It is not very easy to test magnesium levels in your body. You cannot rely on blood tests, as only 1% of your body’s magnesium is found in your blood. Your magnesium levels need to be dangerously low, if a blood test indicates that you are low in magnesium.
According to Dr Carolyn Dean, MD and magnesium expert, over 80% of the population is estimated to be deficient in magnesium. If you feel you may be deficient in magnesium and you want to get a test done, you can ask a naturopath or a holistic nutritionist for a hair analysis to evaluate the mineral levels in your body. The best way, we feel, is by checking the symptoms. You can read our article on magnesium deficiency symptoms for more.
It is possible, but that would require a lot of discipline and meticulous tracking of the food you eat to ensure that you get enough magnesium in your food. You will also need to account for the fact that there has been a steady decline in the nutritional content of our food over the last few decades. The amount of magnesium in our soil has reduced, yielding foods that are poorer in this nutrient than years ago. Also, most popular pre-packaged and fast foods contain little magnesium, if any. Being water-soluble, Magnesium is often lost when you cook magnesium-rich foods.
Eating raw foods is one good way to get magnesium, but again you need to exercise caution! Many magnesium-rich foods are also high in oxalates. Oxalate binds to magnesium and when it is flushed from the body, it takes the magnesium with it. (For more information, read “Magnesium Deficiency and the Role of Oxalates”).
Please remember magnesium is critical to around 80% of the enzymatic functions in your body, so if you suspect you may not be getting from your diet, we highly recommend supplementing with oral magnesium.
Some common manifestations of magnesium deficiency are: Low energy, Sleep problems, Weak brittle bones, Kidney stones, Emotional disruption, Heightened sensitivity, Muscle pains and cramps, and Disruption of heart rhythms. Please read our article “Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough?” for more information
These are the three main factors contribute to rise in magnesium deficiency:
Poor quality of soil: The amount of magnesium in our soil has depleted due to modern farming methods, causing our foods to have a poorer nutritional composition with less dietary magnesium.
Increased consumption of processed foods: People are consuming more and more processed foods these days and magnesium is lost during food processing.
High burn rate: Magnesium is responsible for over 80% of the body’s functions and has a high ‘burn rate’. Stress, exercise, extreme temperatures, prescription medication, alcohol, trauma and poor diet also contribute to rise in magnesium deficiency, as these push the body to burn through its magnesium reserves quickly.
In order to be properly utilized by our body, Magnesium must be bound to a carrier. Magnesium molecule that is bound to citric acid is called Magnesium citrate; magnesium that is bound to glycine (a kind of amino acid) is called Magnesium glycinate (or bisglycinate); magnesium bound to malic acid is called Magnesium malate, and a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen is called Magnesium oxide. These distinct carriers make certain forms of magnesium better suited for specific health conditions: Malic acid aids energy and therefore people assume Magnesium malate is best for those with chronic fatigue syndrome; Glycine has proved to be helpful in sleep studies, therefore Magnesium bisglycinate is recommended for those with sleep issues.
It is important to note that various forms of magnesium are absorbed at different rates. For optimal health benefits, you must consume a form of magnesium that is highly absorbable by your body. For more information on this, please read “Which Form of Magnesium is Best?”
It is perfectly safe to take different forms of magnesium on the same day. Many people prefer taking a couple of forms of magnesium to ensure they are getting enough. Many of our customers take MAG365 ionic magnesium citrate powder in the morning after a work-out, or throughout the day (added to their water bottle for a steady supply of magnesium). Then, before bed, they take PrizMAG (pure magnesium bisglycinate) for a good night’s sleep. When taking different forms of magnesium, split the dose throughout the day for maximum absorption and utilization.
Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral and is safe for consumption during pregnancy. For more information, please read “Is MAG365 safe for pregnancy?”
For more information about health benefits of magnesium, visit the ‘articles’ section of our website.
Magnesium oxide has the highest amount of elemental magnesium by weight and lowest bioavailability, which means it is poorly absorbed by the body. Magnesium oxide is almost insoluble in water with a poor absorption rate of between 0% and 4%. Magnesium oxide supplementation has been reported to cause diarrhoea as do forms like magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride and magnesium gluconate.
Magnesium citrate is magnesium in salt form combined with citric acid. It is highly soluble in water and has a high absorbency rate making it among the most bioavailable forms of magnesium. Magnesium citrate, especially ionic formulas such as MAG365, are easily absorbed by the digestive tract. On the other hands, the absorbability rate of a non-ionic formula is not as high (see "Understanding Ionic'').
Magnesium glycinate is formed from elemental magnesium and the amino acid glycine. Magnesium glycinate (or magnesium bisglycinate) has a high absorption rate. Also, it is absorbed in a different area of the intestine, thus preventing possible GI discomfort while enhancing absorption. Magnesium glycinate has calming properties and helps reduce anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia.
For more information, please read “Which Form of Magnesium is Best?”
Magnesium is absorbed in the small intestine through a protein binding transport system, as well as via passive diffusion via water. Factors that impact its absorption are:
Your overall health and diet: Magnesium deficiency can be a result of decreased absorption of magnesium in the gut, and/or increased excretion of magnesium through urine output. The ability to absorb magnesium in the intestines also tends to decrease with age, while urinary output of magnesium tends to increase with age.
Presence of Oxalates: Oxalates present in various foods affect our ability to absorb dietary magnesium from them. (For more information, please read “Magnesium Deficiency and the Role of Oxalates”).
Types of Supplement: Different supplements have different rates of absorption, depending on the type of magnesium used. Magnesium compounds that dissolve well in water, such as magnesium citrate, have higher rates of absorption. Ionic magnesium citrate has a 30-40% higher absorbability rate than any other form of magnesium, making it the most effective form of magnesium available.
The magnesium from Epsom salts is absorbed by your skin. Most of us do not bathe long enough for our bodies to absorb an adequate amount of magnesium via skin. Epsom salt baths can be an addition to your oral magnesium supplementation but are not adequate as the main source.
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