The Many Benefits of Magnesium for Health

Magnesium is an essential mineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body, yet it is often overlooked. This mineral is crucial for several aspects of health including mood, migraines, premenstrual syndrome, protein synthesis, nerve function, muscle function, blood sugar regulation, and blood pressure. This article will explore the signs of magnesium deficiency, the top magnesium supplements, how magnesium works with vitamin D, and its effects on high blood pressure.

Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Although magnesium testing is not routinely included in standard blood work, there are many clinical signs and symptoms that can indicate if someone is deficient in this critical mineral:

  • Muscle cramps, usually at night
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Stress and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cognitive issues
  • Headaches and migraines

Checking red blood cell magnesium levels can give a more accurate picture of magnesium status than the standard serum magnesium test. Paying attention to potential deficiency symptoms along with targeted testing can help identify if magnesium supplementation may be beneficial.

Top Forms of Magnesium Supplements

There are several forms of magnesium supplements available, which are described below based on their absorption rates and specific uses:

Magnesium Aspartate

  • Absorption rate: 42-45%
  • Can have excitatory effects, so not ideal for calming

Magnesium Lactate

  • Absorption rate: 42%

Magnesium Citrate

  • Absorption rate: 30%
  • Helpful for constipation

Magnesium Glycinate

  • Absorption rate: 24%
  • Glycine is a calming neurotransmitter
  • Useful for general health and absorption

Magnesium Chloride

  • Absorption rate: 20%
  • Provides chloride for stomach acid production

Magnesium Sulfate

  • Absorption rate: 47%
  • May help with atrial fibrillation

Magnesium Oxide

  • Absorption rate: 4%
  • Still showed benefits in some studies

Magnesium threonate and magnesium taurate can cross the blood brain barrier and help with brain-related issues like mood, sleep, and migraines.

Magnesium citrate is especially good for constipation issues.

Magnesium glycinate provides overall calming effects.

How Magnesium Works with Vitamin D

Magnesium assists with the metabolism and activation of vitamin D. In particular:

  • Magnesium is required to convert vitamin D from its inactive to active form.
  • Higher activated vitamin D levels also increase magnesium absorption.

With soil depletion resulting in lower magnesium levels in food over time, supplementation can help restore optimal levels of both magnesium and vitamin D for synergistic benefits.

Recommended Dosages

  • Vitamin D: 2,000-5,000 IU daily if levels are not tested; up to 10,000 IU if confirmed deficient through testing.
  • Magnesium: 200-400 mg daily. Up to 1,000 mg magnesium has been used under medical supervision.

Other fat soluble vitamins like A, E, and K may also be beneficial to take with vitamin D for proper absorption.

Optimal Blood Levels

Target vitamin D blood levels should be between 60-80 ng/mL for ideal health. Check with your functional medicine doctor about testing your levels.

Magnesium and High Blood Pressure

Extensive research demonstrates the benefits of magnesium for helping manage high blood pressure (hypertension). Although the FDA has not approved magnesium specifically for blood pressure reduction, it acknowledges the existing evidence of its benefits.

Key notes regarding magnesium and high blood pressure:

  • January 2022: FDA agrees food labels can state potential benefits for hypertension if containing >20% RDA of magnesium per serving.
  • Studies show daily doses of 240-600 mg magnesium help lower blood pressure.
  • Dosage matters more than type of magnesium for blood pressure benefits.
  • For people already on blood pressure medications, adding 240 mg magnesium may further reduce systolic and diastolic values.
  • Those with uncontrolled hypertension may benefit from 600 mg or more magnesium daily.

Be sure to consult your doctor before starting magnesium, especially if you are already on medications. Testing magnesium levels can help guide optimal dosing.

Magnesium effects on mood, sleep, muscle function

Magnesium is an underappreciated mineral that most people could benefit from supplementing due to widespread deficiency. Numerous studies validate its multifaceted effects on mood, sleep, muscle function, blood sugar regulation, and even hypertension. Combining magnesium with vitamin D provides synergistic effects for further optimization of health. Work with a functional or integrative medicine practitioner to test your levels and determine the ideal magnesium supplements and dosages for your individual needs.

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