfate - Honestly only used to stop pre-eclampsia and used in bath salts as epsom salt. Has okay absorbability but does leave some extra organic sulfur in the body Can be absorbed by the skin. Can help heal muscle sprains better than other forms because of skin permeability. Taken soaking in a bath or before bed.
Magnesium Arginate - Arginine is a vasodilator amino acid that is good for increasing blood flow. This form of magnesium is very good for bodybuilders. Taken with meals throughout the day due to the possibility of increased energy.
Magnesium Lysinate - A good source of magnesium and the amino acid lysine. Lysine is an excellent anti-viral. Taken before bed.
Magnesium Ascorbate - A good source of magnesium and vitamin C. Can cause some loose stools. Taken before bed.
Magnesium ZMK- A great form of magnesium that uses magnesium from all of the krebs cycle: Citrate, Fumarate, Malate, Succinate & Alpha-Keto-Glutarate. This supplement form of magnesium ZMK is great for athletes, and is very good for recovery. A ZMK supplement should be taken before bed.
Magnesium Fumerate, Succinate, Alpha-Keto Glutarate - See Magnesium ZMK, All Krebs Cycle forms of magnesium.
Magnesium Gluconate - A form of magnesium that is chelated with gluconic acid which occurs from the fermentation of glucose. Magnesium gluconate has above average absorbability in the body (better than even magnesium citrate), but may rarely still cause loose stools. Taken before bed.
Magnesium Carbonate - This is probably the lowest form of magnesium I can recommend. Has one of lowest levels of assimilation and is a good osmotic laxative. It can also lower stomach acid levels and is used in most antacids. Taken at Bedtime.
Magnesium With Special Uses:
Magnesium Orotate - This is one least known forms of magnesium, but let me tell you if you just had a surgery or exercise constantly then it will be your godsend. The extra orotate will help muscle regeneration. Take only for a short period of time though, the extra orotate will increase uric acid levels. Women should stay away from it if they are or are trying to become pregnant since it may be mutagenic (Only found as a possibility in rats in vivo, rats are different biologically than humans). Taken at Bedtime.
Magnesium L-Threonate - Magnesium L-Threonate may greatly increase magnesium in the brain and spinal column for increased cognitive function. To be honest there isn’t a lot of in vivo research to prove if this is true yet though. L-Threonate is an isomer of ascorbic acid. [New research has shown that it increases magnesium levels about the same as Magnesium Sulfate, granted magnesium sulfate is injected which might make it be able to cross the blood brain barrier then oral magnesium.] Taken at Bedtime.
Magnesium 2-AEP - This is a form of magnesium that is chelated with phosphorylethanolamine which is a vital component of the structure and integrity of cell membranes. Magnesium 2-AEP has been theorized to help patients with MS, because it can help with cellular function and integrity and can help protect myelin in the brain. One downside though is it has been implicated in possibly being able to suppress the immune system. Taken with meals during the day.
Magnesium Peroxide - ONLY AS COLON CLEANSER. Taken before bed.
Magnesium Phos 6X - Normally I don’t recommend homeopathic supplements (if they work for some people I’m glad they do, I rather recommend nutriceuticals), but for homeopathic minerals I feel they still can be beneficial because some of the trace mineral should still be left in the product. I would suggest using this remedy in a person who is extremely sensitive to all forms of magnesium supplementation. If magnesium glycinate still causes loose stools and magnesium chloride causes allergic reactions on the skin then this is the magnesium for you to try. This magnesium contains some phosphorus so I would suggest if you have kidney problems to stay away from this form. Taken before bed.
Garbage forms of Magnesium:
Most of these forms of magnesium I consider are garbage because they either do damage in the body or are very poorly absorbed.
Magnesium Yeast Chelate - A “natural” form of magnesium that is very easily assimilated by the body, what sounds so wrong about that? This form of magnesium is found in most of your “natural” vitamins like New Chapter, Garden of Life, and Megafood. The main problem I have with this form of magnesium is that you have to ingest a lot of brewers yeast (which some people are sensitive to) in the whole supplement to get a tiny amount of magnesium. Most vitamins that use this form of magnesium have very little magnesium actually in the vitamin (less than 100 mg elemental). There are just a lot better options out there. Taken with food.
Magnesium Aspartate - Absorption isn't worth extra Aspartic Acid. Too much Aspartic Acid is neurotoxic. Can you say ASPARTAME? Taken at bedtime. This includes magnesium ZMA supplements.
Magnesium Pidolate (Magnesium 5-Oxo Proline) - Absorption is DEFINITELY not worth the extra free glutamic acid. Too much free glutamic acid can be excitotoxic and neurotoxic. Can you say MSG? Taken with meals.
Magnesium Hydroxide - Not greatly absorbed and most magnesium is released into the bowels. Most commercial preparations (Milk of Magnesium) have sodium hypochlorite added (bleach). Taken at Bedtime.
Magnesium Oxide - VERY POORLY ABSORBED - Out of 400 mg only AT MOST 80 mg of elemental magnesium is absorbed by the body. One of the worst absorbed forms of magnesium, and sadly the most common supplement form taken the most. Taken at Bedtime.
Magnesium Glycerophosphate - This magnesium is chelated with phosphorus. The problem with this magnesium is that most people get too much phosphate in their diet. People with kidney problems should also definitely stay away from this supplement because it is harder for them to eliminate excess phosphates. Taken at bedtime.
Magnesium Lactate - Extra Lactic Acid is FUN! Shouldn’t definitely not be used for people who have kidney disease because the extra lactic acid can cause more complications for the kidneys. I don’t generally recommend this form at all. Taken during meals.
Brands of Magnesium I Recommend
Best Glycinate: Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate / Other Recommendations: Designs for Health Magnesium Glycinate, Douglas Labs Magnesium Glycinate, Doctor's Best Magnesium Glycinate
Best Malate: Jigsaw Magnesium Malate / Other Recommendations: Now Magnesium Malate, Jarrow Formulas Magnesium Optimizer Malate, Source Naturals Magnesium Malate
Best Citrate: Natural Calm / Other Recommendations: Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Citrate, Now Magnesium Citrate, Source Naturals Magnesium Citrate
Best Chloride: Trace Minerals Research Ionic Magnesium
Best Peroxide: New Earth Oxy-C Magnesium Peroxide
Best Ascorbate: Now Magnesium Ascorbate Powder
Best Orotate: Advanced Reasearch Magnesium Orotate
Best Taurate: Cardiovascular Research Magnesium Taurate
Best Dermal Magnesium: Designs for Health MagneGel
Best Magnesium Sulfate: Epsoak Empsom Salt, Kirkman Magnesium Sulfate Cream
Best 2AEP: Advanced Research 2AEP Magnesium
Best Arginate: Advanced Research Magnesium Arginate with Aspartate (It's the only one I can find, but it does have aspartate in it, use sparingly)
Best Lysinate: Doctor's Best High Absorption Magnesium
Best Magnesium L-Threonate: Life Extension Magnesium L-Threonate / Other Recommendations: Jarrow Formulas MagMind
Best Magnesium "Blend": Solaray Vegan Magnesium / Other Recommendations: Source Naturals Ultra Mag
Best Magnesium for Athletes: ZMK Supplement
Dean, Carolyn. The Magnesium Miracle, Ballantine Books, December 26, 2006.
Seelig, Mildred / Rosanoff, Andrea. The Magnesium Factor, Avery Trade,
August 25, 2003.
Sircus, Mark / Reid, Daniel. Transdermal Magnesium Therapy, Phaelos
Books & Mediawerks, January 1, 2007.
Last edited by Ron_Swanson; 08-07-2013 at 09:59 PM.
Thank you for the info. I'm still reading got to here:
"The extra Glycine also as an amino acid helps relax nerves and muscles, and helps relieve anxiety."
So would you recommend this amino? Any particular or specific cases you'd recommend it for?
Yes, but be aware too much glycine can cause anxiety for some people. This is why it's best to take the magnesium glycinate so that you get the best of both worlds without getting too much glycine.