Do I Need a Magnesium Supplement? What Form is Best?

Do I Need a Magnesium Supplement? What Form is Best?

There are lots of questions regarding the need for a magnesium supplement. Let’s look at some of the facts and latest studies on magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most important and abundant minerals in the human body. It is a cofactor for over 300 biological processes. It is responsible for healthy bones, blood sugar, energy, cardiovascular health, muscular contractions, nervous system function, and much more.

Sadly, the USDA estimates that only 32% of adults and 24% of women in the U.S. meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium. Studies that include both Europe and North America suggest rates of magnesium deficiencies are as high as 50% of the population. While the soil that we grow our food in is depleted of minerals (even organic soil), most of us are not getting enough fruits and vegetables each day to deliver the minerals we so desperately need.

See also Eating Organic Won’t Prevent Mineral Deficiencies

Surprisingly, we don’t need much magnesium, but when we are insufficient, we do suffer. The current RDA (recommended daily allowance) is 420mg for men and 320mg for women, but research suggests these guidelines may be too low.

An 81-day, double-blind study with post-menopausal women found that if they ate a diet with 40% less magnesium than the RDA, there were severe signs of deficiency. They experienced signs of magnesium depletion in the blood and urine, along with rapid and ectopic heartbeats (which are signs of increased myocardial irritation). Other studies have linked magnesium deficiency to feelings of anxiety and even panic attacks. The deficiency disrupts the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the balanced production of stress hormones.

In This Article

The Benefits of Magnesium

In a review of the clinical effectiveness of magnesium in the Journal Scientifica, they found that a deficiency in magnesium may increase the risk of migraine headaches, metabolic syndrome, PMS, asthma, and cardiovascular issues. The review also suggested that magnesium supplementation may be an effective adjunct therapy for depression and can provide support for kidney stones and cataracts. The study concluded that magnesium supplementation (or optimizing magnesium levels through diet) is a safe and effective tool to combat many health concerns. Let’s take a look at its role in some common concerns.

Magnesium For PMS

Let’s look at a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 60 female college students who complained of regular bouts of PMS. Their symptoms included cramps, headache, foot pain, moodiness, achiness, and abdominal discomfort. The groups received either 150 mg, 300 mg, or a placebo from day 15 of their cycle until the end of their menstrual flow. The study concluded that compared to the placebo, both dosages of magnesium significantly reduced PMS symptoms.

Magnesium for Sadness and Worry

Magnesium plays a critical role in the health of the nervous system, brain, and mood stability. In a randomized cross-over study,  researchers looked at 126 adults complaining of sadness and a depressed mood. For 6 weeks, the group took 248mg of magnesium followed by 6 weeks of a placebo. Within two weeks of taking magnesium, the group started reporting mood improvements. The study concluded that magnesium is effective for mild-to-moderate mood depression in adults. It works quickly and is well-tolerated without the need for close monitoring for toxicity.

Magnesium and Stress

Stress has been shown to deplete the body’s magnesium reserves and, therefore, impact the ability to handle stress and regulate mood.

In a review of the symptoms of stress and magnesium deficiency, there was a surprising correlation in symptoms of both. Could your stress symptoms be a magnesium deficiency in disguise?

Symptoms of Stress                                 Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

Fatigue Tiredness
Irritability or anger Irritability
Feeling nervous Mild anxiety/nervousness
Lack of energy Muscle weakness
Upset stomach Gastrointestinal spasms
Muscle tension Muscle cramps
Headache Headache

Magnesium has also been found to:

  • Support muscle function and recovery
  • Support bone mineralization
  • Support healthy cardiovascular function
  • Support the nervous system and relaxation
  • Support healthy blood sugar
  • Support healthy energy production
  • Support the absorption of Vitamin D3
  • Support the production of amino acids
  • Support DNA and gene repair
  • Support the regulation of neurotransmitters

What is the Most Absorbable Form of Magnesium?

The gold standard for mineral absorption is a patented process of chelating minerals for optimal absorption called TRAACS. The new and most highly-absorbable form is Magnesium Lysinate Glycinate Chelate. This form is used in LifeSpa’s Magnesium Plus.

The Magnesium Plus formula combines magnesium glycinate and magnesium malate. Magnesium malate has been shown to support muscular strength, endurance, recovery, and cellular energy during athletic activities while soothing discomfort. It has also been shown to support heart health and blood sugar levels.

LifeSpa’s Magnesium Plus Suggested Dosage: 2 capsules with breakfast and, if needed for sleep and relaxation, 2 capsules before bed.

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Dr. John

1 thought on “Do I Need a Magnesium Supplement? What Form is Best?”

  1. Among low-carb health foodies, a chocolate addiction seems to be somewhat common (meat contracts and causes a craving for relaxing-type substances). I am not a low carber, but I find that if I do have some chocolate, the next day I have leg cramps. My understanding is that chocolate is high in anti-nutrients which drain minerals, mainly Mg and Calcium perhaps? FWIW.

    Thank you for your article, but there seems to be such a fixation on Mg over the past several years and bashing of Calcium both as supplement and dairy products. For some of us, though, Ca supplementation is beneficial. Any Ayurvedic Dr. knows: “different strokes for different folks”.


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