Did you know that Magnesium (Mg) is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body? Further, did you know that there are nearly a dozen different types of magnesium? Each of them has a different function and is good for your health in different ways.
You can get your magnesium intake through supplements in capsule or powder form. You can also get your magnesium through eating whole foods, such as:
- Whole grains: oatmeal, whole wheat
- Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, edamame, black beans
- Vegetables: spinach, kale, avocado, Swiss chard
- Nuts: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews
- Others: dark chocolate (yum!)
Now, before we bombard you with recipes that are high in magnesium, let’s first talk about some of the different types of magnesium and why they’re so good for you! The “best” or “right” magnesium for you may be different from that of a friend, family member, or colleague. Everyone absorbs magnesium differently, and that needs to be taken into account.
The mineral is necessary for over 300 metabolic reactions essential for your health, including the following:
- Blood pressure regulation
- Energy production
- Muscle contraction
- Blood glucose control
- Structural development of bones
- Heart rhythm
Clinically, it is also used to treat muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, high blood pressure, constipation, and chronic stress. A pandemic when you are mostly home-bound may actually be the perfect time to look into taking magnesium supplements.
Magnesium has also been studied to help with mood disorders, migraines, and type 2 diabetes. Below are different types of magnesium and what the mineral is used for – let’s find which magnesium is best for you!
Magnesium citrate is one of the most popular types of magnesium supplements and is easily absorbed by your body. It’s mainly used to raise magnesium levels and treat constipation due to its laxative effect. In a few studies, it is also believed that magnesium can aid with mood disorders or depression, though more research needs to be done before verifying that through the FDA.
Due to Magnesium citrate being one of the most common magnesium formulations, it can be easily purchased online or at your local vitamin or health food store.
Magnesium oxide is a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen. Magnesium oxide is often used to relieve digestive issues like heartburn and constipation. Popular stomach relief medicine Pepto Bismol uses magnesium oxide as one of the active ingredients. Given that the body doesn’t absorb it well, it isn’t a good choice for those who need to raise their magnesium levels, however it is still often used for short-term stomach issues or discomfort.
It naturally forms a white, powdery substance and may be sold in powder or capsule form. It’s also the main active ingredient in milk of magnesia, a popular over-the-counter medication for – you guessed it – constipation relief.
Magnesium chloride is easily absorbed orally and used to treat heartburn, constipation, and low magnesium levels.
Magnesium chloride can be found in a variety of lotions which boast the ability to aid in sleep, to be used before or after exercise, and for healthier looking skin. You can, of course, also use it topically to help muscle soreness.
Magnesium lactate is effective as a dietary supplement and, due to the way it binds with lactic acid, is possibly gentler on your digestive system. It may be more suitable for those who don’t tolerate other forms or need to take especially large doses to help support the immune system, heart, and nervous system.
Because magnesium lactate is so gentle on the stomach, it can be used as a food additive to cut acid from certain foods to make them more digestible, as well!
Like magnesium lactate, magnesium malate is pretty easily absorbed and may have less of a laxative effect than other forms. Traditionally, magnesium malate is used in flavoring to add acid or a sourness to food or drink. It’s found naturally in wine and citrus fruits.
There is not a lot of research so it cannot be officially recommended, but magnesium malate has been studied against chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or Arnold Chiari malformation. In some cases, it helps alleviate pain.
Magnesium taurate contains the amino acid taurine, which is used for a bevy of functions in your body, including:
- Electrolyte balance / hydration on a cellular level
- Regulating blood sugar
- Regulating minerals within your cells
- Aiding in digestion
- Supporting function of your central nervous system
Magnesium and taurine, in high concentrations, play a role in regulating blood sugar, so it can be deduced that taking magnesium taurate could help in regulating blood sugar and pressure, but more research needs to be done.
Magnesium glycinate is magnesium bound to glycine. This type of supplement has very good absorption levels. That means your body can make the most of it once it’s ingested.
Magnesium glycinate can have a lot of really incredible benefits for your mood — including help with sleep and calming of anxiety. It also is very good for your bone health by helping you maintain bone density. In fact, according to the Journal of Pain Relief, magnesium glycinate can also help with chronic pain, overall flexibility, and quality of life in general. Seems like a good one to add to the routine — it has so many benefits!
Magnesium L-threonate is the salt formed from compounding magnesium and threonic acid AKA the soluble form of Vitamin C. Research shows that this particular form of magnesium is the most easily absorbed by the brain, thus the ability to potentially aid in the treatment of mood disorders or memory loss.
Magnesium sulfate is formed by combining magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It’s commonly referred to as Epsom salt. Ever take a nice, warm bath with Epsom salt or wonder why your masseuse or chiropractor would recommend the stuff?
Magnesium sulfate AKA Epsom salts are frequently dissolved in bathwater to soothe sore, achy muscles and relieve stress. It’s also sometimes included in skin care products, such as lotion or body oil. Don’t try to eat it, though! Epsom salt is called salt merely for the compound. You won’t like the taste – promise.
This particular form of magnesium includes orotic acid, a natural substance involved in your body’s construction of genetic material, including DNA. It’s also easily absorbed into your body and doesn’t have the same laxative effect as many of the other kinds of magnesium.
Magnesium orotate may be able to bolster heart health by improving energy production in your heart and blood vessel tissue. Because of how magnesium orotate helps your heart and helps produce energy, it’s popular among competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts, but it may also aid people with heart disease.
On average, most adults need 320–420mg of magnesium per day. If you’re unable to meet your needs from your diet, we suggest a supplement. (Though here is another handful of recipes rich with magnesium that you should try to integrate into your dinner routine!) While they’re widely considered safe, you may want to talk to a health professional before starting a magnesium regime.