Magnesium is a hardworking mineral that assists in over 300 enzyme functions in your body. It contributes to the proper functioning of your bones, muscles, nerves and mood, amongst others. Unfortunately, it is estimated that between 50%1 and 75%2 of Americans do not get enough from their usual daily diet. The rise of processed foods, intensive agricultural practices that have decreased magnesium in the soil and even health conditions such as celiac disease can contribute to low magnesium levels.
Yet, it can be difficult to diagnose a magnesium deficiency because your body stores most of it in your bones and the rest in your tissues. Therefore, blood tests are not accurate in measuring magnesium in your body.3 Plus, low magnesium symptoms are not easy to identify because they resemble other conditions like tiredness or irritability.
Eating foods high in magnesium can benefit your health because of magnesium’s many contributions to your body’s essential functions. In some cases, a magnesium citrate supplement can also help you achieve an optimal daily dose if you’re not getting enough through your diet. There are various reasons why your diet may lack magnesium, but there are easy measures you can take to boost your levels.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol “Mg” and atomic number 12. It is a shiny gray solid and belongs to the alkaline earth metals group on the periodic table. Magnesium is abundant in the Earth’s crust and is the ninth most abundant element by mass.
The importance of magnesium in your body’s daily processes cannot be overstated. Magnesium is present in around 80% of metabolic functions, including energy production, DNA synthesis, muscle contraction, nerve function and regulation of blood pressure. But this mineral is still poorly understood in scientific communities as opposed to other micronutrients like calcium or iron.4 One of the reasons is the difficulty in determining magnesium deficiency in clinical testing.
Having optimal magnesium levels can benefit your body and mind in a surprising number of ways.
Prevention of Migraines
Magnesium can help as a complimentary treatment to prevent the onset of migraines, especially migraines with aura.5 Magnesium oxide, taken as an oral supplement, may soothe inflammation that triggers migraines.6
When you’re stressed, your body loses magnesium at a quicker rate, which can lead to a deficiency.9 A magnesium deficiency, in turn, can increase your susceptibility irritability and mild anxiety.10 Making sure you get enough magnesium can improve your body’s ability to cope and prevent the vicious cycle of stress.
Improved Heart Health
High magnesium intake improves the processing of glucose and insulin. This lowers the risk of diabetes, hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular diseases.11 Magnesium also helps transport electrolytes like calcium and potassium, which are essential to produce normal heartbeats.12
The Science-Backed Benefits of Magnesium
Learn more about the science-backed benefits of magnesium. Although the benefits of magnesium are many, it remains a difficult mineral to study in clinical trials. However, recent promising scientific research continues to make important discoveries on its impact on our health.
Magnesium may improve memory, according to a clinical study based on healthy Chinese adults.13 Researchers issued a standard memory test to participants and observed that those who had received magnesium supplements showed significant improvement over the control group. Additionally, older participants performed better than the younger ones. This study shows magnesium’s ability to positively affect brain function and neuron activity.
Another interesting recent research project discovered that magnesium microneedling patches improve under-eye wrinkles.14 Microneedling is a common procedure used for the treatment of skin conditions like wrinkles and acne scars. It is available as a convenient at-home beauty treatment. Clinicians determined there was a significant improvement in wrinkles after 12 weeks of treatment. The non-absorbable magnesium microneedling patches offered effective results with minimum discomfort.
The Bulletproof Approach to Magnesium
At Bulletproof, we make it easy for you to get the essential vitamins and nutrients to fuel your everyday. In an ideal world, we could get all our vitamins and nutrients from our diet, but it is not always easy, especially with nutrient-deficient foods. Supplements are a great option to achieve optimal levels of essential minerals like magnesium. Plus, we offer a wide range of options, from magnesium citrate supplements to chocolate-flavored collagen protein with magnesium.
We create our supplements with science-backed ingredients at doses that have clinical studies to confirm their effectiveness for optimal results. There are so many types of magnesium on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one is right for your needs. Explore some of the types of magnesium available over the counter and by prescription and when to
Magnesium oxide is made by combining magnesium with oxygen. It is readily available at most pharmacies as capsules or powders. Magnesium oxide is generally used to treat heartburn, indigestion or as a short-term solution to occasional constipation?15 It is not absorbed by the body well, so won’t substantially improve magnesium levels.16
Magnesium citrate supplements are also commonly found in pharmacies or online. Magnesium citrate is easy to take orally, as a supplement or as a powder that you dissolve in water or juice. It can be used to boost magnesium levels and contribute to better sleep. In high doses, it can have a laxative effect.17
Magnesium malate combines magnesium with malic acid, an organic compound that you find in certain foods. This supplement can help boost energy, athletic performance and skin health.18 Although this supplement is generally well tolerated, it can have adverse side effects when taken with medications like diuretics or antibiotics. Speak to your healthcare practitioner if you have any concerns or questions.
Magnesium lactate is the resulting salt formed from magnesium binding with lactic acid. It is not generally popular as an over-the-counter supplement. However, due to its easy absorption in the digestive tract, it may be a good option for people who need to take high doses of magnesium and cannot tolerate other forms.19
Magnesium Sulfate is available at the pharmacy as a short-term treatment for occasional constipation. It can also be used externally as a soaking solution for muscle or joint discomfort.20 You may recognize it as Epsom salts at your local drugstore. Today, there isn’t enough data to support the claim that using a magnesium soak will raise your body’s magnesium levels.21
Choosing the best magnesium supplement depends on various factors, including your specific health needs, preferences and any existing medical conditions. Are you looking to address a magnesium deficiency? Support bone health? Or do you want to improve your sleep? Your goals will help guide your choice. Before starting any new supplement, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications, consult your healthcare provider. They can help you determine the appropriate supplement and dosage for you.
Our Supplement Testing Standards
We produce our supplements with science in mind. Our team of experts only chooses ingredients that are backed by research that confirm their effectiveness. We work closely with third-party labs to test the potency of our products to make sure we are choosing the right doses for optimal impact. Our supplements align with FDA regulations for composition, strength and purity.
Our supplement testing goes through four steps of quality control. First, we test the potency of the ingredients to make sure they aren’t diluted. Then, we examine the purity of the product and ensure there aren’t any harmful contaminants. Step three is testing the level of active ingredients as it relates to the information on the label. And finally, we do composition testing to ensure that the supplement is true to the label specifications. Our high testing standards make our supplements safe, effective, and accurate.
Magnesium is readily available in many foods you eat every day. Support your magnesium levels by incorporating some of our top magnesium-rich recipes into your weekly meal prep and reap the benefits.
Paleo Breakfast Sweet Potato Bowl
Paleo Sweet Potato Nachos
Greens Powder Smoothie
Bulletproof Breakfast: Buddha Bowl
Salmon Protein Bowl With Broccoli and Leeks
Sweet Potato Salmon Avocado Toast
Purple Sweet Potato Salmon Sushi Roll
Smoked Salmon and Garlic Spinach Breakfast Sandwich
Ideally, take magnesium supplements with a meal. Taking them on an empty stomach may cause digestive discomfort.
Magnesium can be taken any time of day, depending on your needs. If you suffer from anxiety, taking it first thing could help as a stress relief supplement. If you want to get a better night’s sleep, taking it at night is more appropriate.
Generally, you should start feeling the effects of magnesium supplements after one week.23
Yes, it is possible to get enough magnesium through the food you eat. However, many people today face magnesium deficiencies because today’s diet is not nutrient-rich enough. Due to modern farming practices and depleted soil many fruits and vegetables don’t have as high magnesium content as they used to. Taking a magnesium supplement is a way to ensure you’re getting optimal amounts for your body.
It is not only safe to take magnesium while breastfeeding, but it is often recommended. However, it is important to consult with your healthcare practitioner to determine if supplementing with magnesium is right for you.