The one supplement you need
Here’s all the info you need on my favorite mineral: magnesium! It’s definitely the one supplement that has made the biggest difference for me.
Magnesium is so essential for our health and well-being, but sadly our lifestyles deplete this nutrient. Stress, alcohol, little sleep and more increase our need for magnesium and most of us don’t get enough.
Grab some tips n’ tricks on how to increase magnesium right in this post.
What is magnesium and why do I need it?
Magnesium is a mineral in the body that is used for over 300 biochemical reactions. Magnesium improves your sleep, relaxation of your mind and body, energy, and overall well-being.
How much magnesium do I need?
The RDA (Recommended daily amount) for women is around 310-360mg per day. For many women that can be too little, because magnesium can easily get depleted by:
This can easily lead to insufficient amounts of magnesium which can result in:
Ideally, you want to get the optimal amount of magnesium for you and your lifestyle, which, for active-driven women, will likely be higher than the RDA. Having optimal magnesium leads to more energy, vitality, and health, and reduced risk of symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
How can you check your magnesium levels?
There are three types of tests to check your magnesium levels:
- A serum magnesium test, isn’t very accurate, because only 1% of magnesium is in your serum.
- A red blood cell magnesium test is preferred and more reliable.
- A 24-Hour urine magnesium test is also a good option.
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Which foods have high amounts of magnesium?
Ideally, we get all the magnesium that we need from food sources, but soil degradation and our modern diet often don’t provide enough magnesium.
Foods that are high in magnesium are:
- Dark leafy greens
- Whole grains
- Seaweed & Seafood
- Cocoa powder & chocolate
You can increase the absorption of magnesium by soaking, sprouting, and fermenting most of these foods. Processed foods have reduced amounts of magnesium, so try to reduce your intake of those foods.
Since many of us don’t get enough magnesium from our diet and have lifestyles that deplete magnesium, supplementation is helpful. There are many different types of magnesium that can be taken orally or transdermally.
The most absorbable forms include magnesium:
- Glycinate, has a calming effect and helps with anxiety and sleep
- Citrate, has a gentle laxative effect
- Taurate, improves circulation in the body
- Malate, enhances energy production, reduces muscle fatigue and promotes calmness, without making you sleepy
- Aspartate, gluconate, and lactate are further good sources
Some forms that are absorbed poorly can have strong laxative effects including magnesium carbonate, oxide, chloride, and sulfate/sulfide. Supplements with time release are not recommended.
Personally, I like going with magnesium glycinate, but you can experiment and find out what might work best for you.
Before starting supplementation, check with your doctor if you take antibiotics, high blood pressure medication, muscle relaxers, or diuretics.
Explore the right amount for you
Start with small doses of magnesium of around 100mg per day. Try this dose for 3 to 7 days and see how you feel.
If you don’t feel energized and balanced, increase your dose by adding another 100mg in the next week, e.g. in the morning and evening. Recognize how you feel and continue with this until you find the optimal dose, stopping at 400mg at once and 800mg total per day.
Magnesium – Health Professional Fact Sheet (nih.gov)
Magnesium: Meet the Most Powerful Relaxation Mineral Available – Dr. Mark Hyman (drhyman.com)
Magnesium and stress – Magnesium in the Central Nervous System – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, manage, or treat disease or serious conditions. Always check with your doctor before making any changes. It’s important to consult a well-informed health practitioner for personal advice about your situation before relying on general information — we’re all wonderfully unique.
Laurie Villarreal, FNLP, CHWC, FNS, LMC, CPT, RYT
Hi, I'm Laurie, a functional nutritionist and board certified health coach, athlete, dog-mom, and biohacking adventure-lover. After having struggled for years to find lasting solutions for my own debilitating hormone-related symptoms, I created my online practice to begin helping other active, driven women get the support they need. I now help women around the world elevate their health, energy, business and life by optimizing their hormones with personalized nutrition and lifestyle tweaks. Together, we discover new tools and strategies that keep you showing up at your best so you can play even bigger in your life and work.