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Rethinking Magnesium: Why You're Deficient And Need To Supplement (Quick Fix)

Jun 09, 2018
 

Summary.

Do you want to know something amazing?

What if I told you there's a simple mineral that can:

  • slash your chances for heart disease, diabetes, and depression
  • make you less anxious and stressed
  • improve your sleep quality
  • upgrade your mood
  • make you more resilient
  • help you think and physically perform better

And what if you could gain these benefits for pennies a day? That proposal is a no-brainer right?

Yes...

The mineral I'm talking about is magnesium.

Even though magnesium is inexpensive, 60% of people are magnesium deficient in modern society. The problem doesn't even stop there: many more people - an estimated 90% - don't have optimal magnesium levels. 

That means almost everyone can benefit from consuming more magnesium.

But why did that problem arise in the first place?

There are several reasons why people in modern societies are deficient in magnesium:

  1. we have to work a lot to afford the basic necessities of life, and we're under a lot of daily stress. Stress depletes your magnesium levels.
  2. the soils that produce our foods stores less and less magnesium over the last century. As a consequence, your food is low on magnesium as well. 
  3. as humans, we're no longer bathing in natural water that is high in magnesium. Your skin absorbs magnesium from the water it's bathing in--which you're missing now. Additionally, we're not drinking spring or mineral water that's high in magnesium--instead, we're drinking tap water that's devoid of magnesium. As a result, you'll ingest even less magnesium.
  4. prescription drugs lower our magnesium levels.

And so forth...

You must now be thinking: 

"How do I know whether I'm magnesium deficient?"

If you're experiencing anxiety, if you're are stressed, have high blood pressure, feel sluggish after a meal, if you're depressed, have frequent headaches, or experience cramps, you might be magnesium deficient. And the previous instances are just a shortlist of magnesium deficiency symptoms (more are included in the full blog post).

Without sufficient magnesium, you won't experience all the magnesium benefits I've listed above. In other words, you can massively improve your health by increasing your magnesium intake.

How?

Food is problematic for getting all your magnesium needs met. You should therefore not exclusively rely on food for your magnesium intake. Instead, I recommend magnesium supplementation. Always consult your physician before starting magnesium supplementation.

Fortunately, magnesium supplements are inexpensive. You don't want to read the entire blog post to find inexpensive magnesium supplements?

That's fine with me...

Take magnesium in pill form, powder form, or as bath flakes.

You can use these inexpensive bath flakes to create your own magnesium oil, by mixing these flakes in a 1:1 ratio with hot water. Very simple...

The pill or powder form can simply be ingested like you would consume any other supplement - generally used twice a day. The magnesium oil should also be used once a day at the maximum. If you want to supplement with magnesium more than once a day, include more of the oral magnesium supplement form.

For knowing exactly how much you should supplement, you need to know your intake of "elemental magnesium" per day.

Elemental magnesium is the net magnesium intake that you get from a supplement or from your diet.

Most people consume about 100mg of magnesium per 1.000 food calories that they consume.

But, these people need about 8mg per kilogram of bodyweight if they're not deficient. If you're deficient, you need even more magnesium than 8mg per kilogram of bodyweight.

Example:

Let's say you're weighing 80 kilograms and consuming 3.000 food calories per day. In that case, you're getting roughly 300mg of magnesium per day from food. At 8mg per kilogram of bodyweight, you need 640mg of magnesium to get a sufficient intake. If you consume 300mg, you've got a 340mg deficiency per day.

If you're magnesium deficient, training very hard, or  stressed, you might need as much as 15mg of magnesium per kilogram of bodyweight for a short period of time. Once your deficiency is gone, you can lower your magnesium intake.

For example, a 80 kilogram person who ingests 300mg of magnesium per day from their diet might need as much as 1200mg per day in total to reverse their magnesium deficiency.

You might be asking:

"What if I measure your bodyweight in pounds?"

If you measure your bodyweight in pounds, you have to divide the mg per kilogram equation by 2,2. Let's see how that calculation works out.

As a general rule, you'll need 3,6 mgs of magnesium per pound of bodyweight for general health support. If you're magnesium deficient, you'll need up to 6,8 mgs of magnesium per pound of bodyweight.

Note that magnesium deficiencies takes time to correct.

If you supplement correctly, magnesium deficiencies might take 3 months to correct. In more extreme (difficult) cases, or when under-supplementing, you might need a year to resolve a magnesium deficiency.

But there's more:

If you're diseased, magnesium can be a life-saver.

Whether you've got diabetes or are at risk for getting diabetes, sleeping poorly, got heart disease, kidney problems, asthma, migraines, or depression, increasing your magnesium intake will probably help your condition if you're magnesium deficient.

And even if you're otherwise healthy, magnesium can be an enormous help for your health...

Do you want to know more? Read the entire e-book sized blog post! Want a sharable infographic on magnesium? Receive that infographic below:

Magnesium: Why You're Deficient. The Best Magnesium-Rich Foods And Supplements For Massive Health Benefits. 

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*Post can contain affiliate links. Read my affiliate, medical, and privacy disclosure for more information.

Author: Bart Wolbers. Bart finished degrees in Physical Therapy (B), Philosophy (BA and MA), Philosophy of Science and Technology (MSc - Cum Laude), and Clinical Health Science (MSc).



Table of Contents

1. Introduction: My Magnesium Story.
2. Magnesium Deficiency? Where Did We Go Wrong?
3. How Do You Know Whether You're Magnesium Deficient?
4. Overall Magnesium Health-Benefits And Side-Effects.
5. Magnesium For Specific Conditions.
6. Testing Your Body's Magnesium Levels.
7. Why Magnesium In Food Will Not Save You.
8. The Best Magnesium Supplements, And How To Take Them.
9. Conclusion: Almost Everyone Needs A Magnesium Supplement.

1. Introduction: My Magnesium Story

Let me tell you about my story with a stunning mineral:

Magnesium.

I had been strength training for many years. I was meticulously watching my food-intake. From the age of 17, I had been planning all my daily meals in advance, while avoiding all processed food and junkfood.

I was a strength athlete, and placed myself on a strict diet to improve my athletic performance. For about a decade - with some hiatuses - I kept up with this schedule.

When I was 27, I was eating 2 pounds of organic spinach per day on many days. Spinach is one of the best magnesium food sources out there. I also included many other magnesium food sources. Red meat and fish, which both contain high levels of highly absorbable magnesium.

There was no way I could be deficient in magnesium, right?

Wrong...

I was highly magnesium-deficient.

Upon supplementing with magnesium, my sleep, strength, performance, and overall relaxation all improved.

Then, 2-3 years later the symptoms of magnesium deficiency began creeping in once again. Around the age of 30, I had a stressful period before I started Nature Builds Health. I spent lots of time thinking a lot about my future.

These magnesium-deficiency symptoms included some low levels of anxiety, insomnia, and not recovering well from workouts. But, I was still eating tons of vegetables such as spinach, meat and fish, and I was also supplementing with magnesium.

Again, I was thinking: "in no way I'm ever magnesium deficient."

Right?

Wrong once more...

As it turns out, I could still make major improvements to my magnesium intake. Upon increasing my magnesium intake, all the previously listed symptoms disappeared.

So, what did I learn?

My story taught me that you could think that you're taking in adequate amounts of magnesium, even while being radically deficient. I began studying the magnesium issue in more detail, and found out that I was not the only one experiencing magnesium deficiency.

Me - and all these other people - all experienced an improvement in their symptoms after supplementing with higher magnesium dosages. Many of these people falsely assumed that they were taking in adequate amounts of magnesium through their diets and even supplementation.

These people were just as wrong as I am...

The magnesium dosages necessary to reach optimal magnesium levels turned out much higher than governments generally recommend.

And yet, a high-dosage magnesium therapy strategy worked wonders for my overall health. 

While doing my research, my question then became: why is it even necessary that you need to supplement with magnesium in the first place? Magnesium is a common mineral, right? People are not deficient in phosphorus or calcium en masse, when they eat a high-quality healthy diet. Yet, why is magnesium different?

Magnesium turned to be a special case. 

I found out why, and I'll turn you towards that answer as well.

Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.

In this article, I'll tell you how you can use magnesium to improve your relaxation, lower your stress levels, improve your sleep, enhance your hormone and energy levels, avert disease, and become more productive.

All for pennies per day.

Let's look at this magic mineral, which has so many functions, such as helping your body's cells communicate, aiding muscle relaxation, creating energy in your body, and building proteins...

Now, I do want to put a disclaimer out here as well. While making sure you get an optimal amount of magnesium in your body's cells is a great achievement for your health, you do need other strategies to achieve optimal health as well.

Without optimizing sleep quality, making sure you're not exposed to artificial light after sunset, and making sure you get enough sunlight in our life, you'll never achieve optimal health.

Please remember: increasing your magnesium intake can never compensate for avoiding the sun.

Now, get ready...

Let's take a deep dive into magnesium.

2. Magnesium Deficiency? Where Did We Go Wrong?

In the previous section, I've asked the question on how it is possible that so many people are deficient in magnesium. Very often, people are supplementing with magnesium, but still remain deficient. 

That was true for me too...

Let's find out why.

As very often is the case, the answer to this question lies in our human past.

In previous blog posts, I've often talked about how human beings are still largely the same kind of species as 250.000 years ago. Back then, the human species originated in Africa. Sure, we've had some genetic changes since that time, but overall, we're largely the same species.

Sunny Ethiopia:
Our paradise lost?

Our living conditions back then in Africa dictate how you should live your life today.

For example, if you create fundamentally different sleeping conditions than what the human species is built for, sleep problems emerge. Fixing the mismatch between how you're sleeping and how you're meant to sleep will improve your sleep quality.

The same is true for magnesium.

Let's compare the traditional African human society to our modern society at several different levels:

  1. In traditional societies, you could gather your weekly food needs in a couple of hours. In modern society, most people have to work several days to afford food and housing.
  2. The traditional human lifestyle is very low in stress. Our modern way of living is the opposite: people are stressed-out everywhere.
  3. Traditional societies uphold hunter-gatherer (and sometimes agricultural) practices that leads to the consumption of foods that are high in minerals. Modern society promotes the use of chemical fertilizers for agriculture, which have lowered the mineral content of foods over the last century. Magnesium is one such mineral which is no longer fully present in many soils.
  4. If you live in a traditional society, you're drinking natural water that contains lots of minerals. Modern societies has drinking water that contains chemical and prescription medicine residues, which is simultaneously devoid of minerals. If you're drinking tap water, you're probably drinking "dead" water, and possibly even drinking toxic water.
  5. Traditional societies' people bathed in waters that were high in magnesium. If you live in a modern society, you'll probably showers in water that is mostly devoid of minerals such as magnesium. Your skin absorbs magnesium, as you'll learn through the course of this article, which you're missing out on.
  6. People living in traditional societies consumed equal quantities of magnesium and calcium. People modern societies consume up to 15 times as much calcium as magnesium.
  7. If you live in a traditional society, you won't consume processed foods that are devoid of magnesium. Processed foods even require magnesium to processed, leading to a net magnesium loss. People in modern society consume all kinds of processed foods, such as refined grains and white sugar.

All of these practices affect the magnesium levels that end up in your body. 

In modern society, the cards are stacked against you in terms of getting enough magnesium into your body. In other words, our modern lifestyle has basically ensured that you'll end up with low magnesium levels.

Let's explore the seven reasons listed above in more detail - one by one...

Reason 1: you have to work a lot more hours in a modern society, as opposed to a hunter-gatherer society. More stress equals more magnesium deficiency.

Yes...

Contrary to popular assumption, hunter-gatherer societies actually have very relaxed lifestyles. Sure, you're in big trouble once you're attacked by predator. But the general lifestyle in those societies is and was pretty damn easygoing.

People in hunter-gatherer societies only work 20 hours per week.

Crazy right?

That 20 hours helps them take care of all of their basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, etcetera.[1; 2]

Hunt a deer, collect some berries and tubers.
Done for the day...

Modern society is radically different from our past in Africa.

Not only does the average person in developed society work 30-40 hours each week, that time excludes travel hours and the time it takes to complete other duties. The other duties, such as buying food, and taking care of your house and children, are not even included in that 30-40 hour workweek.

Modern humans have come closer to 50-60 hours of net duties each week - if you're lucky.

Why does that difference in working hours matter?

More work equals more stress. More stress equals higher magnesium needs.[10; 11; ; 45; 314] Stress literally depletes magnesium.

So if you're exercising very heavily, working 70 hours a week, cutting down on sleep (or sleeping poorly), if you're under psychological pressure, your magnesium needs will be higher.

Through the mechanism described above, my magnesium deficiency slowly built up.

What's the alternative?

Well, in traditional societies, you would not be exposed to such daily stressors very often. You might have stress incidentally, because of an upcoming danger. Traditional societies do not have the continual low-levels of background stress that characterizes our modern society.

But the story gets worse...

Let's look at the second reason why people are magnesium deficient nowadays:

Reason 2: our work in modern society is inherently more stressful, which depletes more magnesium, leading to magnesium deficiency.

Don't believe me?

Compare two scenarios: 

  1. hunting deer on the plains, searching for oysters on the beach, and collecting berries
  2. working Excel spreadsheets, flipping hamburgers at McDonalds, or blogging for many hours a day (my specialty!)

These scenarios don't even compare.

Our ancestors automatically got their daily sunlight exposure and exercise while hunting or gathering food.

The sunlight exposure and mild exercise of our ancestors is inherently relaxing. Modern humans are removed from that relaxation due to the nature of our jobs. 

That's a big difference between how modern humans and our ancestors carried out their work.

We're all spending 90% of our time inside buildings, and only have access to the sun during our breaks and evenings. Indoor artificial lighting does not even come close to sunlight - because it literally lacks certain frequencies of light.

More specifically, office lighting does not emit "infrared" and "ultraviolet" light, which is emitted by the sun. As a human being, you've evolved to be exposed to some infrared and ultraviolet light from the sun every day. Both types of lighting are inherently relaxing. 

Being under modern artificial light - such as LED bulbs or fluorescent bulbs - is thus inherently stressful.

Don't believe me?

Let me help you visualize the difference.

Just compare these pictures, and tell me where you would prefer to work. First, a modern office building:

Secondly, the environment in which our human species emerged:

For arguments sake, I've even chosen a good looking office. Some offices look way worse than working area displayed above. For example, some offices might not even contain any windows.

I know my choice...

But there's more scientific evidence to support my claim.

Walking in nature, for instance, inherently lowers your stress hormone levels - such as the hormone "cortisol". The same effect does not occur when you're walking around city blocks.[3-9]

Now, there are several additional mechanisms why natural environments are far more relaxing than your average office:

Modern cities are also massively polluted, their high-rise building don't let in a lot of light, noise pollution is omnipresent, everyone is exposed to increased radiation from cell-towers and wireless devices, and much, much more.

In essence, living in modern society that subjects you to tons of low level stress each and every day. After a few hours, these stressful effects add up. After weeks, months, and years, you're getting chronically stressed or diseased.

Again: the higher your stress levels, the higher your magnesium needs become.[10; 11; 249]

How do I know magnesium plays such a vital role in stress?

If you're plagued by noise stress, for example, supplementing with magnesium can improve your tolerance of that noise. Without enough magnesium, noise is literally experienced as more stressful.[251; 440] 

When you're getting more stressed, your body increases the production of certain stress hormones such as "cortisol" and "adrenaline"

These stress hormones deplete magnesium from your body, which is excreted through your urine. After losing magnesium, you'll be less resilient against the next stressor enters your pathway. And because you're now less resilient, that next stressor will deplete your body's magnesium stores even further.

That process creates a vicious cycle between a lowered stress tolerance, stress, and an even lower resilience towards stress.

There's even more evidence for this vicious cycle...

Without magnesium, you'll even experience pain more intensely.[252-255] The longer the stress persists - such as chronic stress - the lower your body's magnesium levels will become.[356]

The result?

About 60% of people in modern societies are magnesium-deficient.[12; 74; 84; 92; 224] Many more people have sub-optimal magnesium levels.

To be more precise, about two-thirds of the people living in the developed world do not even consume the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium. The highest RDA - for males between 31 and 50 years old - is set at 420 milligrams of magnesium each day. 

But the problem gets even bigger: that RDA is way too low if your goal is optimal health.

Why?

I would often consume lots of magnesium through my 2 pounds of spinach alone, use copious amounts of magnesium oil before I went to bed, and would still be magnesium deficient.

I'd ingest at least 1.000 mgs of magnesium each day. And yet, at that dosage, I would still be magnesium deficient.

For you that situation might be the same.

If you're living a high-stress lifestyle, exercising a lot, you might need a lot more magnesium than the RDA prescribes. The RDA is set at a maximum of 420mg and is just sufficient to prevent the most obvious deficiencies.

The RDA is not targeted towards optimal health at all. What's even scarier is that the RDA is set pretty low, and two-thirds of people do still not even get there.

As a consequence, the risks of magnesium deficiency are very much underestimated.[74] Most people just don't know that they should consume a lot more magnesium.

And yet, my story about magnesium is getting even bleaker: just consuming more food will probably not offset your magnesium deficiency...

Reason 3: Magnesium-poor soils make you more magnesium-deficient.

Why does the soil upon which your food grows matter?

Magnesium-poor soils create magnesium poor foods. And the magnesium content of our soils has been decreasing for decades. 

How?

Chemical fertilizer is usually based around a few very specific minerals: phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. You can forget these names. What's important to observe instead, is that you notice that magnesium is excluded from that list.

Sufficient magnesium is thus not put back into the soil. Year after year, fields treated with chemical fertilizer end up with a tiny bit less magnesium. Over decades, that magnesium depletion adds up.

Even worse, these other minerals that are included in chemical fertilizer, displace magnesium in growing plants.[70; 71; 81] Just as humans, plants also need enough magnesium to function properly.

Take wheat for example. Wheat is a staple food for many people on this planet. In the UK, between 1843 and 1960, wheat's magnesium levels remained stable. 

Between 1960 and 2005, however, there has been a 30%  decline of wheat's magnesium content.

Magnesium is just one mineral that's being removed from our food. Other minerals are being depleted as well, such as iron and copper. That mineral depletion process is not just happening in grains: vegetables, fruits, meats, and milk, all have lower mineral contents than 70 years ago.[77-80; 435]

What's the reason?

Surprise, surprise...

The entire agricultural system is responsible, not just fertilizers.

Why?

Chemical fertilizer was mass-adopted by farmers in the 50s and 60s. Petroleum-based agricultural machinery, annual mass-produced crops, and pesticides lie at the basis of our modern agricultural system.

As a result, plants are growing bigger, and that the same amount of agricultural land can produce higher yields. In places with higher efficiency and crop yields, the same amount of wheat contains less magnesium. The same is true for other crops, such as vegetables or fruits.

Since a few decades, we're also seeing new types of wheat crops on the market. These new wheat crops used might also contribute to lower mineral contents of our eventual wheat-based foods.[77]

Also remember that I compared the 1960s with the year 2005. I expect the problem to be even worse in 2018. Today, we've got agreater presence of mechanized agriculture than ever before. In the 1990s and 2000s, large scale agriculture was not as omnipresent as it is today.

The bottom line is that if you eat the same foods your grandparents ate, you're ingesting less and less magnesium over time.

The magnesium content of soils has regional variations. There's up to a tenfold difference between soils that are high in magnesium, and soils that have very little magnesium left.[75]

That problem is even true for organic produce. If you're getting organic foods from magnesium-poor soils, you'll still end up with very little magnesium in your body. Fortunately, organic produce contains slightly higher mineral contents - including magnesium.[437]

If affordable, you should thus always opt for organic foods.

But getting magnesium into the plants you're eating does not solve all of your problems. That magnesium needs to stay in these plants until you eat them:

Processed foods contain up to 90% lower magnesium levels .[66-69; 82] The more processed food you consume, the less magnesium you'll ingest. Cultures that have not switched fully to a Western diet and agricultural system have almost no problems getting their magnesium needs met through their food.[72]

Why?

Traditional cultures don't refine their foods like we do in "developed" countries.

All in all, if you're relying on white bread or highly processed junkfood, you're almost certainly more magnesium deficient than the people around you.

That's right.

I'm not talking about if you're magnesium deficient, but I'm talking about to what extent you're magnesium deficient. We don't have to speculate about magnesium deficiency: you must supplement with at least 300mg of magnesium each day to get somewhat near optimal levels.[84]

And even then:

The magnesium intake you need to prevent an immediate deficiency and the magnesium intake for optimal health are radically different.

Not being magnesium deficient does not mean that your magnesium levels are optimal. I'll tell you more on the optimal magnesium intake later...

Let's now look at other reasons that cause magnesium deficiency.

Reason 4: your drinking water has a poor magnesium-content nowadays, exacerbating magnesium deficiency: 

Modern tap water is radically different
from spring water.

Why?

Our drinking water is not what is used to be.

If your water company is removing the salt from your water, its overall mineral content will decrease too - including magnesium.[212] Almost everyone drinks tap water nowadays.

Our modern drinking water is a shadow of the drinking water you would be getting if you were living in Africa 250.000 years ago. Natural water contains minerals.

What's the solution for you?

Spring water or mineral water. In general, spring water and mineral water contain a lot more minerals than tap water.[83] Try to get your water from a local spring if you want to use healthy drinking water. Alternatively, you can rely on high-quality mineral water.

If possible, buy or collect your water in glass bottles.

As you know, humans do not just use water for drinking. Water is also used for bathing:

Reason 5: modern bathing methods make you more magnesium-deficient.

Our ancestors bathed in rivers, lakes, seas and oceans.[233] Such practices are still used in the few traditional cultures that exist today.

Lakes, seawater, and ocean water are especially rich in minerals.[233] Magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, are examples of these minerals.[233-234]

You absorb these minerals through your skin. if you bathe in modern tap water that is devoid of minerals, however, you skin and body won't be fed by any new minerals ever. You also absorb prescription medicines and toxins through your shower and bathing water.

What's so special about seawater?

Seawater and lake water contain as much as three times as much magnesium as calcium.

Bathing in seawater, or in other waters that are magnesium-rich such as lakes, are excellent for increasing your daily magnesium intake. Modern humans no longer use these opportunities.

And just when you thought things could not turn worse, they do...

Reason 6: we're consuming lots of minerals in our diets that need to be balanced by magnesium, but aren't. Mineral imbalances lead to magnesium deficiency.

Specifically, the minerals "calcium" and "phosphorus" need to be balanced by your magnesium intake.[345; 346]

Our ancestors in Africa consumed roughly the same mg amount of magnesium and calcium.[243]

The same is true for traditional cultures that still exist today. These cultures have not yet been infected by the eating methods of "developed" countries.

People in developed countries taking in between 2 and 15 times as much calcium as magnesium. That ratio is totally out of whack, and unnatural. You need magnesium, among others, to transport the calcium you consume to the right places.[250; 263] Without magnesium, calcium cannot be used properly.[263]

Taking in too much calcium relative to magnesium can even lower your overall magnesium levels.[268; 269; 286] The same is true for our phosphorus intake - which we have been increasingly consuming in relation to magnesium as well.

If you consume a lot of milk products that contain much more calcium than magnesium, make sure you mind your magnesium intake. 

Next:

Reason 7: processed foods in our modern diet deplete magnesium stores, leading to magnesium deficiency.

Let's say, for example, that you consume a lot of processed sugar. You don't combine the sugar with sufficient magnesium. In that case, you'll end up with net lower magnesium levels in your body.[335] 

Now, I do think the problem of processed sugar is overstated. The problem with these foods is just that they do not deliver any magnesium to your body, even though your body keeps consuming magnesium on a daily basis.

White bread, junkfood, and supermarket foods with many ingredients are similar as processed sugar: these foods don't contribute to your daily magnesium needs.

Lastly, there are several other reasons why people might be magnesium deficient.[270; 271]

Cooking, for example, removes some magnesium from your food. Overcooking foods removes even more magnesium. 

Additionally, if you have low vitamin D levels, the absorption of magnesium might be lower as well. The relationship between vitamin D and magnesium is extremely interesting:

Magnesium is needed to create vitamin D, but vitamin D is also needed to absorb magnesium.[21; 288; 289]

Other nutrients that are needed to properly absorb magnesium are the minerals zinc and selenium, and vitamin B1 and B6.[12; 375-377; 428; 429]

The end result? We consume half the magnesium we used to consume a century ago, even though we need more magnesium now.[267; 302]

Much more...

Does my conclusion about our magnesium consumption sounds crazy? Probably: that's because my conclusion is crazy and counter-intuitive. 

But let's get back to you. In the next section, I'll help you determine whether you're magnesium deficient...

3. How do you know whether you're magnesium deficient? 

You must be thinking: "am I part of that 60% magnesium deficient people as well?"

Perhaps not...

But, you're almost certainly part of the 90% people who're having sub-optimal magnesium levels. 

In that case, you still have a problem!

Why?

Consider the following example: if you're consuming a minimal amount of vitamin C, you're steering clear of a condition called "scurvy". Phrased differently, if you're not getting scurvy you're not having an immediate dangerous vitamin C deficiency.

For optimal health, however, you need a far higher vitamin C intake than is needed to prevent scurvy. The same is true for your magnesium intake.

Preventing a deficiency is not enough to help your body and mind perform optimally. In this section, I'll mainly consider magnesium deficiencies. In later sections - on magnesium testing and supplementation - I'll tell you how you can reach optimal magnesium levels.

First, magnesium deficiency...

Let's look at signs of magnesium deficiency. These signs are:

  • headaches, specifically migraines.[191; 211] Magnesium deficiency might also make you more sensitive to light.[382]

    Several clients of mine who've had migraines for years had them "magically" cured after supplementing with higher dosages of magnesium. 

  • anxiety and stress.[154; 155; 315] If you're anxious all the time, you might just have a magnesium deficiency.

    Please don't be the person who thinks they have an anxiety disorder, while in reality they just need more magnesium. Magnesium deficiencies are often conflated with anxiety disorders - because magnesium deficiency looks like an anxiety disorder

    You might even experience a vicious circle between anxiety, stress, and magnesium depletion, which lead to more anxiety and stress. Lots of people who have anxiety issues have trouble exiting that cycle.

    Even hyperventilation can be caused by magnesium deficiency - which might be seen as an extreme form of anxiety.[340; 341] 

    If you're stressed due to low magnesium levels in your body, you can become agitated very easily. You might also be agitated by anyone and anything - paired with a feeling that life is overwhelming.[12] 

    In essence, assholes might thus not always have a bad character--these people might just be magnesium deficient (or sunlight deficient)

  • depression.[150-152; 297; 334; 335] Yes. Magnesium deficiency can really make you depressed!

    Why? Magnesium deficiency is probably linked to depression because magnesium is so inherently necessary for relaxation. Without enough magnesium, you're on the edge all the time, without having a good reason for being in that state.

    If you have depression, magnesium could be your to-go pill...

  • problems in your thinking ability and memory.[308-312] Without sufficient magnesium, your attention might be lower, and you're be more prone to confusion.

  • high blood pressure.[115; 298; 299] Yes, you might not even need that blood-pressure lowering medication...
     
  • heart rhythm dysfunctions.[300; 301] If the pattern in your heart beats is very irregular, check whether you need extra magnesium first.

  • (chronic) fatigue, although results vary.[296; 393] Just having low magnesium levels will already cause fatigue will already make you more tired. Why? Magnesium plays a vital role in the energy production of your body.

  • breathing problems and asthma can be magnesium deficiency symptoms as well.[197-200] Magnesium helps the muscles in your airways contract properly.

    If you're low on magnesium, you will also produce more "histamine". Histamine is a signalling substance in the brain, related to food intolerance, breathing problems, and allergies.

    With low magnesium levels, your body's histamine levels will be higher. Simply put, magnesium can (indirectly) clear your nose and help you breathe better.

  • insomnia.[208] Magnesium deficiency often lies at the basis of sleep problems. Improving your magnesium levels was one of my most important tips in a previous blog post I wrote about optimizing sleep quality.

  • cold hands or fingers, or losing blood flow in your fingers (which is called Raynaud's syndrome).[422; 423]

    Magnesium relaxes your blood vessels, so that blood can flow unobstructed. Magnesium also prevents plaque from building up in your blood vessels, which helps blood flow as well.

  • restless legs.[208; 313] Cramps and spasms are less serious signs of magnesium deficiency. Such spasms can occur almost anywhere, such as even the muscles around your eyes.

    Athletes who have cramps all the time, most often just magnesium deficient.

    Back pain and neck pain are also possible magnesium deficiency symptoms, as is over-excitement.[337; 338] Seizures are a sign of a more extreme magnesium deficiency.[315-317]

    What do all these signs have in common?

    Magnesium prevents too much calcium from entering your cells. Remember that many people consume too much calcium compared to magnesium in modern society. Too much calcium in your cells disrupts the contractive function of your muscles, which then cause cramps and spasms. 

  • appetite loss or cravings and overeating.[302] 

    In some cases, you'll overeat to compensate for having too little magnesium in your diet. Cravings for chocolate are an example. Other examples are craving bread, sugar, or nuts. 

    In other cases, magnesium deficiency leads to a vicious cycle of appetite loss, which leads to more magnesium deficiency. People who do not eat enough often end up with even greater magnesium deficiencies.

  • problems with the digestive system, such as constipation.[304] Magnesium makes your stools looser. If you take too much magnesium, however, it can have a laxative effect.

    On the other hand, diarrhea can also be a symptom of magnesium deficiency, as well as gut problems such as Crohn's or inflammatory bowel syndrome.

  • diabetes.[95; 100] If you're low on magnesium, your body cannot get carbohydrates you consume to the right places in your body.[305-307; 335; 336] I'll talk more about diabetes in a following section.

Other reported magnesium deficiency signs are altered sensations, such as itching, numbness, or tingling - or poor bone health, nausea or vomiting, and a lowered ability to coordinate your movements.

You should keep in mind that not all magnesium deficiencies are equally bad. Different degrees of magnesium deficiency exist.

If you have a moderate magnesium deficiency, you might experience constipation, sleepless nights and some general anxiety. A more pronounced magnesium deficiency will create bigger problems, such as heart rhythm complications, a major depression, epilepsy, or even a fatal heart attack.

Magnesium deficiency is thus not a side-issue that you can ignore...

An irritated gorilla due to magnesium deficiency?
Or did you anger him?

The longer your magnesium deficiency exists, the longer you'll need to increase your magnesium intake to correct that deficit. Some people have experienced a magnesium deficiency for years. I was one of them...

Whether a magnesium deficiency develops in the first place depends on many circumstances. In some circumstances you'll be more prone to develop a magnesium deficiency than others. 

Let's look at how you can predict whether you're more prone to be magnesium deficient.

You should be more beware of becoming magnesium deficient if:

  • you're consuming a lot of salt. Salt absorption competes with magnesium absorption in your body. If you're consuming a lot of salt, make sure to increase your magnesium consumption as well.[12] 

    Consuming too little salt can be equally problematic.[370]

    I'll publish an article on the optimal salt intake in the future, but suffice it to say, your salt intake should be a lot higher than generally recommended. Keep in mind that if you're consuming more salt, you should also be consuming more of the other minerals, such as magnesium, or potassium (found in meats, fruits, fish, vegetables, shellfish, and tubers).
     
  • you've got problems managing your blood sugar levels.[13-17; 359; 360; 378] People who have problems managing their blood sugar levels often experience "insulin resistance", whereby their body's cells can no longer accept carbohydrates from consumed foods as a fuel.

    Carbohydrates are not problematic by themselves. Instead, low magnesium levels cause carbohydrates (sugars) to be malabsorbed by your body's cells. In turn, you'll be more prone to become obese.

  • you're dieting extremely. Long-term fasting, for example, has been demonstrated to lower magnesium levels. One reason is probably that fasting is hard on the body, while you cannot replenish your magnesium stores through food consumption during this period.[178]

    Make sure to drink a lots of high-quality mineral water during your fasts, and you should be much better of.

    Fasting temporarily increases your stress levels, which deplete magnesium, while you're simultaneously supplied with less magnesium from food.

  • heavy exercise also depletes your magnesium stores.[374] If you exercise hard or often, you thus need more magnesium.

    Heavy exercise depleting magnesium levels was the reason I was magnesium deficient even though I already had a high magnesium intake.

  • you've got low vitamin D levels.[18-24; 226] You need magnesium to create vitamin D from sunlight.

    Magnesium activates vitamin D. Without magnesium, you will will unsuccessfully supplement or get sunlight to get your vitamin D levels up. 

    Some people therefore have a vitamin D deficiency because they have a magnesium deficiency. In that case, supplementing with vitamin D will increase their need for magnesium further, which will exacerbate the magnesium deficiency.

  • consume lots of caffeine.[25; 26] A few hours after consuming caffeine, more magnesium is excreted through your urine. 

    Magnesium excretion might not be problematic per se, however, because coffee itself contains a lot of magnesium. If you're relying on caffeine pills you should be more worried, because caffeine supplements do not replace the magnesium you're excreting.

  • sweating a lot.[27-31] It doesn't matter why you're sweating. Working in high temperatures, working out, or sitting in an infrared sauna all do the trick.

  • if you're a woman and menstruating. Menstruation causes magnesium loss.[34; 35]

    Even before you're menstruating, however, magnesium can already reduce your PMS symptoms. 

  • taking prescription medication. Examples are drugs that promote urination (diuretics),[361; 362] laxatives,[363] drugs that counter stomach acid,[364; 365] estrogen hormonal therapy,[367] insulin for diabetes,[368; 369] and contraceptives.[424]

  • pregnant.[87] During pregnancy, you're in increased magnesium need. An inability to consume enough magnesium during pregnancy can have all kinds of negative consequences for the fetus:

    Magnesium deficiency can cause complications during the pregnancy itself. An example is an early birth of your child.[88; 89] If you're stressed a lot during pregnancy, the magnesium stores of the fetus are also depleted more quickly.[87] 

    About 15-20% of women experience magnesium deficiency during their pregnancy.[87] When if you're breastfeeding, the complications of magnesium deficiency can even impact your child after birth.[380] For example, magnesium deficiency will lead to less magnesium in your breast milk. You thus need more magnesium if you're breastfeeding.

    However, some contrary opinions on magnesium supplementation during pregnancy exist.[91] Not all studies thus show that supplementing with magnesium during pregnancy helps your child.

    Overall, I think there's little risk with supplementing with magnesium during pregnancy, because the possible downside of a magnesium deficiency can be disastrous. If you supplement while your magnesium stores are already optimal, you'll just excrete any excess.

    I would place my bets on making sure you've got optimal magnesium levels as a (prospective) mother.

  • of older age.[129; 354] Taking in enough magnesium becomes more and more important as you age. Why? The absorption of magnesium in your gut is lowered as you age, less magnesium is stored in your bones, and magnesium is exerted from your body more quickly.

    Lowered stomach acid production is one reason you're absorbing less magnesium due to aging.

  • you take in aluminum. Aluminum can be found in many commercial deodorants, and may blocks magnesium uptake.[348] Aluminum is yet another reason to be suspicious of modern (cosmetic) products.

  • your water contains fluoride. Fluoride has terrible overall health consequences. Decreasing your magnesium stores is one such consequence.[349-351]

    It's not just tap water that often contains fluoride. Fluoride is also found in many commercial toothpastes. Even many prescription medications contain fluoride, further depleting your body's magnesium levels.[425; 426]

    Yes, prescription medication increases your magnesium needs on its own, but when combined with fluoride, you'll need even more magnesium...

  • kidney dysfunction makes it harder to hold on to magnesium in your body.[274; 352; 353]  

    Magnesium deficiency is thus both a cause of kidney dysfunction, but also an effect of kidney dysfunction. 

    Several grams of magnesium actually pass through your kidneys ever day, but most of that magnesium is re-absorbed.[395] When you have a kidney dysfunction, more magnesium is excreted in your urine.

  • gut problems. [257-259; 272; 304] For example, if you have "inflammatory bowel disease" or "Crohn's disease" - which are both common gut problems - you'll have more trouble absorbing magnesium you ingest orally.

    If you have problems with your stomach acid, such as a deficiency in stomach acid, you'll also be more prone to be magnesium deficient.[418]

  • certain diseases, such as inflammation in your pancreas - which is the organ that produces insulin,[371-373] liver problems,[379] or surgery to your intestines.[381]

  • drinking alcohol. If you drink alcohol, you're excreting more magnesium through your urine.[272]

  • stress. Yes, stress is both a cause and and effect of magnesium deficiency. The more stressed you are, and the more you work, the more prone you're for becoming magnesium deficient.

    Also remember that stress is also one of of the most important symptoms by which to identify magnesium deficiency.

 

Bathing in magnesium-rich natural water: check.
Relaxation: check. 
Magnesium status: high!

Why care about magnesium deficiency in the first place?

Magnesium literally manages thousands of different processes in the human body.[259] Without an adequate magnesium intake, you cannot reach or maintain optimal health.

Most people cannot rely on the medical system to solve their magnesium deficiency, however. Physicians routinely miss people who have symptoms of low magnesium status.[265] 

More specifically, physicians identify a mere 10% of magnesium deficiency cases.[344]

90% of people who enter a doctors office because of anxiety issues, high blood pressure, stress, cramps, or insomnia, are thus prescribed prescription medications. These people will not have their underlying problem of magnesium deficiency solved in any way.

Even with heart rhythm problems or depression, the medical system will not routinely check your magnesium levels.

Why?

The current medical system assumes that you don't really need that much magnesium. As it turns out later in this blog post, however, you often need much more magnesium than generally recommended.

But the problem with the medical system is even worse.

Why do physicians so often miss magnesium deficiencies in the first place?

Let's look at how physicians are educated...

In 2010, only 25% of medical schools required aspiring physicians to take a course in nutrition.[343] 75% of physicians, therefore don't need to follow a course on nutrition to become a medical doctor. On average, moreover, physicians are only educated on nutrition for a total of 20 hours.[343]

20 hours is very little, considering how important diet is for your health. Now, if physicians know almost nothing about nutrition--unless they educate themselves--how much will they know about magnesium?

Almost nothing. 

Of course, there are some great outliers, who as physician have taught themselves to treat real underlying causes of diseases such as magnesium deficiency. I'm praising physicians who consider the diets and possible deficiencies of their patients.

In general, however, magnesium deficiencies are missed.

The result?

Magnesium deficiencies have become pandemic. You don't have to be part of the magnesium-deficient population. 

The next section therefore looks at specific health benefits you will gain by improving your body's magnesium levels.

Do you want an simple summary of my top 10 magnesium laws? Receive that 10 magnesium laws infographic below:

4. Overall Magnesium Health-Benefits And Possible Side-Effects

By now you know you're probably magnesium deficient...

Why worry?

Well, you can have big improvements in life and health by increasing your magnesium intake.

Magnesium allows you:

  • improve your body's energy production.[44-49; 244] Specifically, magnesium increases the energy production in your "mitochondria". Mitochondria are the energy producing factories in your body. 

    Many energy production processes in the mitochondria depend on adequate levels of magnesium. In other words, without adequate amounts of magnesium your cells cannot produce the energy they need to.

    I've previously written an in depth blog post about mitochondria - on how your genetics most often do not determine whether you get diseased, but your mitochondria do.

  • to keep your immune system healthy.[119-122; 127] Magnesium is especially effective to keep your immune system strong when you're under stress.

    Remember that stress - all by itself - depletes your magnesium stores. Increasing your magnesium intake during stressful periods is thus a great way to lower your chances of getting diseased.

  • to slow down aging.[47; 126] Magnesium can specifically decrease how quickly you develop age-related diseases.

    Older people really need to be vigilant in making sure they're not magnesium deficient. Remember that you absorb less magnesium once you age--but you also need  magnesium to stay away from the modern diseases of aging.

    Why?

    Magnesium can keep your bones stronger while you age.[128] Sufficient magnesium will also keep your physical strength levels high for longer.[132] Insufficient magnesium intake makes it more difficult for your DNA to replicate - speeding up your aging process.[214; 215; 218; 431]

  • to keep inflammation levels low. Increased inflammation levels are associated with all kinds of modern diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and cancer.[136-141]

    If you are magnesium deficient, your inflammation levels rise--the opposite happens once you've got sufficient magnesium stores in your body.[142] 

    Lowering inflammation levels, moreover, might be yet another mechanism by which magnesium slows down the aging process.[143-149]

  • increase your body's sexual hormones, such as testosterone.[201-204] The increase of hormones is not just great for athletes, but for anyone who wants to feel good. 

    You additionally need sexual hormones for mental and physical performance.

  • may help use important minerals such as iron or copper - and get them to the right places in your body.[12; 290-295]

    In other words, without enough magnesium, you body cannot properly use all the minerals found in superfoods such as beef liver and oysters.

  • better workout performance, and recovery afterwards. Magnesium improves the energy availability for your muscles and brain.[168-172] An energy increase in either area - your muscles or brain - will help you perform better.

    Magnesium also prevents muscle cramps.[167] Don't be that million dollar athlete who spends time on the sideline because of muscle cramps that could have been prevented for pennies per day.

  • makes your bones stronger. People who have weaker bones have lower magnesium levels.[173-175] If you have weaker bones, and supplement with magnesium, your bone  strength improves.[176]

    Don't therefore rely on just calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K2 supplements to improve your bone strength. You need magnesium as well.

  • lowers stress levels. For example, increasing your magnesium intake can literally lower your levels of a stress hormone called "cortisol".[177; 179] 

    Stressors in modern society - such as noise - increase the depletion of your magnesium levels.[10; 45] Magnesium keeps your stress levels under control.

    What about another stress hormone, called "adrenaline"?[180-184; 266] Stress increases your adrenaline levels, and magnesium lowers them again.

    If you have a high-pressure job, either mentally or physically - you can even take some magnesium during your lunch break to perform better throughout the day.

  • to increase your body's vitamin D levels. Vitamin D and magnesium are interrelated in a very important fashion.[18-24; 225; 427] 

    Remember that magnesium literally activates vitamin D. Magnesium and vitamin D are co-dependent. In other words, increasing your vitamin D levels can help increase your magnesium levels, and increasing your magnesium levels can bolster your vitamin D levels.

    Magnesium will thus help you get the most out of your sunlight sessions.

  • and last but not least: help you sleep (much) better.[179; 207-210] Magnesium is one of the highest-ranking tips that I've included in my article on the 50 best sleep tips to cure insomnia.

    Magnesium makes you more relaxed, but is still highly recommended if you have no sleep issues at all.[441; 445]

    Why?

    Even if you don't experience insomnia, magnesium will still make your sleep more efficient. You'll get more deep sleep and "dream sleep", while decreasing the amount of superficial sleep you're getting.

In essence, you'll kick more ass with adequate magnesium levels:

So what about magnesium side-effects?

Magnesium does have some possible side-effects, although, these side-effects depends mostly on how magnesium is used.[267]

If you take in too much magnesium at once, laxative effects can occur.

The solution to these laxative effects it to lower your dosage, or to change the type of magnesium you're supplementing with. I'll tell you more about different magnesium types later.

An analogy between the possible laxative effects of magnesium would be a sunburn. If you get into the sun in a sensible fashion, you should not get burned. The sun is not solely responsible for any sunburn, but you are as well.

The same is true for the laxative effects of magnesium. If you get diarrhea, you're using magnesium improperly.

Beware, however.

Only in some very specific conditions does magnesium have side-effects. If you have:[267]

  • kidney problems. Your kidneys filter excessive magnesium, which makes taking in excessive magnesium consumption dangerous. 
  • an autoimmune condition called "myasthenia gravis". Don't worry if you don't know what I mean with that condition--the people who are so unfortunate to get this disease know what's I'm talking about.
  • a very slow heart rate. Magnesium can further lower how quickly your heart beats.
  • a mechanical obstruction of your bowels. In other words, some material in your bowels directly prevents fluids and food from moving through your digestive system. If your bowels are obstructed, you can overdose on magnesium, which is very dangerous.

With normal usage of magnesium, however, you should never experience side effects.

Remember: slowly increase your magnesium dosage over time. If you experience "disaster pants" - also called diarrhea - lower your magnesium dosage.

5. Magnesium For Specific Conditions.

Magnesium's benefits go a lot further than just helping you kick more ass. 

Remember that magnesium is massively important for hundreds, if not thousands of different processes in the human body.[62] It's therefore not surprising that having a magnesium deficiency can (help) cause many modern diseases. 

Removing your magnesium deficiency, in turn, can help reverse your disease, or lessen the disease's intensity.

The worse your disease, the more prevalent magnesium deficiencies tend to become as well.[108; 109] In other words, many modern diseases seem to be related to magnesium deficiencies, and vise versa.

Let's consider the most important diseases where magnesium plays a major role:

(I've only included the most common diseases)

  • diabetes. If you have diabetes, you probably have low magnesium levels.[94; 95; 104]

    While the following statement is an oversimplification, in diabetes your body cannot regulate the consumption of sugars (carbohydrates). If you almost have diabetes, or already have diabetes, magnesium can help you regulate well well your body deals with carbohydrates.[96-98; 105]

    The more magnesium you consume - up to a certain point of course - the better.[99; 106] If you're about to get diabetes, or already diabetic, getting your magnesium levels up should be one of your first priorities.

    With a magnesium deficiency you're more prone to become diabetic.[100; 102; 103] Just a few weeks of supplementing with magnesium can already turn your risk for getting diabetes around.[101]

    If you're already a diabetic, magnesium supplementation will help you deal with your disease as well.[194-196] For example, magnesium will even help you lose bodyfat as a diabetic.[206]

  • Alzheimer's disease.[309; 418-422] Yes. If you're magnesium deficient, you're more likely to get Alzheimer's disease. 

    Magnesium prevents toxins and too much plague - which is made out of calcium - from being deposited in your brain. Vitamin K2 can help you avoid plaque buildup in your brain as well.

  • heart disease.[36] If you're not consuming enough magnesium you're literally at greater risk for heart attacks.[86; 217]

    You can already become magnesium deficient because your area's drinking water is low in magnesium.[212; 213] People who consume drinking water that's low in magnesium and who do not consume magnesium from other sources, have a higher risk for getting heart attacks.

    But magnesium has many more benefits for those with heart disease.

    Blood vessels literally get more relaxed if your magnesium levels are higher, which lowers your blood pressure. High magnesium doses you can lower your high blood pressure equally well as using prescription medicine.[115] 

    Magnesium also prevents heart disease from developing in the first place.[111; 112; 116-118] Especially stroke and heart failure are preventable with increasing your magnesium intake.[112-114] Just like vitamin K2, magnesium helps redirect calcium away from your blood vessels, moving that calcium into your bones.[430]

    If you've got symptoms of an impeding heart attack, magnesium can help you recover as well.[166] Magnesium can even help if you have arrhythmia - or an irregular heartbeat.[185-190]

    Magnesium can thus directly be a "life saver" if you've got heart disease.

  • cancer. Magnesium can lower your risk for specific types of cancers, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.[37-43; 222; 223]

    Cancer also increases your need for magnesium.[354] If you're treated for cancer with cancer drugs, beware. Some cancer drugs increase your need for magnesium as well.[357; 358]

  • kidney problems.[133-135; 278-280] Increasing your magnesium intake might especially help if to manage the side-effects of kidney problems.

    Remember that if you have kidney problems, you're also more prone to be magnesium deficient.[135; 216]

    Always discuss magnesium supplementation with your physician if you've got kidney problems. Magnesium supplementation is inherently more dangerous in that case.

  • depression.[151-152; 156-160] Yes. If you're magnesium deficient, you're more prone to be depressed. 

    Although more research is needed in this area, improving your magnesium levels does seem to have a positive effect on your anxiety levels.[153-155; 205] Magnesium also known as the "relaxation mineral", which helps.

    Moreover, magnesium increases a signalling substance in your brain called "dopamine". Dopamine makes you feel motivated and proactive. 

    Making sure you get an adequate magnesium intake can both prevent and treat depression.

  • asthma. Magnesium can help both with acute asthma attacks, as well as the day-to-day management of the disease. Your quality of life will literally be higher by increasing your magnesium intake.[197-200; 277] 

    If you hyperventilate, magnesium deficiency might be the underlying cause of that problem.[339-341] The relaxation-effect of magnesium might be responsible for this decrease in hyperventilative action. 

  • ADHD - although more high-quality research is needed here.[162-165; 235] 

    Most children with ADHD are actually magnesium deficient. Magnesium supplementation has positive effects, even if children already take ADHD prescription medication. 

  • headaches, specifically migraines.[191-93] Magnesium is very often a very cheap and effective cure of migraines. Many people can get an immediate relief of their migraine once their magnesium levels are adequate again.[211]

  • weak bones - or osteoporosis. We already concluded that magnesium helps your bone strength. In addition, magnesium also helps if you already have weak bones.[192; 193; 247; 248; 264] Aging can be one reason for having weaker bones.

In addition to this list, magnesium also plays a likely role in adrenal fatigue and burnout, kidney disease, teeth grinding, bladder problems, fertility issues, gut problems, nerve complications, (chronic) inflammation, injuries during exercise, autoimmune disease, and much, much more.[267]

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in your body. It's therefore no coincidence that magnesium affects the trajectory of many diseases.

No matter what disease you have, it cannot hurt to double check whether your magnesium levels are sufficient.

How?

By testing your body's magnesium levels. Magnesium testing is the topic of the next section.

6. Testing Your Body's Magnesium Levels

Let's talk about testing how well your body's magnesium stores are doing.

There are many, many different magnesium tests on the market today. In this section I'll only treat the most common magnesium tests.

Before we take a deep dive into magnesium testing, let me give you a background on magnesium in the human body. By understanding that background, you'll better understand why I recommend some tests, while telling you to avoid others.

Depending on your bodyweight, your body stores about 25 grams of magnesium.[51; 52; 56] Most of that magnesium is found in your bones and muscles.[57] Only 1% of magnesium is actually located in your blood.[50; 57; 60; 61] 

Why does that magnesium distribution matter?

The most commonly used magnesium test - of the magnesium in your blood serum - only tests the "watery" part of your blood. Remember that only 1% of your body's magnesium is actually located in that blood.

That magnesium blood serum test thus tells you very little about your body's overall magnesium levels.[417]

But the problem gets worse: the magnesium blood serum test can even be deceptive.

Why?

When your blood is magnesium deficient - because you don't supply your body with sufficient magnesium - magnesium is pulled away from your bones and moves into your bloodstream.[63-65; 107]

Some of the 25 grams of magnesium stored in your bones can thus be released when it's needed elsewhere in your body.[58; 395] Over the long term, that magnesium release from your bones can be problematic.[59] 

You can have perfectly normal magnesium levels in your blood while your tissues and bones are extremely magnesium deficient.[110] 

The magnesium levels of your blood serum - the watery part of your blood - can thus be very high, while your bones and muscle tissue is depleted of magnesium.

If you score very high on a blood serum magnesium test, you can get a false sense of security. You might assume that you're doing fine in the magnesium department, while in reality the other 99% of your body's cells are extremely magnesium deficient.

So, what's the solution?

Fortunately, you have several better testing options. I'll go over three good magnesium testing methods first:

First, the injection of magnesium into your bloodstream is a very valid and accurate test of your body's magnesium levels.[383-386]

This test can only be carried out under medical supervision, and takes 24 hours to complete.

During this test, a large dose of magnesium will be injected into your bloodstream. The following 24 hours your urine will be measured for magnesium, to see how much magnesium you excrete:

  • If you're healthy, you'll only retain 2-8% of the magnesium that is injected into your bloodstream. 92-98% of injected magnesium is thus excreted through your urine.
  • If you're magnesium deficient, however, 11-36% of injected magnesium is retained. That means your body excretes much less magnesium if you're magnesium deficient.

Why does your body excrete less magnesium when you're magnesium deficient? Your body's cells are screaming for more magnesium, and are hanging on to every milligram of magnesium that you're supplying to these cells.

Excreting more magnesium during this test is thus a sign that your body's cells are saturated with magnesium.

Secondly, the "EXA" test is another valid and accurate magnesium test .[285; 398; 399]

During the EXA test, a medical professional take a swap of your cheek. The cells found in that cheek swap will then analyzed for their magnesium content.

The downside of this test is that it's not in widespread usage.

A muscle biopsy is a third valid and accurate test of your magnesium levels.[388]

The muscle biopsy tells you how well your body's cells are saturated with magnesium as well. This test can also exclusively be carried out under medical supervision.

I actually prefer the EXA test over the muscle biopsy, becuase the former is much less invasive. 

But as I said, not all magnesium tests are great.

What are some sub-optimal magnesium tests?

  • Looking for magnesium in your urine. [389; 442] This test has poor validity because your urine's magnesium levels can really mean anything.

    High magnesium levels in your urine can for example mean that you're wasting a lot of magnesium, while the magnesium levels in your body's cells remains low. If you conclude that your magnesium levels are "high" based on that urine tests outcome, you've just missed finding your magnesium deficiency.

    Low magnesium levels in your urine on the other hand, can mean several things.

    You can have low urine magnesium levels because you don't ingest much magnesium. You can also have low urine magnesium levels, however, if you do ingest sufficient amounts of magnesium, but your body hangs tight on any magnesium it gets, because you're incredibly magnesium deficient.

    The same outcome on the magnesium urine test can thus support totally opposing conclusion. It's therefore very hard to make any valid conclusions based on magnesium urine tests.

  • Testing for magnesium in lymph cells.[390] Your lymphatic system helps your body get rid of toxins. While testing lymph cells for magnesium might prove fruitful in the future, insufficient research has currently been carried out on this test.

  • red blood cell tests do not have the same validity and accuracy as the previously described "magnesium injection test".[391; 392; 442; 444]

    Fortunately, these red blood cell magnesium tests are easy to order and do not cost the world, however. The red blood cell magnesium test is the best magnesium test among all the sub-optimal tests described here.

    If using this test, make sure you score in the upper 80-90% of the reference range. Only the higher end of the range will ensure that your magnesium levels are adequate in your body's cells.

    Be wary of when the persons doing the lab test tell you that you fall within the "normal" range. If you only score in the upper 30 or 40% of the reference range, that does not mean that you've got adequate magnesium levels in your cells.

    Why can only the upper 80-90% can be considered sufficient? The red blood cell magnesium test outcomes are distributed based on the magnesium levels in the general population.

    If you score in the 60% range range of the test, you'll have better magnesium levels than 60% of the population. But, you also know that 60% of people are magnesium deficient. You should therefore not aim to score in the best 60% of any population in developed countries.

    Only a score of 80-90% actually means that you have sufficient magnesium levels, because the upper 10-20% of populations have optimal magnesium levels. 

    The red blood cell test is better than the blood serum test, because the magnesium levels stay more stable in your red blood cells than the serum of your blood.

  • your white blood cells can also be tested for magnesium, but not much valid research can be found on this test.[443; 444] 

    The white blood cell test does reflect the magnesium levels of your cells better than the red blood cell test. Why? Because white blood cells have what are called "mitochondria". Mitochondria are the energy producing factories of your cells. These mitochondria heavily rely on magnesium.

    Human red blood cells do not contain mitochondria. Because red blood cells do not contain mitochondria, they are less reflective of the magnesium status of your body's other cells.

    Besides validity, another problem with this white blood cell test is that it is four to eight times as expensive as a red blood cell test. Be prepared to pay hundreds of dollars for this test.

  • "ionized" magnesium blood test. Yes, yet another magnesium blood test. This ionized magnesium test is actually the most accurate, but it's not commonly available. 

    If you can get access to this test, great!

  • hair tests of magnesium.[396; 397; 446] This test is harder to standardize. Different labs approach the hair mineral analysis test of magnesium in different ways. Avoid!

So overall, your best three options for magnesium testing are:

  1. injecting magnesium into your blood stream, and testing your urine for magnesium for 24 hours.
  2. the EXA test, or magnesium cheek swap.
  3. a red blood cell magnesium test, which is cheap and widely available, but does not have perfect validity and accuracy.

"I'll test the magnesium levels of your red blood cells..."

If your first magnesium test concludes you're deficient, you'll also have to test yourself again in the future. Don't worry if your magnesium levels are not immediately improving.

Getting your magnesium levels up-par can take between 3 and 12 months.

During that time, you'll need to keep supplementing with magnesium. You therefore don't have to lab test yourself every few weeks, to see whether your magnesium deficiency is progressing.

Moreover, you should not exclusively rely on magnesium lab testing.

It's essential to always keep watching your magnesium deficiency symptoms as well.

That step is absolute key...

If you're still experiencing muscle twitches or cramps, anxiety, or cold hands and feet on a regular basis, these are indications that your magnesium deficiency symptoms have not disappeared. 

Always consider the list of magnesium deficiency symptoms that I laid out in section two. If you still experience many of these symptoms, you won't even need magnesium testing: you can simply conclude that you're magnesium deficient all by yourself.

So, let's say that you do have magnesium deficiency symptoms? What should you then do?

Start eating more magnesium-rich foods? The next section will tell you why just eating more magnesium-rich foods will not necessarily reverse your magnesium deficiency. 

7. Why Magnesium In Food Will Not Save You

Let's now look at the relationship between magnesium and your diet. 

There are many foods that are high in magnesium--but that are still not great to consume in large quantities.

Why?

Many foods which are high in magnesium contain "antinutrients". Antinutrients are found in many plant foods, and are protective mechanisms that prevent them from being eaten. 

If you do not process these foods in any way, and eat them raw, their antinutrients prevent your body's absorption of minerals within these plants.

What foods contain antinutrients?[236-242; 436; 438]

  • grains
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • beans
  • lentils
  • vegetables
  • unripe fruits
  • soy
  • corn
  • seaweed

What foods do contain no or very few antinutrients?

  • all types of land-based animal products, such as meats, bone, cartilage
  • ripe fruits
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • eggs

Some foods are pretty high in magnesium, such as beans, unrefined (whole) grains, and leafy vegetables. But because these foods contain antinutrients, the net magnesium that you get out of these foods is much lower.

If you don't prepare these foods well, the next magnesium content you get from them is very low. Foods that have lower magnesium contents, but no antinutrients - such as meat or shellfish - can therefore give you more net magnesium to absorb.

Some refined foods such as white bread, moreover, might not contain many antinutrients. But those same refined foods do not contain much magnesium either. Foods that are heavily refined are thus absorbed well by your body, but contain few nutrients.

If your diet contains just refined grains, oils, and sugar, you'll end up with a very low magnesium consumption through your diet. Surprise, surprise: low magnesium levels is precisely what most people in developed countries experience - due to our diets that are based on these foods.

Let's look at a list of the hundred best magnesium-rich foods below. Foods that contain few if any antinturients are listed bold.

All magnesium levels in foods are listed based on 100 gram (3.3 ounces) servings:.[439]

Containing between 500mg and 750mg of magnesium:

Rice bran, agar seaweed, dried coriander, dried chives, wheat bran, dried spearmint, pumpkin seeds, cacao powder, watermelon seeds.

Containing between 400 and 500mg of magnesium:

Dried dill, celery seed, dried sage, dried basil.

Containing between 300 and 400mg of magnesium:

Flaxseed, fennel seed, mothbean seeds, savory spice, dried brazil nuts, dried parsley, sunflower seed, cumin, sesame seed, dried tarragon, dried marjoram, cowpea legume seeds, almond butter.

Containing between 200 and 300mg of magnesium:

Hyacinth bean seeds, cashew nuts, dried oregano, cloves, saffron, buckwheat flour, amaranth grain, rye flour, molasses, conch mullock, oat bran, raw lima beans, dried rosemary, dried thyme, agave, walnuts.

Containing between 150 and 200mg of magnesium:

Quinoa, spirulina, tumeric, fenugreek, sweet pepper, paprika, ginger, nutmeg, wild rice, navy beans, hazelnuts, kidney beans, horseradish, irish moss. 

Containing between 100 and 150mg of magnesium:

Brown rice, whole wheat flour, dried cod, shiitake mushrooms, peca nuts, macademia nuts, corn, chinook salmon, raw lentils, raw kelp, bay leaf, natto, chestnuts, halibut, wakame.

Containing between 75 and 100mg of magnesium:

Whole wheat bread, mackerel, oysters, white pepper, raw kale, cooked spinach.

Containing between 50 and 75mg of magnesium:

Anchovy, raw agar seaweed, tuna, potatoes, arctichokes, cuttlefish, octopus, scallop, and kale.

There you go. The 100 magnesium-richest foods.

I've excluded several foods from this list. Excluded foods were never consumed in large quantities by human beings before the agricultural revolution, such as soy, vegetable oils, corn, and processed grains, or peanuts. Very rare plants have also been excluded (e.g. sisbryum or pine nuts).

Duplicate foods have been excluded as well (e.g. I've included just of of the following: sesame flour, sesame seed; sesame butter). 

Now, what can you conclude from that list above?

The only foods with highly-absorbable magnesium levels stem from seafood. Land-based animal foods are entirely missing from the list of top-100 list of high-magnesium foods. So let's therefore look at land-based foods:

100 grams of eggs (two wholes) contain about 10mg of magnesium. 100g of ground beef: 17mg. 100g of chicken breast? 7mg. 100ml of whole milk? 10mg. 100g of cooked potato? 30mg.

But potatoes contain some antinutrients. It's sweet potato counterpart contains 27mg. Even organ meats from land-based animals range between 5-20mg per 100g product.

Land-based products, except high amounts of well-prepared vegetables, will not get adequate amounts of magnesium into your body.

Moreover, all the plant foods that contain antinutrients - which are not listed as bold above - cannot function as optimal magnesium sources either.

For example, if you would consume pumpkins seeds or rice bran for its magnesium content, you would have to soak and spout both foods overnight in order to absorb all their minerals. Untreated grains or seeds are absorbed very poorly by your body.

Moreover, I do not recommending consuming large quantities of plants to get your daily magnesium requirements. Many grains, nuts, and seeds contain high amounts of what are called "polyunsaturated fatty acids".

The polyunsaturated fatty acids in grains, nuts, and seeds are not optimal for your health. Consuming large quantities of these foods should therefore be off-limits for any health-conscious person. 

Now, let's consider another point.

Do you remember I talked about the calcium to magnesium ratio in modern diets falling between 3:1 to 15:1? That ratio is a big problem.

Seafood has a great calcium to magnesium ratio.

The same is true for animal-based proteins. The ratio of these foods often falls between 1:2 or 1:3. These foods can thus help move your calcium to magnesium balance closer to 1:1, which many traditional cultures use.

The issue of the calcium to magnesium ratio of specific foods too complex to treat in this blog post. I would need to know all the specific foods you're eating in a day to critically analyse your calcium to magnesium ratio.

My suggestion then, is that you calculate the calcium to magnesium ratio of your own diet. Next, optimize that calcium to magnesium ratio.

There's no cookie cutter strategy that I can give you as a solution there.



(Nerd section: many compounds in plant foods can block the absorption of minerals such as magnesium. Examples are oxalates, phytic acid, and fiber. All previous compounds can all act as antinutrients. If you prepare these plant foods, cooking, soaking, sprouting, or fermenting, these antinutrients are (partially) de-activated. However, it takes careful planning to prepare these foods properly.



Just minding your diet will not save you...

Let me give an example to demonstrate how difficult it is to get your magnesium needs met through your diet.

Consider the example of Jen, who's a 35 year old lawyer with a stressful job. Jen likes to exercise three times a week, and drink some alcohol on the weekends.

The US government recommends that Jen take in about 320mg of magnesium per day. I consider that 320mg dosage way too low, and think she should at least consume double that amount: 640mg.

If she's magnesium deficient, she'll need even more than 640mg. But let's assume for now that Jen is not magnesium deficient. 640mg of magnesium will thus be sufficient.

We'll look at different scenarios of highly-absorbable magnesium-rich foods that Jen would need to include in her diet to get to her daily 640mg magnesium dosage.

These are four different daily eating schedules to get to 640mg of magnesium:

  • 30 oysters, 4 cups of spinach, and 20 eggs (670mg net magnesium consumed).
  • 2 liters of full-fat milk, 2 pounds of potatoes, and 4,4 pounds of chicken (580mg net magnesium consumed)
  • 1,25 pound of sockeye salmon (700mg net magnesium consumed)
  • A whopping 8,8 pounds of ground beef (680mg net magnesium consumed)

Of course, you can claim that Jen consumes some magnesium through other foods that are not rich in magnesium as well.

The point of showing you these daily eating schedules, however, is to demonstrate that even when relying exclusively on magnesium-rich foods, you already need to stuff yourself to achieve your daily magnesium target. If she consumed food that are not high in magnesium, Jen would have to eat even more food to get her daily needs met.

I hope I've convinced you that foods are not your best bet to increase your magnesium levels. 

So what's left?

Fortunately, you have several options.

You can of course regularly bathe in magnesium-rich waters, such as seawater:

That's what our ancestors did...

But you want a solution for our modern world? In that case, supplement with magnesium. In the next section, we'll look at how you can best meet your daily magnesium needs through supplementation, because not everyone has daily access to seawater.

8. The Best Magnesium Supplements, And How To Take Them.

Magnesium is the eight most common chemical element on this planet.[53; 54] In our bodies, magnesium is the fourth most abundant chemical element, and in your cells it's the second.[55] 

That abundance of magnesium on this planet should tell you something: there's more than enough magnesium to go around for the entire earth's population.

Magnesium supplements are thus a very inexpensive solution that costs pennies a day, while they can massively improve your health.

We'll therefore look at the best ways to use magnesium supplements.

What to look for? 

Remember that the most common side-effect when taking magnesium through the oral route is getting laxative effects.

Laxative effects should definitively be considered a side-effect, because many people stop taking more magnesium when they are forced to hit the toilet.

The problem with stopping magnesium supplementation prematurely is that you quit before you experience any of magnesium's benefits.

Now, there are actually three different reasons why magnesium can have laxative effects:

  1. You're taking a low-quality form of magnesium.
  2. You're ingesting too much magnesium at once.
  3. Your magnesium levels are already great.

With regards to the second reason - ingesting too much magnesium at once - you should make sure to slowly increase your magnesium dosage over the course of days or even weeks. 

Laxative effects due to dosages that are too high are thus not a valid reason to quit magnesium supplementation.

Only if the third reason is applicable to your situation, should magnesium's (possible) laxative effects prevent you from adding more magnesium to your body. If your body has sufficient magnesium, any excess will be excreted. 

If you've got optimal magnesium levels, and keep supplementing with more and more magnesium, the laxative effect is your body's natural reaction to an excess.

The first reason listed above, however, leads us to a specific issue with magnesium supplementation: supplement quality.

Not all magnesium supplements are created equal.

Some forms of magnesium are absorbed very poorly by your body, and cause "disaster pants". The problem is that these poorly absorbing forms are very commonly prescribed by physicians. 

If you thus consume a low-quality magnesium supplement, don't be surprised that you get diarrhea.

Fortunately, there are many magnesium forms are absorbed well by your body. I'm in a contrarian mood today, and I'll rank magnesium supplements in the opposite direction of "the good, bad, and ugly".

So I'll start with the "ugly":

  1. Magnesium oxide, of which some studies conclude that only 4% is absorbed by your body.[226; 230; 283; 285] Although magnesium oxide is one of the most commonly prescribed forms of magnesium, this form should be avoided at all cost.

    This is the magnesium form that's commonly prescribed by physicians. This form also causes quick laxative effects. Because of it's laxative effects, there's no reason to ever take this magnesium form.

  2. Magnesium aspartate absorbs well, but can have toxic side effects.[226; 282; 416] Steer clear from this form as well.

Why do I call the aforementioned magnesium supplements "ugly"?

Because the laxative effects of magnesium can lower your net magnesium stores.[366] In other words, if you take a cheap magnesium form, and end up on the toilet, you might have less magnesium inside of your cells than before you took the supplement.

Avoid the "ugly" magnesium forms..

Then there are "bad" forms of magnesium:

  1. Magnesium hydroxide, which is not absorbed that well either.[281] However, this magnesium form does not have direct side-effects, so it's listed under "bad".

  2. Magnesium lactate absorbs well, but should not be your first option.[226; 283] You have better options that are included in the "good" list below.

  3. Magnesium malate is often hypothesized to improve energy production.[411] Sadly enough, there is very little evidence for that claim. 

  4. Magnesium sulfate, which is often used in baths. Those baths are probably the best way to use this magnesium form.[400-402]

    The problem is that this form has not yet been studies when being used in baths. Taken orally, magnesium suflate is not optimal, causing diarrhea, just like the "ugly" magnesium forms. You can use a few pounds of this magnesium form in your bath though.

  5. Magnesium gluconate has very good absorption rates.[411; 412] Nothing terrible, but nothing great either.

  6. Magnesium citrate. In itself, this form is pretty good. It's absorbed well, and inexpensive.

    The problem with magnesium citrate is that it has a laxative effect. That laxative effect often occurs before you've even fully recovered your magnesium stores.

    I consider magnesium citrate the least bad form of magnesium.[228; 230 231; 284; 285] This magnesium form is inexpensive, and many people successfully use this magnesium form to supplement.

Fortunately, you can immediately forget the names of the "bad" and "ugly" magnesium forms listed above. No need to remember.

Let's jump straight to the magnesium-winners...

The good magnesium forms:

  1. Magnesium taurate is especially useful when you've got heart problems.[410] Why? Magnesium taurate includes "taurine", a substance that helps you deal with heart disease.[452]

    If you have heart disease, you can also buy taurine in bulk form, and supplement with a less expensive magnesium form listed below.

  2. Magnesium threonate is promising but has only been tested in animal studies so far.[404-407] The upside of this magnesium form is that it seems to penetrate deeper into the human brain compared to other magnesium forms.

    I use the word "seems" because this effect has not definitively been established in humans.

    Other forms of magnesium do penetrate into your brain as well. But with magnesium threonate, the amount of magnesium stored in your brain increases compared to other magnesium forms. 

    The downside of this magnesium form is that it's expensive, and that it would take a very high dosage to reverse a magnesium deficiency. 

  3. Magnesium orotate might help you out with recovery from physical performance. This magnesium form is also great for heart health.[413-415] The downside? Magnesium orotate is more expensive, especially at higher dosages.

  4. Magnesium glycinate is one of the most commonly used form of magnesium - and with good reason. Magnesium glycinate is both highly arbsorbed, inexpensive, and easy to use.[231] Highly recommended...
  5. Magnesium chloride.[226; 260; 261; 283; 284; 403; 408; 409] This is one of my personal favorite magnesium forms. Magnesium chloride can be absorbed through both your skin and digestive system. 

    Yes, contrary to some sources that claim that magnesium cannot absorb through the skin, the opposite is true.

    Why is that important?

    Well, you can buy an inexpensive package of 8 pounds of magnesium chloride bath flakes. When you mix these flakes with hot water, you create magnesium oil. Putting a few milliliters of this oil on your skin each day can increase your magnesium levels. 

    For optimal results, use the magnesium oil once a day, and rely on prevoiusly mentioned oral forms up to three times a day. Relying too much on magnesium chloride to get your magnesium levels up can create an imbalance in your body. Why?

    Because of the "chloride" component contained in magnesium chloride. If you're already getting lots of chloride through salt, you might ingest too high a quantity of this mineral.

In addition, you might try magnesium bicarbonate. Magnesium bicarbonate is a highly absorable magnesium form that has not been studied much in isolation, but it's follow magnesium compound "bicarbonate" has. 

Don't try other magnesium forms that are not listed here. Such other forms are often garbage.

The "good" list above is all you need...

What's important when supplementing with magnesium?

First, some people with kidney problems need to be very careful with supplementing with magnesium.

Let me again rephrase conditions in which side-effects can occur with magnesium, for if you have not been reading the entire blog post:

If you have kidney problems, you body might no longer be able to excrete excess magnesium.[133] Additionally, if you have a condition called "myasthenia gravis", a really low heart rate, or an obstruction of your bowels, you cannot supplement with magnesium.[267]

In all other cases, discuss supplementation of magnesium with your physician as well.

I'll make my recommendation as simple as possible for you. You can click on the images below to purchase these products.

First, magnesium oil, which is made from "magnesium chloride":

If you want an easy product to let magnesium absorb though your skin, take this form (click on the image):

You can also add some magnesium oil to your drinking water. 

If you're a cheapskate like me, and make your own magnesium oil, but these magnesium flakes (click on image):

Again, you can make your own magnesium oil by mixing these flakes with hot water. Use these glass bottles to hold and spray your magnesium oil (click on image):

How to use magnesium oil?

The magnesium oil should be applied to your skin and left to sit there at least 30 minutes.  I personally like the tights, hips, and abdomen as application sites - spreading the oil with my arms, so that my arms are applied with magnesium as well.

You can experience some tingling when you apply magnesium oil to your skin. This burning or tingling sensation will lessen over time. Don't apply magneium oil to skin that you've recently shaven. 

You can also take foot or regular baths with the magnesium flakes.

Then, there are oral magnesium supplements - which you can swallow - consiting of "magnesium glycinate".

First, there's magnesium glycinate powder (click on image):

        

If you dislike powder, you can use magnesium glycinate capsules (click on image):

  

Do keep in mind that capsules are a lot more expensive for the same amount of net ingested magnesium compared to other types of magnesium products.

I never opt for capsules, because they cost a lot more. Some people, however, might want to use capsules. An example would be if you need an easy way to use magnesium at your job.

Don't want to use magnesium supplements?

Then you can opt for using magnesium-rich mineral water (click on image):

             

Make sure you drink several liters of that stuff per day. The magnesium in mineral water is absorbed very well by your body.[447-449] 

Why do mineral waters work for getting magnesium into your body?

Remember the beginning sections of this blog post which described why modern human beings are so often deficient in magnesium. One of the reasons for magnesium deficiency is that magnesium is almost absent from modern drinking water. 

Our ancestors drank natural water that was not devoid of minerals. Mineral water - such as the one listed above - mimics that ancient drinking water which is full of minerals.

There it is: all you need to know about buying the highest-quality magnesium supplements.

All problems solved?

Maybe not...

Let's see how you should specifically use your magnesium supplements.

Taking magnesium might initially make you feel bad.[267]

Don't worry...

That bad feeling will subside.

Taking magnesium can create a detox reaction in your body. When you take magnesium for the first time, your body might also start demanding more magnesium. The initial magnesium you ingested is immediately consumed by your body - leaving your body screaming for more. 

It's also possible that you're taking too much magnesium too soon.

If you're on medication, it might also be dangerous to start supplementing with high magnesium dosages. For example, your blood pressure might become too low.

Under certain circumstances you'll also need higher magnesium dosages.

Why?

Magnesium interacts with different vitamins and minerals in your body.

Vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus, for example, increase your magnesium requirements. Never take calcium supplements without first knowing your gross magnesium needs. Just increasing your calcium intake without increasing your vitamin K2 and magnesium intake can have disastrous consequences, for example.

Examples of such consequences are increases in heart attack and osteoporosis risks.[432-434]

Now high should your magnesium dosage be?

If you're really deficient, like I was, then taking a dosage of 10mg per kg of bodyweight might not be enough. 

15-20mg per kg of bodyweight might be closes to the dosage you need for short-term supplementation. Once your magnesium deficiency subsides, you can lower your dosage again.

Now, you cannot just take such as dosage out of nowhere. The following principle is very, very important:

Always, always slowly build your magnesium dosage up over time.

Start with supplementing 2mg per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Next week, add another mg per kilogram of bodyweight.

Observe how you react.

If you experience diarrhea, spread your dosage more over the day. Diarrhea is a sign that your system is getting overloaded with too much magnesium at once. Remember that if you experience diarrhea you'll lower your cell's magnesium levels.

If you react well to a higher magnesium intake for a week, you can increase the dosage again.

Keep track of your magnesium deficiency symptoms. If these symptoms are slowly going away, you're going in the right direction. If you keep having magnesium deficiency symptoms after a few months, increase your dosage, or take another magnesium lab test.

There it is.

We're at the end of the magnesium journey. You now know everything you need to know about magnesium...

Do you want an simple summary of my top 10 magnesium laws? Receive that 10 magnesium laws infographic below:

9. Conclusion: Almost Everyone Needs A Magnesium Supplement

You might be thinking:

"Why aren't the effects of magnesium more widely known?"

I've got an answer:

No company can get rich off promoting magnesium supplements. One year of magnesium oil supplementation - when applied efficiently through magnesium oil - will cost about $25 - $50.

Cannabis based-products and vitamin K2 fall somewhat in the same category as magnesium.

Cannabis-based products can be excellent for many ailments, such as cancer and chronic pain. Vitamin K2 is amazing for bone health, preventing heart disease, and keeping your hormonal health up-par. 

But both cannabis and vitamin K2 cannot be patented and are not a profitable model for health care. Their non-profitability means that these options are not promoted to their maximal extent. The same is true for magnesium.

And yet, magnesium is enormously important.

Most people are magnesium deficient.

Removing that deficiency will give you huge benefits in preventing all types of modern diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and so forth. Even if you're healthy, magnesium will reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your mental and physical well-being and performance, and your sleep.

Magnesium is a must-have in our modern stress-stricken society. Magnesium supplements are a no-brainer. Magnesium is essential.

And there's no reason why you cannot get your magnesium levels corrected...

For other articles, see:

Cannabis: CBD (Oil) And THC For Health? The Scientific Verdict (2018)

The Ultimate Blue Light Filtering Glasses Guide 

Beat Insomnia. Everything You Need To Know About Sleep Quality.

The Ultimate Bone Broth, Gelatin, and Collagen Protein Guide (2018)

How To Be Happy: Why Health Is Essential In The Pursuit Of Happiness



*Post can contain affiliate links. Read my affiliate, medical, and privacy disclosure for more information.

Author: Bart Wolbers. Bart finished degrees in Physical Therapy (B), Philosophy (BA and MA), Philosophy of Science and Technology (MSc - Cum Laude), and Clinical Health Science (MSc).



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