What is magnesium and why is it important?

Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps keep hundreds of body processes humming along. It helps us with everything from regulating blood pressure to easing up tense muscles and nerves. You must have magnesium for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax.

Food sources of magnesium

The mineral is present in foods such as leafy greens, avocado, and dark chocolate. Magnesium is a macromineral, meaning we need much more than trace amounts to keep our bodies running smoothly. But unfortunately, many of us have a low level of magnesium, problem that can worsen as we get older. Getting enough magnesium through diet alone is challenging at any age. Soil depletion in farming has resulted in a steady decline of magnesium in the foods we eat. Anfood processing results in a loss of the mineral as well. To get the 350 mg of magnesium per day that is the daily recommended dose for adults by EFSA, you might want to consider adding a magnesium supplement to your diet.

Why should I consider magnesium citrate as a source of magnesium supplementation?

When it comes to magnesium supplements, bioavailability is important. Every time you take a supplement, some of it gets lost in the body before it gets a chance to do its job. The percentage of supplement that actually makes it into the bloodstream after processing is known as its bioavailability. The higher a supplement’s bioavailability, the more effectively it can deliver the intended health benefits.

On its own, magnesium has very low bioavailability. To be turned into a supplement, the mineral is paired with another organic compound that makes it easier for the body to absorb. The resulting combination is either organic, in this case meaning it dissolves well in liquid, or inorganic, meaning it doesn’t. Organic forms of magnesium tend to be more easily absorbed and therefore more bioavailable, with magnesium citrate widely considered the most bioavailable forms of magnesium. For this reason, it is a great option if you are looking to reap the benefits of magnesium supplementation.

Inorganic and less absorbable magnesium combinations, such as magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium oxide, tend to come with certain side effects. They tend to form these clusters of water that basically hurries things along in the gut. Yep, loose stools, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping can occur when you take certain kinds of magnesium or when you consume the mineral in high doses. 

Without sufficient magnesium levels, you’re bound to notice an effect, whether it’s mood disturbances, joint pain or stiffness, and even trouble sleeping. By ensuring you’re eating a diet rich in magnesium and incorporating a quality magnesium supplement into your routine (like this one), you can help mitigate some of those undesirable symptoms.