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Benefits of Magnesium: You Probably Aren’t Getting Enough

Imagine there was a mineral involved in over 700 biochemical processes in your body, responsible for relieving anxiety, lowering blood pressure, handling diabetes and improving daily energy levels:

You would want to know about it, right?

Well, it exists, and an alarming number of Western diets are not getting enough of it. 100 years ago we obtained 500mg of magnesium a day in our diet; now we are lucky if we get 200mg. Research suggests that 68% of modern Americans do not consume enough magnesium. While there are long-term health concerns related to magnesium deficiency, there is also a remarkable list of benefits which most people are simply missing out on.

The benefits of magnesium can start from strengthening bones to assisting digestive cycles, improving heart health and relieving premenstrual syndrome. Magnesium is the wonder mineral we do not hear enough about.

At the recommendation of both my physiotherapist and strength trainer, I started taking magnesium supplements regularly, and I was impressed with how they had me feeling. As a professional athlete, it’s important that my body feels at the top of its game (all the time!) and the changes I’m noticing have me excited:

It’s inspired me to start with over 60 hours of research and interviews. This article offers a comprehensive (though simple-to-understand) guide so that anyone can learn how to benefit from this awesome mineral.

Lastly, before diving in the the research, I would like to thank Dr. Dean for taking the time to help put this guide together.

Why you should trust us

This article is the result of years of research done by doctors that want to raise awareness of the importance of having enough magnesium in our body. Not only have they taken the time to do the research, they have also spoon-fed the information in this article to us.

The bottom line?

I got in touch with Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical doctor, naturopath, acupuncturist, homeopath, herbalist, and certified clinical nutritionist. Dr. Dean has authored and co-authored over 35 books including The Magnesium Miracle, IBS for Dummies, Hormone Balance, Death by Modern Medicine. She happens to be one of the most magnesium-informed people on the planet. She has practically rewritten this post so that the conclusions and studies provided here are accurate.

Who is this for

Most people are not getting enough magnesium since it is difficult to get the proper amount of magnesium from our food. Basically, magnesium deficiency symptoms are misdiagnosed as at least 65 different disease conditions that are mistreated with drugs. If you have any of the below conditions it is worth it to consider taking magnesium supplements.

Here is that list:

  1. Acid reflux
  2. Adrenal fatigue
  3. Alzheimer’s disease
  4. Angina
  5. Anxiety and panic attacks
  6. Arthritis
  7. Asthma
  8. Atherosclerosis
  9. Blood clots
  10. Bowel disease
  11. Brain dysfunction
  12. Bruxism or teeth grinding
  13. Cholesterol elevation
  14. Chronic fatigue syndrome
  15. Cystitis
  16. Depression
  17. Detoxification
  18. Diabetes
  19. Fatigue
  20. Headaches
  21. Heart disease
  22. Hypertension
  23. Hypoglycemia
  24. Indigestion
  25. Inflammation
  26. Insomnia
  27. Irritable bowel syndrome
  28. Kidney disease
  29. Kidney stones
  30. Migraine
  31. Musculoskeletal conditions
  32. Muscle cramps
  33. Fibrositis
  34. Fibromyalgia
  35. GI spasms
  36. Tension headaches
  37. Muscle spasms or muscle contractions in any muscle of the body
  38. Chronic neck and back pain
  39. Jaw tension
  40. Nerve problems – Neuralgia, Neuritis, Neuropathy
  41. Burning pain
  42. Muscle weakness
  43. Numbness
  44. Paralysis
  45. Pins-and-needles sensations
  46. Seizures and convulsions
  47. Skin sensitivity
  48. Tingling
  49. Twitching
  50. Vertigo
  51. Confusion
  52. Obstetrical and gynecological problems
  53. Premenstrual syndrome
  54. Dysmenorrhea (cramping pain during menses)
  55. Female infertility (by relieving fallopian tube spasm)
  56. Premature contractions (which can be triggered by magnesium deficiency muscle spasms)
  57. Preeclampsia and eclampsia in pregnancy (treating fluid retention, high blood pressure, and seizures)
  58. Cerebral palsy
  59. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  60. Male infertility (magnesium and zinc – are present in significant quantities in healthy semen).
  61. Osteoporosis
  62. Parkinson’s disease
  63. Raynaud’s syndrome
  64. Sports injuries
  65. Sports recovery
  66. Tempromandibular joint syndrome (TMJ)
  67. Tongue biting
  68. Tooth decay

What is Magnesium Good For?

Magnesium is an elemental compound, found in both living creatures and natural formations on this blue-green planet. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in humans, 60% of which is found in our bones, while the rest is spread throughout muscles, soft tissues, and only 1% in the bloodstream.

Okay, but what does all this mean? What are magnesium’s benefits? What does magnesium do?

Well, magnesium is one of the most critical players in human health. In fact, magnesium is so ubiquitous it’s found in every single cell in your body! It has a role in over 700 biochemical processes, helping to create and form new proteins, convert food sources into energy and assist with gene maintenance.

Magnesium Body Functions

Here’s an updated list of the functions of magnesium from Dr. Dean’s book the Magnesium Miracle.

  • Energy transfer, storage and use
  • Helping to synthesize nucleic acids (DNA & RNA)
  • Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat metabolism
  • Maintenance of normal cell membrane function and cellular mineral balance
  • All enzymatic processes using ATP as an energy source
  • Systematic blood pressure control & peripheral vascular resistance
  • Regulation of the Parathyroid Gland (key to Bone Health & proper Bone Matrix)
  • Hormone secretion throughout the Endocrine system
  • Nervous tissue conduction
  • Neuromuscular excitability
  • Muscle relaxation following contraction triggered by Calcium
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Proper arterial function and reduction of inflammation; and
  • Systemic detoxification

What are the Benefits of Magnesium?

Here’s the bottom line:

Number one for me is that magnesium can help improve athletic performance (above normal levels). It can prevent the onset of significant heart disease including arrhythmia, which relates also to athletes, who are succumbing to sudden heart attach and arrhythmia the more they sweat out their minerals. Magnesium deficiency is a medical sign of Type 2 diabetes. And magnesium can also enhance brain function, relieve stress and give you more energy throughout the day.

The thing is:

It’s pretty tricky to get enough magnesium (420 milligrams a day is the minimal RDA for an adult) without sacrificing a HUGE number of calories. Foods like dark chocolate and avocado are high in magnesium (and delicious), but they aren’t something you want to be consuming massive portions of each and every day. There are about 40mg of magnesium in a cup of avocado – so just try eating 10 cups per day to get your dose!

Supplementing magnesium is becoming more and more common because of this, along with the fact that it’s safe and easy to add to your daily routine (which is to say it’s affordable, too). Magnesium supplements vary significantly from type to type, and they can sound a bit technical–but unless you have a specific goal in mind, the main thing is to focus on boosting your body’s overall magnesium levels.

So there’s the quick break down for you. Keep reading for the full list of health benefits, along with guidance on exactly how much magnesium you need to take.

Health Benefits

  1. Enhance Exercise Performance

Professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts have been taking magnesium supplements for decades. Magnesium plays a vital role in moving blood sugar to your muscles, while also helping to dispose of lactic acid. Even if you are not deficient, studies have concluded that magnesium supplementing can improve anaerobic metabolism and boost athletic performance above a person’s normal range.

The exercise performance boosts weren’t limited to elite athletes though. Gains were made in elderly test groups, along with those suffering from chronic diseases. Test subjects also reported lower insulin and stress level hormones.

  1. Fight Type 2 Diabetes

High magnesium intake has been significantly correlated with lowering one’s risk of diabetes, by up to 47%. Since magnesium is influential in glucose and carbohydrate metabolism, it also helps to manage blood sugar levels. Research has found that almost 1 in 2 diabetics have low levels of magnesium in their blood, concluding that this makes it difficult for insulin to regulate high blood sugars.

NOTE: For every 100mg increase in magnesium uptake, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreased by approximately 15 percent.

  1. Bone Health

As I mentioned above, 60% of the body’s magnesium is stored in our bones. And with good reason. Magnesium helps to assimilate calcium into our bones, playing a vital role in bone formation. High to optimal magnesium levels are associated with greater bone density and decrease the risk of osteoporosis in women after menopause.

Vitamin D is also a key player in bone function and works directly with magnesium in the kidneys, liver and skin. In fact, magnesium assists in vitamin D activation, in 8 crucial steps. who knew that magnesium does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to the proper function of Vitamin D?

  1. Brain Powers

Research on a relatively new magnesium compound, magnesium-L-threonate has alerted us to the benefits of magnesium in the brain. It turns out that the ions of most magnesium compounds can find their way into the brain in varying amounts. The free online book Magnesium in the Central Nervous System is quite inspiring.

Research suggests that magnesium can play a significant role in enhancing learning abilities and memory functions. In the magnesium-L-threonane rat study, high levels of magnesium in the brain were associated with higher density of a particular formation in the hippocampus (an area to do with memory function) and enhanced synaptic performance (hence the part about improving learning abilities).

Brain bonus: One added bonus of magnesium is that it has been proven to prevent and even treat migraines. For anyone who has suffered one of these head-splitting experiences, you will know how painful they can be to treat. It turns out having high levels of magnesium in your blood might be one secret remedy. Here’s how Dr. Dean sums up the research on magnesium and migraine.

By 2012, Dr. Mauskop had sufficient clinical success and had published enough about treating migraine with magnesium to title his paper ‘Why All Migraine Patients Should Be Treated with Magnesium.’ Dr. Mauskop enthused that ‘all migraine sufferers should receive a therapeutic trial of magnesium supplementation.’ As he explains, ‘A multitude of studies have proven the presence of magnesium deficiency in migraine patients.’”

  1. Heart Health

As I’ve demonstrated above, magnesium can assist in boosting exercise performance and play a big role in muscular functioning but wait till you hear about its role in the heart. The heart is, of course, our most vital muscular organ and magnesium is a key player in the prevention of major heart disease. Also, the highest level of magnesium in the body occurs in the heart. Risk of atherosclerosis (a condition of fatty build-up across artery walls) and hypertension (high blood pressure) is significantly reduced by adequate magnesium levels. That’s because it’s the calcium building up in the arteries that’s the real problem. In one study, people with the highest magnesium intakes were found to be much less likely to suffer coronary or abdominal artery calcification; almost 60% less likely, when it comes to the coronary artery.

  1. Less Stress – (Yes, Magnesium Benefits Include Reduced Anxiety)

Healthy levels of magnesium can relieve stress and anxiety.

When the adrenals are no longer protected by sufficient magnesium, the fight-or-flight hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline become more easily triggered. When they surge erratically, they cause a rapid pulse, high blood pressure, and heart palpitations. The more magnesium-deficient you are, the more exaggerated is the adrenaline response. Magnesium calms the nervous system, relaxes muscle tension, and lowers the pulse rate, helping to reduce anxiety and panic attacks.

(Reference The Magnesium Miracle)

Fascinating research into the gut has found that in cases of magnesium deficiency, the microbiota of the gut is altered, resulting in more anxiety-typical behaviors.

  1. Relieves symptoms of PMS

Common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as bloating, insomnia, weight gain, breast tenderness, leg swelling and mood changes can be minimized with adequate magnesium intake.

It’s worth noting here that, for best effect, magnesium works in combination with adequate levels of vitamin B6. One study showed that while magnesium supplementing on its own helped to relieve symptoms of PMS, the most significant differences were noted in participants who received both vitamin B6 and magnesium together.

  1. Healthier digestive cycles

If you’re having toilet troubles, magnesium may be able to help fix your intestinal build-ups. Magnesium can act as a laxative, relaxing intestinal muscles and shown to be a quick treatment for constipation. For digestive troubles, magnesium oxide is usually recommended, however, other forms of consistent magnesium intake can also assist in regulating healthy bowel rhythms, overall.

  1. Increase energy levels

Magnesium plays a vital role in energy creation within the body. In fact, it’s necessary for 6 of the 8 steps in the production of energy ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the mitochondria. It helps your body to convert food sources into viable energy, while also encouraging enzyme activation – a way of increasing the production of cellular energy.

Those with a magnesium deficiency often suffer from fatigue, metabolic problems, and other irregularities to do with poor energy conversion and creation. In the chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia community, magnesium malate has been studied and found to have positive effects.

  1. Anti-inflammatory

People with high magnesium intake consistently report lower levels of CRP, a protein marker the body uses to detect inflammation. Inflammation isn’t necessarily a bad thing–sometimes the body needs it to fight off infection and protect against further injury. However, chronic inflammation (as well as being uncomfortable) can lead to weight gain and disease.

The anti-inflammatory qualities of magnesium are noted in natural magnesium sources (like avocados and dark chocolate), too, which rank very high in the list of anti-inflammatory foods.

Here are a few honorary mentions:

  1. Battles psychiatric dysfunction

Magnesium has been shown to prevent the onset of psychiatric diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, along with dysfunctions like depression and even schizophrenia. This presents itself most often in magnesium deficient states where nerve transmission is affected.

  1. Magnesium Benefits For Skin Health

Another reason for magnesium’s popularity is that it is involved in all the processes which bring about healthy skin. Collagen production is essential for giving our skin its fullness and structure–a lack of collagen production results in aging skin and damage. Another vital protein for skin is elastin, which gives skin its firmness. Guess what? Without enough magnesium, the body is unable to produce either of these proteins–letting the wrinkles set in without a fight. Magnesium is also an awesome hydrator of the skin and all the cells in the body.

  1. Prevents asthma

In cases of severe asthma, research suggests that magnesium may prove to be an effective adjunct to treatment. It acts as a bronchodilator by relaxing the smooth muscle cells of the bronchial tubes, allowing for more airflow to the lungs and relieving the severity of exacerbated asthma attacks. Magnesium is also an antihistamine. Studies are being conducted to see if it could be a beneficial treatment for asthma in children. According to Dr. Dean, the following study set the stage for more studies to come.

Dr. Lydia Ciarallo in the Department of Pediatrics, Brown University School of Medicine, treated thirty-one asthma patients ages six to eighteen, who were deteriorating on conventional treatments. One group was given magnesium sulfate and another group was given saline solution, both intravenously. At fifty minutes the magnesium group had a significantly greater percentage of improvement in lung function, and more magnesium patients than placebo patients were discharged from the emergency department and did not need hospitalization.

How To Get Enough Magnesium

Getting enough magnesium to experience the full range of benefits is proving more difficult than nature had planned. I say this because roughly two-thirds of modern Western diets do not manage to get enough of it.

Magnesium is present in many natural food sources, with the best foods for magnesium listed above. However, if you don’t normally eat large amounts of almonds and cashews each day, or you don’t always treat yourself with high-magnesium foods like seaweed, avocado and pumpkin seeds, it might be worth considering a magnesium supplement.

This is what I love most about magnesium supplements. They are widely available, safe to use, and generally pretty cheap. While there can be side effects, which is mostly the laxative effect from taking too much at once or using poorly absorbed supplements. Magnesium is considered one of the safest supplements you can find; the benefits from supplementing magnesium are high while the risk stays low. I take two other supplements besides magnesium, protein, and creatine.

Different Types of Magnesium

If you do choose to go with a magnesium supplement over a change in dietary intake that includes 10 cups of avocados, it’s a good idea to do a little research. I remember making the decision to trial magnesium and rushing to the nearest supplement store in my excitement. I asked a guy behind the counter, ‘Do you have any magnesium?’

‘Sure,’ he said. ‘What are you looking for? We have…’

This is where he fired off six or seven confusing magnesium compounds that brought back nightmares of my high school chemistry class. He took me to a wall of shelves, where I naively expected to see black tubs with ‘MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENT’ written in clear white text. Instead, there were oxides and acids and all different forms of magnesium I had never even heard of.

The thing is:

Magnesium is highly active as a single ion and will automatically combine with other substances to produce a salt that supplement companies put into a pill, powder or capsule. Different combinations can have different effects, too; and also strengths and weaknesses that depend upon the compound.

For the next section, I decided to outline some of the most common magnesium salts and the benefits associated with each.

I’ll still list the various magnesium compounds that you will run into and give you the reasons why some practitioners think they have special properties.

Bioavailability and Elemental Values

A quick note on Bioavailability and Elemental values:

Before diving into the different compounds, there are two terms you will want to be aware of:

  1. Bioavailability: This refers to how well magnesium is absorbed by the body. It is the best indicator of a quality supplement. While some supplements may have more magnesium, it may not be efficiently absorbed by the body and thus wasted in the toilet.
  2. Elemental Magnesium: This refers to how much magnesium is in the supplement, regardless of how well it is absorbed. A 500mg capsule of magnesium taurate only contains 50mg of elemental magnesium.

This is where it helps to know which type of magnesium does what. For example, note that some types of magnesium are very ineffective for improving bodily levels. Your body absorbs only 4% of magnesium in magnesium oxide supplements, meaning that a lot of milligrams (mg) that are listed on the box go to waste (and since mg oxide acts a laxative, they literally go to waste…).

The Big Picture

Here is the common perception of magnesium compounds.

Best For Boosting Overall Magnesium Levels: Magnesium Gluconate

Best For Relieving Muscle Soreness: Magnesium Sulfate

Best For Solving Problems Sleeping: Magnesium Glycinate

Best For Enhancing Brain Function and Relieving Anxiety:Magnesium L-Threonate

Dr. Dean recommends not to focus on the type of magnesium. She found that the right dose of magnesium was the most important thing for the body – not the type of magnesium.

Now, let’s get into the details:

Magnesium Oxide

Magnesium oxide leads the way in terms of elemental magnesium; usually up to 60% in most cases. Making it incredibly popular in the industry, however, it is not typically an indicator of high-quality magnesium. When it comes to bioavailability, magnesium oxide is only 4% effectively absorbed, meaning that a lot of mg’s listed on the box go to waste.

While this is not ideal for boosting magnesium in the body, it does make magnesium oxide a great supplement for treating constipation and digestive troubles–since it is not well-absorbed by the intestines and acts as a laxative.

Magnesium Gluconate

Magnesium gluconate has the highest levels of bioavailability, making it the most effective supplement for increasing your body’s magnesium intake. It’s an open-and-close case for those just looking to boost their overall magnesium levels.

Magnesium Citrate

Citrate allows the magnesium to mix well with liquids, while also maintaining a high bioavailability (25-30%). This compound has been shown to help with muscular (and mental) relaxation, reducing the occurrence of muscle cramps and tightness. It is also a low-cost option, making magnesium citrate one of the most common forms of magnesium supplement on the market.

Magnesium Chloride

You might be curious to see a variety of oils and sprays on the magnesium shelves. If you have tried other magnesium supplements with little effect, it might be that your body is finding it difficult to digest or absorb the minerals. Magnesium chloride comes in liquid drops (which can be added to water) and spray ‘oils’. While these aren’t oils, this aqueous form of magnesium is absorbed remarkably well through the skin.

If you experience uncomfortable tingling after application, feel free to wipe it off after about a half hour. The magnesium is absorbed rapidly, and you won’t be wasting anything!

Magnesium Aspartate

Another common magnesium supplement is bound with the amino acid aspartate. Aspartate is associated with improving nerve signaling, which is why magnesium aspartate (like L-Threonate) is often marketed as a nootropic. Nootropic is the fancy word for drugs which enhance brain function, and they are often called ‘smart drugs’.

Magnesium aspartate also absorbs well in the body, allowing for a steady increase of bodily magnesium levels.

I should note, however that Dr. Dean, taking advice from neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock does not recommend magnesium aspartate. Dr. Blaylock says the aspartate component can be released from the compound and act as an excitatory neurotransmitter.

Magnesium Glycinate

If you want a supplement with high bioavailability and the added bonus of helping you get to sleep, magnesium glycinate is a gem. The effective absorption of magnesium glycinate also means that, if you were having digestive troubles with other magnesium compounds, this might prove a better option.

A spoonful of collagen is a common bedtime routine and has been for some time–this is largely due to its high glycine content. Glycine is a calming amino acid, assisting in relaxation and helping you to fall asleep more quickly. Hence, magnesium glycinate can have a similar effect and help people to improve their sleep cycles.

Magnesium Orotate

Magnesium orotate is mostly used for improving athletic performance, endurance and heart health. It is another supplement with relatively high bioavailability and therefore is also used as a more general means of increasing magnesium in the body. While there have been studies indicating that this compound can help to prevent heart failure, the jury isn’t out yet on athletic performance or endurance. It’s also worth noting that magnesium orotate is typically pretty expensive. Considering there are other magnesium supplements out on the market that can achieve the same end for half the price, I’m not so big on Magnesium Orotate.

Magnesium L-Threonate

This is a relatively new compound which has shown some incredible benefits to mental activity. This magnesium compound is most associated with increased learning abilities and improving memory function. It is also a preventative measure for cognitive degeneration–one study even showed that magnesium L-Threonate cured cases of Alzheimer’s disease in rodents. Like the aspartate amino acid, L-Threonate’s association with enhanced brain function means that it might be sold or marketed as a nootropic.

Magnesium Sulfate

You might hear these supplements referred to as ‘Epsom salts’ as it is often used as a bath salt. In my experience, bathing with magnesium sulfate works wonders for relieving muscle soreness and even dulls the pain of small bruises or sprains. Magnesium sulfate also comes in oral form, which produces similar effects, but not as quickly. Besides, why not let it work its magic while relaxing in a nice long soak.

Magnesium Malate

Malic acid amplifies the role of energy creation in the body when combined with magnesium. This is why I would recommend taking magnesium malate in the morning, for improving daily energy. However, I also take this to assist with muscle soreness and recovery (which means I might take it before going to sleep after a particularly rough day). The compound works to relax muscle tension and relieve the pain associated with DOMS, which is something I am all for.

As I mentioned above, Dr. Dean found she got the laxative effect from all these magnesium supplements – she’s tried them all. So, I think it’s great that she created a product that everyone can take.

Natural Food Sources of Magnesium

While there are an alarming number of people who are not getting enough magnesium, you should still try to get as much magnesium as you can from your diet. If you grow your own vegetables make sure you add minerals to your soil. If you buy from an organic farm, encourage your farmer to do the same.

If you are looking for a way to boost your natural levels of magnesium, take a look through this list of the top 14 magnesium-rich foods. Some may be more difficult than others to incorporate into your diet, but I think you’re going to love our no. 1 pick, at least…

Best Natural Food Sources of Magnesium (milligrams=mg)

  1. Dark Chocolate (100 grams) = 327mg of Magnesium
  2. Halibut (1/2 fillet) = 170mg of Magnesium
  3. Cooked Spinach (1 cup) = 157mg of Magnesium
  4. Pumpkin Seeds (1 oz approx., 142 seeds) = 151mg of Magnesium
  5. Black Beans (1 cup) = 120mg of Magnesium
  6. Tuna Fish (100 grams) = 97mg of Magnesium
  7. Lentils & White Beans (100 grams) = 86mg of Magnesium
  8. Almonds (1oz) = 80mg of Magnesium
  9. Kale (100 grams) = 79mg of Magnesium
  10. Dried Apricots (100 grams) = 68mg of Magnesium
  11. Plantains (1 medium) = 66mg of Magnesium
  12. Peanuts (1 oz) = 64mg of Magnesium
  13. Avocado (1 medium) = 58mg of Magnesium
  14. Whole grain cereals (1 cup) = 56mg of Magnesium

How Much Magnesium To Take?

The RDA recommends the average adult male consume between 400 and 420mg of magnesium each day. If you were to go on natural food sources, that could look like eating four avocados and 200 grams of kale. The alternative might be to eat a bunch of dark chocolate, but that doesn’t sit too well with keeping a low-calorie count.

However, there are studies that show most people require 600-900mg of magnesium, making dietary magnesium a real challenge.

Also, it’s worth noting the high-end of these ranges. The question: ‘how much magnesium is too much?’ Is a reasonable one. But, it turns out that magnesium is the safest nutrient because the failsafe of taking too much is the laxative effect and you flush the excess.

The four contraindications of magnesium occur in people with known health conditions. However, according to Dr. Dean, the negative press, even in these cases, and especially for kidney disease, seems to have come from doctors using high dose, IV magnesium in hospital settings.

1. Kidney Failure: With kidney failure there is an inability to clear magnesium from the kidneys.

2. Myasthenia gravis: Intravenous administration could accentuate muscle relaxation and collapse the respiratory muscles.

3. Excessively slow heart rate: Slow heart rates can be made even slower, as magnesium relaxes the heart. Slow heart rates often require an artificial pacemaker.

4. Bowel obstruction: The main route of elimination of oral magnesium is through the bowel.

The Official Dosage of Magnesium

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for how much magnesium varies with age and gender. The following recommendations are made for each group:

Magnesium For Adult Men:

  • Males aged 19 years and over: 400 to 420mg / day

Magnesium For Adult Women:

  • Females aged 19 years and over: 310 to 320mg / day
  • During pregnancy: 350 to 400mg / day
  • During breastfeeding: 310 to 360mg a day

Magnesium For Children and Infants:

  • From 1 to 3 years of age: 80mg a day
  • From 4 to 8 years: 130mg a day
  • From 9 to 13 years: 240mg a day

Magnesium For Teens:

  • Males aged 14 to 18 years: 410mg a day
  • Females aged 14 to 18 years: 360mg a day

Dr. Dean, is critical of the RDA saying that it’s not enough to saturate the body and overcome chronic magnesium deficiency conditions. She recommends 600mg-900mg of elemental magnesium. She knows from attending magnesium conferences that the RDA was set at this low rate because most magnesium supplements cause the laxative effect and keep people from obtaining sufficient magnesium.

Magnesium Deficiency

I used to think that it would be unusual for an otherwise healthy person to experience symptomatic magnesium deficiency but I’m revising my opinion based on my experience, research on the topic and what I’m hearing from Dr. Dean. She finds that people who begin taking magnesium for insomnia, for example will suddenly have more energy, their heart palpitations clear, there are no more migraines, their aches and pains subside. So, perhaps what we think is just stress or being out of shape or getting older is really magnesium deficiency.

I have read that there are other factors that can increase magnesium deficiency. Chronic alcoholism, for example, has been shown to decrease levels of magnesium in the body significantly and may increase one’s chances of hypomagnesemia.

Fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting are some of the early signs of magnesium deficiency.

Here are the 100 factors that can make you magnesium deficient. (Dr. Dean sent over the list from her book)

  1. Alcohol intake—> 7 drinks per week
  2. Anger
  3. Angina
  4. Anxiety
  5. Apathy
  6. Arrhythmia of the heart
  7. Asthma
  8. Blood tests

a. Low calcium

b. Low potassium

c. Low magnesium

  1. Bowel problems

a. Undigested fat in stool

b. Constipation

c. Diarrhea

d. Alternating constipation and diarrhea

e. IBS

f. Crohn’s

g. Colitis

  1. Brain trauma
  2. Bronchitis, chronic
  3. Caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate) >3 per day
  4. Chronic fatigue syndrome
  5. Cold extremities
  6. Concentration difficulties
  7. Confusion
  8. Convulsions
  9. Depression
  10. Diabetes

a. Type I

b. Type II

c. Gestational diabetes

  1. Fibromyalgia
  2. Food intake imbalances

a. Limited in green leafy vegetables

b. Limited in seeds

c. High protein

  1. Food cravings

a. Carbohydrates

b. Chocolate

c. Salt

d. Junk food

  1. Gagging or choking on food
  2. Headaches
  3. Heart disease
  4. Heart—rapid rate
  5. High blood pressure
  6. Homocysteinuria
  7. Hyperactivity
  8. Hyperventilation
  9. Infertility
  10. Insomnia
  11. Irritability
  12. Kidney stones
  13. Medications

a. Digitalis

b. Diuretics

c. Antibiotics

d. Steroids

e. Oral contraceptives

f. Indomethacin

g. Cisplatin

h. Amphotericin B

i. Cholestyramine

j. Synthetic estrogens

  1. Memory impairment
  2. Mercury amalgam dental fillings
  3. Menstrual pain and cramps
  4. Migraines
  5. Mineral supplements

a. Take calcium without magnesium

b. Take zinc without magnesium

c. Take iron without magnesium

  1. Mitral valve prolapse
  2. Muscle cramps or spasms
  3. Muscle twitching or tics
  4. Muscle weakness
  5. Numbness of hands or feet
  6. Osteoporosis
  7. Paranoia
  8. Parathyroid hyperactivity
  9. PMS
  10. Polycystic ovarian disease
  11. Pregnancy

a. Currently pregnant

b. Pregnant within one year

c. History of preeclampsia or eclampsia

d. Postpartum depression

e. Have a child with cerebral palsy

  1. Radiation therapy, recent
  2. Raynaud’s syndrome
  3. Restlessness
  4. Sexual energy diminished
  5. Shortness of breath
  6. Smoking
  7. Startled easily by noise
  8. Stressful life or circumstances
  9. Stroke
  10. Sugar, high intake daily
  11. Syndrome X
  12. Thyroid hyperactivity
  13. Tingling of hands or feet
  14. Transplants

a. Kidney

b. Liver

  1. Tremor of the hands
  2. Water that contains the following

a. Fluoride

b. Chlorine

c. Calcium

  1. Wheezing

Summing Up

As noted above, 100 years ago we were getting a good amount of magnesium in our diet – about 500 mg. Now the average diet only has 200mg. If we need 600-900mg of magnesium, then most of us are deficient. This is a problem:

Not only do you miss out on reaching your peak self, but you are making it difficult for your body to perform basic functions. I was lucky – my trainers recommended that I try magnesium, and I haven’t looked back since.

Remember, it might be possible to get your daily magnesium from food sources, but it is hard: AND it can boost your caloric intake. We’re at a point where magnesium supplements are one of the safest options, and I think they can benefit anyone who takes them regularly.

Dr. Dean tells me she hasn’t given up on trying to get enough magnesium and minerals from the soil. To that end, she is doing comprehensive farm experiments in Maui where she lives.

For the best magnesium supplements and brands, read here.

Stay healthy, guys!


1. Dean, C. The Magnesium Miracle (2nd Ed) 2017.

2. Rosanoff A. The Essential Nutrient Magnesium – Key to Mitochondrial ATP Production and Much More. Jun 8, 2009. ProHealth.com. http://www.prohealth.com/library/print.cfm?libid=14606.

3. https://www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/magnesium/magnesium-ebook.pdf

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3957229/

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