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The importance of magnesium for health

The importance of magnesium for health
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I have known about the importance of magnesium for health for a long time. In fact, all members of have been applying and using magnesium oil, both internally and trans-dermally, for years. The great thing about magnesium oil is that you don’t get any laxative effects, but magnesium is still absorbed into the body via the skin.

A great benefit of living close to the beach is that we have access to seawater. The adults sometimes ingest this water, either with food or on its own (yes it can taste yucky at times, but it’s worth it!); doing this ensures we are getting our daily magnesium.

So without further ado, here is further information I have researched about magnesium.

Magnesium is a vital nutrient and mineral that is essential for proper functioning in the body. It is a seriously important element for health and wellbeing for everyone… babies, young children, young adults, adults, the elderly, and pregnant women. It is so important that it should not be overlooked.

Without enough magnesium in our bodies, we are prone to illness and disease.

There are many forms of supplementary magnesium products on the market that can be taken daily to ensure we get our daily intake, and there are also foods that are naturally high in magnesium.

Magnesium is needed for energy production, for synthesis of essential molecules that is required for DNA and RNA protein function, for cell signalling and cell migration; for wound healing, to transport ions such as calcium and potassium across cell membranes. It is essential for nerve and muscle function. 1

A lack of sufficient magnesium can cause problems with vitamin D and calcium utilisation within the body. Low levels in the body can also contribute to heart disease, diabetes, panic attacks, stress, migraines, osteoporosis, asthma, fatigue, tooth decay and PMS just to name a few. 2

Magnesium is an essential nutrient and mineral that is required for calcium absorption. It is needed to keep the mineral channels working properly. 3 Without enough magnesium, calcium can accumulate in the cell and cause serious problems from angina, high blood pressure, arrhythmias, asthma, atherosclerosis, and even heart attacks. 5 It’s also interesting to learn that magnesium relaxes the muscle cells whilst calcium does the opposite by contracting them. 4

In the eBook by Dr. Carolyn Dean MD, ND, she states a very long list of illnesses and diseases that indicate magnesium deficiency. From alcohol intake, to depression, to diminished sexual energy and consuming too much sugar. 6

Magnesium can be found in many different foods. Some foods that contain the most magnesium include:7

Nuts, seeds and legumes: brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts and pecans
Yeast: brewer’s yeast, nutritional yeast
Seaweed: dulse
Grains: wheat bran, filberts, wheat germ, millet, wheat grain, rye
Molasses and buckwheat
Raw chocolate
Leafy greens: spinach, swiss chard
Milk products and dairy

The importance of magnesium for health

Note: many of these foods listed may not be suitable for everyone due to additives (chocolate), allergies or other reasons. As with many of the nuts and grains listed, preparation by soaking, fermenting and sprouting is best before cooking to release anti-nutrients and phytic acid levels.8  

Living currently, it is easy to become magnesium deficient. The consumption of processed foods, a decreased amount of magnesium in commercially grown crops, drinking too much alcohol, using medications and too much stress; it’s no wonder most people are low on magnesium. 13, 14 Also, did you know that cooking foods can greatly decrease magnesium content? The mineral content lessens when the cooking methods used expel water away from the food, such as boiling or soaking foods in water prior to further cooking. 16

It is stated that almost half of the population in the US does not consume enough magnesium that is recommended in a day. 9 Another source states 80% of men and 70% of women in America don’t get their RDI. 10 

Magnesium in pregnancy is important from conception to childbirth. Adequate magnesium intake is vital for the health of both mother and child. Pregnant women can be prone to deficiencies that can lead to childhood illnesses, therefore it is so important to supplement with magnesium when pregnant. One way to do this is to rub trans-dermal magnesium on the stomach, like I did.

Recommendations vary. For adults, it is recommended by Oregon State University to take around 310-420 mg daily, depending on age and gender. You can check out this chart 11 for more specific information on dosages.

Magnesium is also used in hospital emergency departments for severe asthma attacks and other life-threatening conditions such as eclampsia (where high blood pressure results in seizures during pregnancy), and torsade de pointes (a specific type of abnormal heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death). 15

Different types of magnesium 12, 13

Magnesium chelates:

Because magnesium is highly reactive it needs to be combined with at least one other carrier (another molecule or atom). Magnesium chelates are different to non-chelated magnesium, which uses an extra carrier. Amino acids are generally used as carriers, but chelated magnesium is not exclusive to these as other carriers can be used. 17

When you hear the term ‘elemental magnesium’, it is referring to the quantity of magnesium ions only, excluding the carrier.

Chelates are said to have less of a laxative effect than other forms.

Magnesium citrate: this type of magnesium is bound with citric acid. It is said to be among the most bio available forms of magnesium, being more easily absorbed in comparison to other forms of magnesium. This form is most commonly used for constipation. It’s apparently similar to magnesium chloride but has a stronger taste.

Magnesium lactate: this type of magnesium is formed when it is bound with lactic acid. This acid is naturally produced by the muscles and blood cells. It’s manufactured for use as a food additive, preservative and flavouring agent. It’s ideal for people who can’t tolerate other forms of magnesium successfully or need to take larger doses of magnesium, as it is easily absorbed and gentler on the digestive system than other forms.

Magnesium malate: this type of magnesium includes malic acid, which occurs naturally in food. This acid has a sour taste and is used as a food additive. It’s gentler on the system and has less of a laxative effect than other types. It is also very well absorbed by the digestive tract.

Magnesium glycinate: this type of magnesium is formed with the amino acid glycine, which is naturally occurring within food and found naturally in the body. This form of magnesium is said to be used for its calming ability; to help with stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Magnesium orotate: orotic acid is naturally occurring in the body. This form is easily absorbed without strong laxative effects. It is said to be beneficial for people with heart disease, and for athletes. It is more expensive than other forms.

Magnesium taurate: this type of magnesium contains the amino acid taurine. With adequate intakes of magnesium and taurine in the body, research suggests they may promote the regulation of healthy blood sugar levels. This form of magnesium is therefore suggested to be beneficial for people with high blood sugar and high blood pressure.

Magnesium oxide: this type of magnesium is a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen. It’s the cheapest form of magnesium, but only 4% is absorbed. It’s used for short-term relief of heartburn, indigestion, and constipation as it is a fairly powerful laxative. Taking too much could cause diarrhoea. It is said that the body does not absorb this form as well as other forms.

Magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt): this type of magnesium combines magnesium, sulphur and oxygen. Many people use it trans-dermally in a bath to soothe sore muscles. It can also be used for constipation and for general stress relief. It has a bitter taste, although it’s not food grade so it’s best to use in baths rather than for ingestion. It’s sometimes used in skin care products.

Magnesium chloride, also Magnesium Oil: this type of magnesium originates from seawater and is my preferred magnesium source. Well absorbed by digestion, it can be used to treat low magnesium levels, heartburn, and constipation. When diluted in distilled water, it is commonly used as a topical application named magnesium oil. One of the main benefits of this oil is that you don’t get a laxative effect when used trans-dermally. Click here for more information about magnesium oil and how to make your own at home.

Magnesium is an essential mineral and nutrient for our overall health and the health of our loved ones, for children and adults of all ages and genders. It is one of the most vital natural ingredients for maintaining and achieving an optimal state of health and wellbeing. It is so important that not only can it prevent, but it could also treat, an existing disease or illness.


2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14
6 pp. 10,11
13 How to change your life with magnesium by Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, p. 19

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Images used throughout article by NordWood Themes, Nicolas Ukrman, Vince Lee on Unsplash

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