What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone and DNA.
A commonly overlooked yet vital nutrient, magnesium is crucial for healthy bones as it makes up part of the skeleton’s framework. Its presence in every one of our body’s cells is essential, as it’s responsible for over 300 different actions in the body.
Magnesium is the second most abundant element inside human cells and the fourth most abundant positively charged ion in the human body. (1_2)
Our bodies do not produce magnesium and it has all but disappeared from the soils and as such from our food chain (3)
Modern diet and pressured lifestyles have made magnesium a drastically less abundant mineral in our bodies, with levels significantly lower than anything experienced before.
Our need for magnesium has never been so great, as a magnesium-rich body will be stronger, more flexible and better able to resist both physical and emotional stress. Within the body’s cells, it serves literally hundreds of functions.
Magnesium is an important nutrient that works to support;-
- Relaxation and sleep quality
- Relief from muscle tension and muscle spasms
- General wellness
- Reduction in tiredness and fatigue
- Exercise and sports performance
- Glucose and fat breakdown
- Production of proteins, enzymes and antioxidants such as glutathione
- Creation of DNA and RNA
- Regulation of cholesterol production
Common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency can include loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, weakness and muscle cramps or spasms. You may also see changes in personality, pains, tremors and a raise in cholesterol levels.
Magnesium is used by the cells to produce and store energy, regulate electrolyte balance, and prevent cell mutations
Boosting magnesium levels ensures you maintain a healthy, balanced body – however, traditional forms of magnesium supplementation can prove inconsistent in delivering active levels of magnesium into the body.
In nature, magnesium can be found in many different forms, bonded with other atoms, such as:
- Magnesium chloride, found naturally in the sea
- Magnesite, the insoluble rock salt also known as magnesium carbonate
- In plant matter, as the central element in chlorophyll and the basis of early life on the planet
Without magnesium we could not produce energy, our muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction, and we could not adjust the levels of cholesterol produced and released into the blood stream.
Magnesium ions regulate over 300 biochemical reactions in the body through their role as enzyme co-factors and the mineral can be found in human tissue, bones, muscles and brain. They also play a vital role in the reactions that generate and use ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate – often called the “molecular unit of currency” of intracellular energy transfer – ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism).
In essence, Magnesium is essential for your cells to make energy, operate the many different chemical pumps in the human body, to stabilise membranes and to help muscles relax.
Read more – How magnesium functions in the body
What forms of Magnesium are available to take?
Your body needs magnesium and if you aren’t getting enough, your body will go after stores of magnesium in your bones. Yet, most people are unaware of how important magnesium is to their health. We can increase our daily magnesium intake in basically two ways, either by consumption or by supplement.
Magnesium is available either from magnesium-rich foods or from magnesium supplements (tablet, powder, and transdermal forms).
The best food sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, beans, nuts and seeds, yogurt, bananas & dark chocolate.
Besides piling your plate with magnesium-rich foods you may elect to start taking magnesium supplements. But from magnesium citrate to magnesium oxide, it can be challenging to make a decision that will be most advantageous to you and your situation. In addition to consulting with your primary care physician or naturopath, here’s a brief breakdown of 4 of the most available types of magnesium to aid you in your efforts:
Perhaps the most popular magnesium supplement on the market, magnesium chloride—which is extracted from brine or ocean water, and is argued to be the most effective form of dietary supplementation—organically encourages sleep, digestion, bone health and a sense of calm (both mental and physical). That said, supplementing with this form of magnesium may cause diarrhoea.
Sound familiar? If you, too, are the sort of person to read the fine print on everything from cereal boxes to bath products, chances are magnesium sulfate will remind you of bath time. Otherwise known as Epsom salts, magnesium sulfate has long been a boon for athletes – or, really, anyone with sore muscles; it’s also widely known for its laxative effects.
Citrate might sound familiar too – consider it an erudite way of saying that it’s derived from citric acid (in this case, magnesium salt is obtained from the citrus acid). With excellent bioavailability – that is, the efficacy with which a substance is absorbed and used by the body – it’s no wonder magnesium citrate one of the most highly recommended magnesium supplements by health professionals. Often used to naturally support digestion – specifically, to alleviate constipation and acid indigestion – it’s also, bonus points, easy on the wallet. However, it may lead to dehydration (and the imbalance of minerals that arrives with this), in that it pulls water into the intestines.
With lower levels of bioavailability than its other iterations – that is, it scores only 4 percent, while magnesium citrate has a bioavailability of 90 percent – magnesium oxide is found in Milk of Magnesia and similar products, and, as such, organically encourages improved digestion. Magnesium oxide is therapeutically used as a laxative and to provide relief for acid reflux.
What is the Best Form of Magnesium to take and which are the worst?
The World Health Organisation has placed magnesium depletion on it’s list of concerns and many countries such as Finland, Australia and France have findings in research, all showing that between 70 to 80% of adults consume less than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium. While our growing dependence on processed food is partly responsible for this alarming statistic, the real reason for it is that ongoing soil erosion has significantly depleted the mineral content of our soil within the last century. Consequently, many fruits and vegetables that were once rich in magnesium no longer contain it in adequate amounts, resulting in widespread deficiencies.
For this reason, an increasing number of people are turning to magnesium supplements to boost their intake of this vital nutrient. However, since magnesium must be bound to another substance before it can be adequately absorbed, magnesium supplements come in a number of different forms that provide different, or targeted, health benefits.
The most commonly sold form of magnesium in pharmacies and health stores is Magnesium Oxide (this is non-chelated and has a poor absorption rate) and Magnesium Citrate (inexpensive and easily absorbed however the citric acid is a mild laxative and as such can cause loose bowel movements). Taking significant quantities will cause massive and prolonged diarrhoea and can cause serious kidney damage. These side effects are completely avoided when transdermal application of magnesium chloride is utilised, even with very large quantities and at high frequency rates.
For further detail about why we recommend the transdermal application (direct absorption through the skin) of Magnesium as opposed to ingesting Magnesium in a powder or tablet form, see C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. article below.
Magnesium Chloride — Though magnesium chloride only contains around 12 percent elemental magnesium, it has an impressive absorption rate and is the best form of magnesium to take for detoxing the cells and tissues. Moreover, chloride (not to be confused with chlorine, the toxic gas) aids kidney function and can boost a sluggish metabolism.
Magnesium Oxide — Magnesium oxide is the most common form of magnesium sold in pharmacies, but it is non-chelated and possesses a poor absorption rate compared to Magnesium Chloride.
Magnesium Sulfate — Magnesium sulfate, also called Epsom salt, is a fantastic constipation aid but an unsafe source of dietary magnesium, since overdosing on it is easy.
Magnesium glutamate and aspartate — Avoid these two forms of magnesium completely. Glutamic acid and aspartic acid are components of the dangerous artificial sweetener aspartame, and both of them become neurotoxic when unbound to other amino acids.
Magnesium – The Relaxation Mineral
Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral. Anything that is tight, irritable, cramping, and stiff – whether it is a body part or an even a mood – is generally a sign of magnesium deficiency
- Doctors use Magnesium in the emergency room. It is a critical “medication” on the crash cart. If someone was dying of a life-threatening arrhythmia (or irregular heart beat), intravenous magnesium was used.
- If someone was constipated or needed to prepare for colonoscopy, they were given milk of magnesia or a green bottle of liquid magnesium citrate, which emptied their bowels.
- If pregnant women came in with pre-term labour, or high blood pressure of pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) or seizures, they gave them continuous high doses of intravenous magnesium.
But you don’t have to be in a life threatening situation to benefit from magnesium. You can start taking magnesium today and the best way to have it believe it or not is by transdermal means (“via the skin”), the largest organ in our body. And it just makes so much sense, as often the places we need it are in the knee joints, hips tight shoulders etc…
The list of conditions that are found related to magnesium deficiency is long. There are over 3,500 medical references on magnesium deficiency!
Although it is not a drug, it is even more powerful, which is why it is used in hospital for life-threatening and emergency situations like seizures and heart failure.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include:
Headaches, Insomnia, Irritability, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Anxiety, Autism, ADD – (Attention Deficit Disorder), Palpatations, Angina, Constipation, Anal Spasms, Muscle cramps or twitches, Asthma, Osteoporosis, Irritable Bladder, Migraines, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Kidney Stone, Diabetes, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, PMS, Menstrual Cramps, Sensitivity to Loud Noises, Reflux, Trouble Swallowing, Restless Legs, Aching Muscles and Joints, Stress
Transdermal versus Oral – which works best?
What does Magnesium Chloride, applied direct to the skin (transdermal) do, that oral magnesium tablets/powders cannot do?
C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is one of the world’s leading experts in pain management. His research into this has led to several patented techniques for pain relief. He is a graduate of Duke University medical school and a well-known author and lecturer.
Dr. Shealy notes that low or deficient DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) levels are present in every illness, with few exceptions. When Magnesium Chloride Oil is sprayed on the skin (transdermal application) it will bring the DHEA levels back to normal in the body within 30 to 45 days. But in Dr. Shealy’s experience, it takes up to five years of taking oral magnesium (tablets and powders) to restore intracellular levels to normal range.
Almost 100% of us are magnesium deficient and it’s obvious because we keep ageing! Degenerative ageing is directly related to insufficient magnesium. (4)
Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate (magnesium chloride oil) is easy to use, 100% pure and is extremely absorbable by transdermal application. There is no known danger to using magnesium unless you have kidney failure.
Magnesium tablets and powders (referred to as supplements) are not 100% pure as they must have the magnesium bound to another substance to allow absorption. The most commonly sold form of magnesium in pharmacies and health stores is Magnesium Oxide (this is non-chelated and has a poor absorption rate) and Magnesium Citrate (inexpensive and easily absorbed however the citric acid is a mild laxative and as such can cause loose bowel movements). Taking significant quantities will cause massive and prolonged diarrhoea and can cause serious kidney damage. These side effects are completely avoided when transdermal application of magnesium chloride is utilised, even with very large quantities and at high frequency rates.
Taking oral magnesium in a tablet or powder form every day, can be compared to taking an antacid every day. The common elements used to bind with the magnesium are often a very alkaline substance that can neutralise stomach acid, which can lead to malabsorption and other health problems.
One of the major disadvantages of magnesium compositions that are currently available is that they do not control the release of magnesium, but instead immediately release magnesium in the stomach after they are ingested. These products are inefficient because they release magnesium in the upper gastrointestinal tract where it reacts with other substances such as calcium. These reactions reduce the absorption of magnesium. There is good evidence that magnesium absorption depends upon the mineral remaining in the intestine at least 12 hours. If intestinal transit time is less than 12 hours, magnesium absorption is impaired.
Dr Shealy recommends Magnesium Taurate if you feel you must use a powder or tablet supplement.
Transdermal administration of magnesium (and intravenous application) bypass processing by the liver. Both transdermal and intravenous therapy create “tissue saturation”, the ability to get the nutrients where we want them, directly in the circulation, where they can reach body tissues at high doses, without loss. Intravenous administration is riskier; though as an emergency medicine it most certainly has its place.
With transdermal application of magnesium chloride oil – healing, overall energy production (ATP), skin integrity, cardiac health, diabetes prevention, pain management, calming effect on the nervous system, sleep improvement, lowering of blood pressure are among the general benefits observed. The studies coming out every day provide more evidence of the need to supply adequate magnesium to people of all ages, and in a form that will be easily absorbed.
In summary, magnesium is a safe and simple intervention for patients who are deficient in magnesium (the great majority of patients are magnesium deficient) and we can expect dramatic improvements in a broad range of conditions.
Magnesium Chloride Oil – Where is it sourced?
We recommend Ancient Minerals Ultra Pure Magnesium Chloride Oil which is sourced from the seabed of the Zechstein Sea, located in the North West of Europe, at a depth of approx. 1600 metres. It has been preserved for over 250 million years to its pristine condition, uncontaminated from pollutants and heavy metals found in our ocean.
“After Air and Water, our bodies next require Magnesium Chloride. There is virtually no-one who cannot benefit from increasing daily magnesium chloride oil” says Mark Sircus author. (3)
- The addition of OptMSM ensures this formulation is our mildest and perfect for sensitive individuals and children.
- The addition of OptMSM is designed to enhance absorption whilst providing its own skin-soothing properties.
Order Your Magnesium Products ONLINE & Delivered!
(1) Dr Carolyn Dean M.D., N.D. in her book “The Miracle of Magnesium”
(2) Dean C. “The Magnesium Miracle” New York: Ballantine Books; 2007.
(3) Marc Sircus, Ac., OMD, DM (P) – director of the International Medical Veritas Association and author “Transdermal Magnesium Therapy”
(4) Holy Water, Sacred Oil – The Fountain of Youth by Dr. Norman Shealy M.D., Ph.D