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Magnesium is one of those minerals that many people fail to get enough of, but it’s super important for a healthy mind and body. It comes in many different forms and depending on what you want to use it for, some forms are better than others.
What is Magnesium and why is it important?
Magnesium is an important electrolyte in the body which is very important in allowing the cells of your body to function properly.
It also plays a critical role in energy metabolism, cell stability, protein synthesis, and acts as a cofactor for 300+ enzyme reactions in the body. It also helps control the osmotic balance in the body allowing water to go between cells and their environment.
Magnesium is especially important for the contraction of muscles, and this is one of the reasons one of the main symptoms of Magnesium deficiency can be involuntary muscle contractions and twitching.
The average adult human body contains approximately 25 grams of Magnesium, with about 60% present in bones, and the rest is soft tissues.
The amount you need can depend on various factors, but for most of the population, these magnesium intakes will prevent a deficiency.
Most adults males need around 420 mg per day and females need between 310-360 mg per day.
Which form of magnesium is most absorbable?
There are many different forms of magnesium, some of the most popular include magnesium oxide, chloride, and citrate. Below are a few types of magnesium that you’ll find in supplements and medicines.
1. Magnesium Oxide
Magnesium is one of the cheapest supplements you can buy, and you’ll usually find these in general stores, supermarkets. It has a very poor bioavailability (4%) and is most often used as a laxative for this reason.
I would not recommend you use this form when choosing a supplement to take. You would need to take high doses, and this would inevitably result in diarrhea.
2. Magnesium Citrate
Magnesium Citrate is cheap but has much better bioavailability than magnesium oxide supplements and therefore is better if you want good absorption. In a study published in 2003, researchers compared amino-acid chelate, citrate, and oxide supplements, and gave them to 46 healthy individuals.
The study showed that organic forms of Magnesium had a higher bioavailability, with magnesium citrate having the great increase in concentration when measuring urinary and saliva concentrations.
In another study, magnesium and magnesium were compared by having 51 patients take 300 mg and then measuring intracellular concentration in leukocytes. Once again, magnesium citrate resulted in much higher concentrations. 
3. Magnesium Orotate
One of the reasons some people use Magnesium orotate over other supplements is because orotate has an affinity for different tissues and cells in the body, and so there is better penetration of magnesium into the cells for rapid effect.
However, even though this is promoted by many supplement manufacturers, studies have shown that there is no significant advantage, and the cost of the supplement is much higher than magnesium oxide and citrate.
That being said, there is some evidence that this form of magnesium may be beneficial for heart failure patients. 
4. Magnesium Chloride Oil
Magnesium chloride can be applied to the skin for people who have issues absorbing magnesium in their diet. Sometimes people use this form of magnesium to help with things like muscle soreness after exercise and to help with relaxation.
Choosing the magnesium supplement for your needs
When it comes to choosing a magnesium supplement, there are a few which are good enough for most people, and will at least prevent a deficiency.
But magnesium can also have other effects on the body, and this is where you can more easily identify which magnesium supplement is best for you.
Magnesium to prevent and treat a deficiency
If you believe that you’re deficient in magnesium, you might want to try magnesium citrate. It’s relatively cheap, can be mixed with drinks and has a high absorption rate compared to many other forms of magnesium. It’s the magnesium supplement that I take every day. I simply mix the powder into a glass of water.
Magnesium for constipation
Regular bowel movements are important for health. If you’re not going regularly, then toxins build up and this can increase inflammation of the bowel and even raise the risk of cancer and other complications. I’ve never personally, experienced constipation, but if you have, then you might want to try magnesium oxide
Magnesium for heart health
As already mentioned, magnesium orotate has some beneficial effects in helping improve symptoms of heart disease. Magnesium taurate is also another supplement you may consider.
Magnesium for the cognitive function
As we get older, memory worsens and we see a general decline in cognitive function. There is some evidence that a form of magnesium called L-threonate (MgT) may improve memory by elevating magnesium levels in the brain.
This form of magnesium is more permeable than others, so if you have any issue related to mental stress, anxiety, depression and a decline in cognitive function, then this could be the best supplement to consider taking.
Magnesium for muscle relaxation
If you have muscle pain and tense muscles, then the magnesium that you might want to opt for is magnesium chloride oil. Studies have shown that it is effective in providing relief in soothing sore muscles after exercise.
Which foods are highest in Magnesium?
When you eat foods that contain a lot of magnesium, you don’t absorb all of it. In fact, only around 30-40% is actually absorbed by the body. Below are a few foods you should eat!
- Almonds (80 mg per serving)
- Spinach (78 mg per serving)
- Cashews (74 mg per serving)
- Soymilk (61 mg per serving)
- Avocado (44 mg per serving)
- Oatmeal ( 36 mg per serving)
- Dark Chocolate (176 mg per 100 g)
- Pumpkin Seeds (262 mg per 100 g)
Check out a more extensive list of foods.
Magnesium is also present in many multivitamin supplements, so make sure you check before thinking about supplementing with magnesium.
What are the main signs of a magnesium deficiency?
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve personally experienced a magnesium deficiency many years ago, and the symptoms lasted until I started taking a magnesium supplement. It wasn’t that my diet was low in magnesium either, I was actually getting plenty from my diet. Somehow, I still ended up with a problem.
This is why even though you think you might be getting enough from your diet, it’s possible that you still could be deficient. Some of the signs and symptoms you might want to look out for include:
- Anxiety and depression (do you feel like you have too much adrenaline?)
- Feeling tired (low level of magnesium can cause a low potassium level and this may result in weakness and fatigue)
- High blood pressure
- Palpitations or skipped heartbeats
- Muscle twitching and cramps
A true magnesium deficiency is not very common, but many people can be low enough where their body and brain are not functioning optimally.
Magnesium deficiency is thought to affect less than 2% of the population. But research has shown that 70% of people do not get enough from their diet.
Supplementing magnesium is cheap and easy to do and there are a few forms which have good absorption.