Our bodies need certain elements to function properly. Almost 99% of the human body’s mass is made up of just six chemical elements including:
There are other elements that are essential to life. Of the essential elements, magnesium is the fourth most common mineral in the human body.
Not only is magnesium a common mineral in the body, but it is also abundant. It plays some role in every essential function of the body, and it is present throughout the body as well.
Sixty percent of the magnesium in our bodies is stored in bone. As you can imagine, that makes it a particularly important part of our bone health. Now, we know that magnesium is essential to our bodies and abundant in our bodies, but what is it?
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral. It can be found in the ocean, in plants and animals, and in the human body. Its role in our body ranges from energy creation to regulation of the nervous system and a variety of tasks in between.
Magnesium acts as a cofactor for the cells in your body. That means it helps in the biochemical reactions that the enzymes in your body are continuously performing. So, it is one of our body’s best friends as every cell in our bodies contains it. Additionally, they all need it to function to their best level.
So, what makes magnesium such an important mineral for our bodies?
What Does Magnesium Help Do in the Body?
Magnesium is a busy mineral that helps out almost everywhere in our bodies. Some of the functions magnesium help with includes:
- Energy creation - When we consume food, it has to be converted to energy. Magnesium helps in this conversion process.
- Protein formation - Amino acids must be formed into new proteins, and magnesium works to perform that task.
- Gene maintenance - Our cells contain DNA and RNA, which is our genetic information, and magnesium has a role in the creation and repair of both DNA and RNA.
- Movement of muscle - Muscles operate in a cyclical manner of contraction and relaxation. One example of this important muscular activity is also the most important. The heart is in a constant state of contracting and relaxing in order to pump blood throughout our bodies. Magnesium plays an important role in the movement of muscles, including the heart.
- Nervous system regulation - The nervous system’s job is to send messages to and from the brain and the rest of the body. Magnesium helps to facilitate that communication process effectively.
Magnesium is one of our body’s best friends, and despite being an abundant mineral in our bodies and important in so many functions, it’s still possible to lack the right amount of this essential element.
There are many sources of magnesium available to us in our diets, and it’s important to know where to look.
Where to Find Magnesium in Your Diet
Magnesium is present throughout life on our planet, and it is so important to our overall health. When you are looking to add more magnesium to your diet, these foods offer a good source of magnesium:
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolate
It is still possible, even with a diet rich in healthy choices, to find yourself in need of more magnesium to sustain the proper levels. In this case, magnesium supplements can help.
You may find comfort for some ailments with a boost in magnesium. What magnesium supplement is best for you depends on why you need magnesium supplements in the first place.
Let’s explore the best magnesium supplements for your needs.
The Best Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium can be part of various chemical compounds to provide different relief for different ailments. The right magnesium supplement for you will depend largely on your needs.
1 - Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium citrate is one of the most popular forms of magnesium supplements. Magnesium citrate is made from bonding magnesium with citric acid. Citric acid, as you might guess, occurs naturally in citrus fruits.
Citric acid is what gives citrus fruits their tart flavor. The food industry also uses artificially produced citric acid for flavor enhancement and as a preservative.
Magnesium citrate can be found in stores and online as an over-the-counter remedy. It is typically consumed orally, and it helps to raise low levels of magnesium. Part of its popularity is a direct result of how easily the body absorbs it.
At higher doses, magnesium citrate can have a naturally-occurring laxative effect that helps improve digestive function in the event that the bowels are not moving properly and causing discomfort. It’s a dirty job, but something’s got to do it.
2 - Magnesium Oxide
A salt forms when you combine magnesium and oxygen, and this is known as magnesium oxide.
Magnesium oxide creates a white, powdery substance when the two elements combine, and it can typically be purchased in powder or capsule form. Additionally, it’s the active ingredient in the milk of magnesia.
Elder members of your family may have given you the sage advice of taking milk of magnesia to relieve digestive discomfort. Unlike magnesium citrate, it is not absorbed as easily, so it is not typically used for the sole purpose of raising magnesium levels on its own.
Magnesium oxide is most commonly and effectively used as short-term relief for uncomfortable digestive symptoms, and it is also used as a way to help relieve tension.
3 - Magnesium Chloride
Magnesium chloride is another salt, but this salt contains chlorine. Chlorine is an unstable element that bonds well to other elements. For instance, it bonds with sodium to form what we know as table salt.
When magnesium bonds with chlorine, the salt that forms is well absorbed by the digestive tract. For this reason, it is often used to help treat low levels of magnesium in the body. Like the previous forms of magnesium mentioned, it can also help relieve digestive discomfort.
It is most commonly administered orally in capsule or tablet form, but it can also be used in products like lotions and ointments as a topical treatment.
Topical treatments like these are used primarily to relieve muscle soreness. Skin absorption is not believed to have any impact on your magnesium levels, so it is not an effective supplement in topical applications.
4 - Magnesium Malate
Magnesium malate contains malic acid. Malic acid comes naturally from sources like fruits and wine. Malic acid has a sour taste, and its properties are used to enhance flavors and add acidity to foods as an additive.
Magnesium malate is another magnesium compound that the digestive tract absorbs well. It is a good compound to consider when attempting to boost low levels of magnesium in the body. It has been reported by some to be gentler than other magnesium alternatives.
Depending on your needs, magnesium malate may be preferred since it offers less of a laxative effect than other options. This supplement may support improved feelings of energy and alertness as well.
5 - Magnesium Taurate
Magnesium taurate is the bonding of magnesium with amino acid taurine. Adequate consumption of magnesium and taurine may help to improve metabolic functions.
Regulation of blood sugar levels is an important function, and magnesium taurate may contribute to the process of regulating blood sugar levels to a normal, healthy level.
Additionally, magnesium taurate may help promote heart health as it works to support healthy blood pressure levels. These are just a handful of magnesium supplements and applications that are available to help meet your needs. What else can the right levels of magnesium do for you?
How Does Magnesium Help?
As a widely-used element in the body, magnesium can offer several benefits. As with any supplement, if you’re concerned about your magnesium levels, you should consult your doctor to help you decide if supplements are right for you and what kind to take if you do need a supplement.
Here are a few ways magnesium may help you:
- Boost exercise performance
- Promote feelings of emotional wellness
- Encourage proper metabolic functions
- Support normal blood pressure levels
- Support bone health
- Aid with tension in the head and neck
- Aid in relief for discomfort associated with menstruation
How much magnesium you need is dependent upon your age and sex. Adult males are recommended a daily intake of 400-420 mg per day, and adult females are recommended a daily intake of 310-320 mg per day.
If you’re concerned you’re not getting enough from your dietary consumption, it may be time to talk to your doctor about supplementing your diet.
Magnesium is an essential element in the human body. Ensuring you get enough to maintain the best levels for your body’s systems is important.
Diet isn’t always enough to supply you with ample amounts of magnesium, and other conditions can diminish your body’s absorption rate of key elements like magnesium.
When you find yourself in a deficit, it is time to consider supplements. Additionally, supplements of magnesium may be needed to relieve other issues, like digestive distress.