Updated: Mar 30, 2022
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight, for the ends of being and ideal grace. Can we talk for a few minutes about my favorite nutrient? It's magnesium. I love it because it has so many functions and is utilized in practically every cellular interaction in the body. It plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions on a day to day basis. It helps regulate nerve and muscle function, it helps our digestive systems run smoothly, it helps calm anxiety, support heart contractility, and regulate blood pressure. It helps us sleep soundly, and supports our immune system. It can help prevent or treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, type II diabetes, and migraines. It is implicated in healthy bone formation, and is required for the formation of cellular energy, and protein synthesis. When taken with B-6, can help alleviate premenstrual symptoms.
The sad truth though, is that more than half of Americans are deficient in this vital nutrient. The reason for that is multifactorial. The Standard American diet (SAD) is magnesium deficient because it is heavily processed. Our soils are being depleted of this vital nutrient, so our crops actually contain less of it. Additionally, industrial processing actually removes magnesium from our food sources. This leaves our bodies largely magnesium deficient, requiring supplementation. While the typical adult requires around 300-400mg of magnesium daily, studies find that doses up to 2500 mg daily can be beneficial.
There are several forms of magnesium, and the form you take makes a difference in absorption and affect. A non-exhaustive list includes: magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, magnesium malate, magnesium taurate, magnesium glycinate, and magnesium threonine. Each form affects the body’s chemistry slightly differently, so it is important to understand their differences. Magnesium citrate is most bioavailable form, and is therefore easily absorbed by the digestive system, however that also means that it can cause gastric upset or diarrhea, and is therefore not a form that I readily recommend. Magnesium oxide is typically used to treat heartburn and constipation, but it is very poorly absorbed by the body, and therefore my least favorite option. Magnesium malate is one of my go-to options because it is very well absorbed by the body and has been researched to alleviate pain like that seen in fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue, and, as a kicker- it does not cause digestive upset. Magnesium taurate contains the amino acid taurine which may help to support blood pressure and manage blood sugar levels. Magnesium glycinate contains the amino acid glycine, which plays a vital role in the formation of proteins. It also has a calming effect on the body, and may alleviate anxiety, or depression. An added bonus is that it helps with insomnia which makes this form my absolute favorite, and I often recommend taking it at night. Lastly, magnesium threonate crosses the blood brain barrier, so this form is most effective for those who are interested in supporting age-related memory loss or depression.
For those who would rather consume their nutrients in their diet, look to cashews, almonds, spinach, and peanuts for your daily doses. You will also find magnesium in soymilk, (make sure it is organic) avocados, black beans, kidney beans, oatmeal, brown rice, bananas and yes, dark chocolate. I always encourage you to eat the rainbow while making your magnesium packed meals and snacks, so remember your colors, and as always, stay Pura Vida 💙
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