Importance of magnesium

Magnesium is an important nutrient for the human body, because it’s part of many important processes that help maintain health, especially in your brain, heart, and muscles.

Research published in Nutrition Reviews found magnesium deficiencies to be present in approximately 50 percent of people in the United States. The recommended magnesium dose varies depending on:

  • age
  • gender
  • physiological conditions, such as pregnancy and nursing

According to research published by the American Physiology Society, magnesium supplements have been shown to help with:

  • migraine
  • anxiety
  • chronic pain
  • heart disease
  • diabetes

One of the supplements often used for deficiency of this nutrient is magnesium glycinate, which is magnesium bound to glycine. This type of supplement has very good absorption levels. That means your body can make the most of it once it’s ingested.

The benefits of magnesium glycinate

Magnesium glycinate has been shown to have a variety of benefits, including the following:

  • It has a calming effect on your brain due to the presence of glycine.
  • It can help relieve anxiety and promote better sleep.
  • It helps keep bones strong by maintaining healthy bone density.
  • It helps control blood sugar in people with diabetes and may lower the risk of developing diabetes.
  • It decreases abnormal heart rhythms.
  • It reduces premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.

Given its gentle yet beneficial effect on the body, magnesium glycinate can be used to treat a variety of conditions. According to a study published in the Journal of Pain and Relief, these include:

  • chronic pain
  • overall muscle flexibility
  • quality of life in general

Certain conditions or risks improve with magnesium supplementation such as:

Magnesium deficiency

Most people in the United States consume less magnesium than they should. Dosages recommended by the American Physiological Society are 420 milligrams (mg) for men and 320 mg for women.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include:

  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • tingling and muscle cramps and contractions
  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • damage to nerve cells, which can lead to depression

Magnesium deficiency can cause other mineral deficiencies, as all minerals work together at keeping the body healthy.

How to use magnesium glycinate supplements

Magnesium glycinate is available in capsules containing 120 mg or 125 mg. The recommended dose is 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men per day, which means taking up to four capsules unless otherwise advised. If you take four capsules a day, take them two at a time twice a day with food, and together with a vitamin B complex supplement to improve absorption.

You may notice improvement in health conditions as early as a week after taking supplements. Depending on the severity of your deficiency or your particular medical condition, it might take as long as six months to see results.

Caution: Some drugs can cause your body to eliminate extra magnesium, which can lead to deficiencies. Talk to your doctor if you’re taking any medication. As well, your supplement might interfere with numerous medications.

Excess magnesium

In general, excessive levels of magnesium aren’t common in healthy people because the kidneys will eliminate the excess. If you want to track your magnesium intake while taking supplements, you can keep tabs on the magnesium content of various foods that you eat.

Some of the symptoms of excess magnesium include:

  • hypotension, or low blood pressure
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • facial flushing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • difficulty breathing

Natural sources of magnesium

Magnesium is found in large amounts in natural, unprocessed foods. The best sources of magnesium include foods that contain dietary fiber, such as:

  • dark green, leafy vegetables, such as Swiss chard and spinach
  • nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin and sesame seeds
  • seaweed
  • beans and lentils
  • whole, unrefined grains
  • fish, especially halibut

Try to have your daily meals include a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit. Keep in mind that only 30 to 40 percent of magnesium ingested from food sources is absorbed and used by your body.

Opt for foods grown in healthy soils that are local and organic, if possible. These soils contain the highest concentration of nutrients and minerals, including magnesium. Produce is often grown in soils that miss important nutrients. As a result, some fresh produce may lack minerals, including magnesium.

Risks of taking magnesium glycinate

Although magnesium supplementation is generally considered safe for healthy adults, be sure to take these precautions:

  • Consult with your doctor when you start taking magnesium glycinate for the most appropriate daily dose.
  • When choosing a supplement, always check the amount of elemental magnesium present. This information is usually present on the information label.
  • Buy supplements from a respected source. Vitamins and supplements aren’t monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • Consult with your doctor if you have any heart or kidney problems.
  • If you’re taking antibiotics or other medications, ask your doctor how they will interact with magnesium, and whether absorption of either the magnesium or the medications will be affected.

The bottom line

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps your body function properly, especially your muscular system, bones, and nervous system.

You can get a lot of your magnesium from your daily diet by including a variety of green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils, and seeds and nuts.

If you can’t get enough magnesium from diet alone, supplementation with magnesium glycinate is a gentle and efficient way of introducing additional magnesium into your body.