• Dr. Jay Pennock

Magnesium Supplementation


The Wonders of Magnesium

There is great evidence that many of us (43%) have magnesium (Mg) deficiency. This is partly because of our dietary choices with the Standard American Diet (SAD) as well as the depletion of soils after generations of plantings and insufficient replacement. In addition, the magnesium we do get in our diet can be siphoned off by gut bacteria, parasites and yeast. Magnesium is important for our healthy functioning body as it is needed for over 300 enzymes to function and helps with bone formation, nerve conduction and DNA repair. It also balances other electrolytes like calcium and potassium. Optimal magnesium level is critical for proper heart rate and rhythm control and blood pressure regulation. Taken at night, it can help relax us and induce sleep.

Mg deficiency is thought to be related to or causing major diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression and fibromyalgia. Signs and symptoms can be tingling and numbness, migraines, PMS, fatigue, hormonal issues and elevated heart rate and blood pressure.

How can we test for magnesium levels in our body? The simplest way is a blood test for serum magnesium, although this only accounts for about 1% of our total body magnesium. In fact, our bodies will do almost anything to maintain a minimum level of Mg in the blood. So, when we test for Mg in the serum, we want to make sure that the level is on the high side of normal. If it is low or even ‘normal’, there is a chance that our body magnesium levels are truly low. RBC (red blood cell) magnesium levels are a better indication of cellular Mg concentration, but is more expensive and harder to find test sites for. Contact your Navigator for an evaluation to see if you have signs or symptoms of magnesium deficiency!

How do we get enough magnesium into us? The best way, of course, is through diet. Otherwise, most of us will need to get some magnesium through supplements. There are many to choose from and we will get into this in a bit. The RDA for magnesium is 400 mg a day for men and 300 mg a day for women, but this is hardly enough to maintain optimal Mg levels. Most experts say that at least 500 mg a day is needed for optimal health. You can add magnesium supplements to your regimen safely by taking 150 mg a day to start and slowly increasing the amount until you begin to have loose stools, then back down an increment.

What foods have the most magnesium?

  • Spinach

  • Swiss chard

  • Dark chocolate

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Almonds

  • Black beans

  • Avocado

  • Dried figs

  • Yogurt and kefir

  • Bananas

Can you overdose on magnesium? It is very difficult to do so orally as excess Mg causes diarrhea, which eliminates to Mg. Other symptoms can be muscle weakness and excessive urination. If you have kidney trouble, you may be more sensitive to magnesium and should consult with your specialist for supplementation dosage.

Magnesium is a positively charged ion. Because of this, it needs to be paired with an anionic compound to be electrically neutral. We need other nutrients for our body to be able to use and absorb Mg too, such as calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K2. These are usually found in the same foods, which is why it’s best to try to optimize intake through our diet. Here are some different commonly found Mg supplements and their utility:

  • Magnesium Glycinate

  • Chelated form with glycine, an amino acid

  • Easy to absorb, so Less chance of diarrhea

  • Corrects low magnesium quickly

  • Best bet if you have low magnesium blood levels

  • Magnesium Oxide

  • Known as Milk of Magnesia

  • More difficult to absorb

  • Good for heartburn and constipation

  • Magnesium Citrate

  • Citrate is acidic and draws oxalate to elimination

  • Helps to prevent kidney stones

  • Can cause diarrhea

  • Good source of Mg

  • Magnesium Malate

  • Malic acid is needed for the Krebs Cycle of energy production

  • Helps with DM, heart disease and depression

  • Becoming a popular source of Mg

  • Magnesium Taurate

  • Chelated version with Taurine, an amino acid

  • Taurine promotes healthy longevity

  • Nootropic compound for cognitive function

  • Treats depression, migraines

  • Promotes vascular health

  • Magnesium Threonate

  • Form of Mg that readily crosses into the brain

  • Developed at MIT

  • Effective for Alzheimer’s disease

I have to say, that after researching Magnesium’s health benefits, I will add Magnesium to my list of supplements vital to staying healthy.


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Santa Cruz, CA

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