THE ROLE OF MAGNESIUM
One of the most abundant minerals found in all cells throughout the body, magnesium plays a vital role in health. It is involved in over 600 enzymatic processes, including 80% of the body's functions. Magnesium is actively involved in the mitochondria’s creation of energy (ATP) from food, as well as protein synthesis, muscle contractions, and neuron functioning. It affects cellular signaling, calcium and potassium transport, and even DNA repair.
Magnesium also may function as a potent antioxidant, with studies showing depletion of magnesium increases oxidative stress and free radicals. Magnesium is even required for the creation of glutathione, often thought of as the body’s “master antioxidant.”
MAGNESIUM HEALTH EFFECTS
Magnesium is involved in myriad health conditions, including the following:
Magnesium is crucial for regulating blood pressure and the heart’s electrical conduction. Magnesium deficiencies have been found to correlate to stroke, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease. A systemic review of studies involving 300K+ participants, found increased magnesium levels correlated to reduced cardiovascular disease risk.
Magnesium is key for blood sugar regulation, with magnesium deficiencies linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. In a systemic review and metanalysis of 18 double-blind, randomized controlled trials, supplementing magnesium was found to improve blood glucose and insulin control in those with, and/or at high risk of, type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium is key for intramuscular energy generation and nerve contractions, and deficiencies have been linked to muscle cramps, pain, and fatigue.
Magnesium is a key mineral in our bones, and magnesium deficiencies have been indicated as a potential risk factor for osteoporosis. In the 8 year “Osteoarthritis Initiative” study, women with higher magnesium levels, experienced a 27% reduced risk for fractures.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in neuronal health and mental well being, with studies finding magnesium deficiencies correlate to irritability, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, tremors, psychotic behavior, as well as other related conditions. A study in 23 adults with low magnesium and diabetes, found that taking 450 mg of magnesium daily for 3 months improved symptoms of depression as effectively as an antidepressant. Magnesium deficiency has also notably been linked to dementia and cognitive decline.
It can be extremely difficult to maintain appropriate amounts of magnesium from our current diet (our historical source of magnesium), which is often woefully inadequate due in part to our environment’s magnesium-depleted soils. Pretty shockingly, in the past 100 years, magnesium soil levels have decreased an estimated 80-90%. Furthermore, this is based on data from 2000, so the deprivation may be even more severe. Pesticides like glyphosate have been shown to bind to magnesium and other minerals in the soil, further exacerbating the issue. Plant antinutrients in foods, such as lectins, oxalates, and phytates, as well as plant compounds like polyphenols, may also inhibit magnesium absorption.
The food highest in magnesium per weight is actually cocoa powder, which averages 414 mg per 100 grams. The is followed by cashews (~267 mg per 100 grams) and coffee (~201 mg per 100 grams). Other foods higher in magnesium include leafy green vegetables, other nuts and seeds, and unprocessed cereals. That said, there is no "major food source" of magnesium, so eating a variety of magnesium-rich foods can help with levels. Supplementation is likely needed for optimum levels, as discussed below.
An estimated two thirds of the US population fall short of meeting the recommended daily magnesium intakes: 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men. (Over half of the population may not even reach 50- 75% of recommended levels.) Those who exercise, face various health conditions, are pregnant, or are aging, likely require even higher levels.
Factors which decrease magnesium levels include:
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps, sleep issues, fatigue, constipation, and any of the diseases associated with low magnesium. (See Magnesium Health Effects.)
Magnesium can be absorbed in both the fasted and fed state. Unlike many other nutrients, magnesium uptake can occur along the entire GI tract, with an estimated 11% in the duodenum, 22% in the jejunum, 56% in the ileum, and 11% in the colon.
Because a lower PH state facilitates magnesium absorption, magnesium may be absorbed best with food, which can also slow transit and encourage engagement along the entire GI tract. High protein meals, as well as MCT fatty acids, have been shown to increase absorption. While simple sugars can also increase magnesium absorption, the connected insulin release is taxing on magnesium levels. High fiber content may decrease absorption.
While magnesium itself does not "break the fast," the breakdown of magnesium amino acid chelates may release amino acids.
MONITORING MAGNESIUM LEVELS
Approximately one third of our magnesium is found within our cells, while the other two thirds resides in our bones, which provide a reservoir for cellular deficiency, though the conversion proves difficult for the body. Since less than 1 percent of magnesium is found within the bloodstream – and even that is tightly regulated by the body’s kidneys, GI tract, and bones – monitoring magnesium blood levels may not reveal an underlying deficiency. While the data is mixed on their accuracy reflecting whole body magnesium, RBC magnesium levels are superior to simple serum magnesium levels. (I love InsideTracker for this! You can get 20% off at inside tracker.com/melanie with the code Melanie20.) Other methods like urine and fecal magnesium tests can vary wildly. While isotope testing may be credible in theory, low-abundant stable magnesium isotopes are non-existent, meaning such isotope testing requires very large amounts of isotopes, which limits the availability for such testing and increases cost substantially.
Given the likelihood that a deficiency may not show up in tests, it has been proposed that magnesium deficiency may be best diagnosed by evaluating lifestyle risk factors (diuretic uses, medications, processed foods, soda intake, etc.) with symptoms of magnesium deficiency (sleep issues, leg cramps, fatigue, etc.), or for anyone with metabolic syndrome.
With all this in mind, it’s likely best to assure adequate magnesium daily intake via diet and smart supplementation.
AVALONX MAGNESIUM 8
I partnered with MD Logic Health, a USA-made professional health supplement brand manufactured in a GMP-certified facility, to create what I can honestly say is the BEST magnesium on the market: AvalonX Magnesium 8 (Broad Spectrum Complex). We created a special MCT formulation which eliminates unwanted additives and fillers, while also enhancing and maximizing absorption. This requires a small batch process, and ensures maximum purity and efficacy. AvalonX Magnesium 8 (Broad Spectrum Complex is free of all common allergens, including gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, nuts, eggs, shellfish, and rice. It is vegan and phthalate-free, packaged in dark amber glass bottles to help reduce the leaching of plastics into our bodies and environment.
AvalonX Magnesium 8 (Broad Spectrum Complex) (Use the code melanieavalon for 10% off!) features 8 forms of magnesium, to maximize the body’s benefits from this pivotal mineral. While the general benefits of magnesium discussed above may apply to all of these, the individual forms have different absorption rates, and studies have found specific benefits with many of them.
The 8 types of magnesium found in AvalonX Magnesium 8 include the following:
Magnesium Sucrosomial® Magnesium Oxide
Magnesium Sucrosomial® Magnesium Oxide is a patented type of magnesium encapsuled within a sucrosome structure, allowing the magnesium ions to cross the GI tract without interacting with the intestinal mucus, significantly increasing bioavailability in the bloodstream. Studies have found patients who supplement with this special form of magnesium, experience increased mental and physical health, as well as quality of life in those susceptible to bone fractures. In a 2018 comparison study, Sucrosomial® magnesium had the highest absorption of all magnesium tested.
Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate Buffered With Oxide
Magnesium glycinate is highly absorbable, with our chelated buffered form even more so! It has also been shown to be beneficial in patients with depression.
Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate
Chelating magnesium with amino acids enhances absorption, aiding the entrance of magnesium into the bloodstream and intracellular. Studies have found this form of amino acid may be protective of DNA, dramatically increasing RNA folding and preventing RNA degradation.
Magnesium orotate may specifically benefit GI health. Studies have found it can modulate the microbiome-gut-axis and affect neurotransmitter and inflammatory signals, increase motility, strengthen gut wall integrate, and affect DNA synthesis. It’s also been shown to provide cardioprotective benefits.
Magnesium gluconate has been shown to be readily absorbed without causing loose stools. Studies have found it may help with hypertension related to pregnancy.
Studies have found magnesium taurate may work as a powerful antioxidant, and provide antihypertensive and cardioprotective benefits.
Magnesium malate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium to support whole body levels.
Magnesium Citrate is a well absorbed form of magnesium, helping to both support body levels while also supporting GI motility.
AvalonX Magnesium 8 notably includes pyridoxal-5-phosphate, a methylated form of B6, which serves as a cofactor to aid absorption. In a 2018 randomized trial, both magnesium and magnesium with B6 similarly reduced stressed by around 40% over 2 months, in those with low magnesium levels. However, in those in severely stressed states with low magnesium, the magnesium B6 combination provided a 24% greater reduction in stress than magnesium alone.
AvalonX Magnesium 8 is also formulated with chelated manganese, since magnesium may otherwise displace manganese.