Magnesium is the “relaxation” superstar in our bodies. It’s the wonder mineral that plays a crucial role in over 300 different chemical reactions in our body, working tirelessly to keep you and I feeling our best and functioning optimally.
This everyday wellness warrior comes in many forms, each with its own unique set of benefits and absorption capacity. From soothing our nervous system, relaxing our muscles, to its comforting potential during painful periods, magnesium is an absolute powerhouse!
Here’s a deeper look into the different forms of this multitasking mineral, plus my tips on how to make sure you’re getting enough in your daily diet.
Forms and functions of Magnesium in the body
Magnesium glycinate is considered the most easily absorbed form of magnesium due to its two components: magnesium and an organic amino acid called glycine. Glycine helps to increase the absorption rate of minerals like magnesium, making it a great choice for those with conditions that interfere with nutrient absorption. The citrate form of magnesium is also well absorbed, but tends to have a slightly laxative effect for some people.
When it comes to your nervous system, magnesium helps reduce stress and promote relaxation. It’s often used as a natural remedy for anxiety and insomnia because of its calming effects on the body. Magnesium can help maintain normal muscle function by helping muscles relax and contract properly.
This means it can be beneficial for those with muscle tension, cramps and spasms. Research suggests it is also worth considering for reducing period pain and discomfort. It can help to relax the uterus during menstruation and reduces levels of the hormones involved in pain and inflammation.
How to increase your intake
While magnesium is abundant in many different types of foods, due to our increasingly processed Western diet, many of us are not consuming enough dietary magnesium. Reduced soil magnesium levels have also resulted in significantly lowered levels of magnesium found in fresh fruits and vegetables.
The good news is – there are plenty of delicious ways to increase your daily magnesium intake! Eating a balanced diet is key, as most whole foods contain magnesium. Dark and leafy greens like spinach and kale, nuts, seeds and certain grains are all great sources of this mineral.
Focus on including foods such as avocados, oatmeal, figs, quinoa, raw cacao and pumpkin seeds in your daily meals to amp up your magnesium fix. Some fortified breakfast cereals also contain a good amount of this mineral.
If you don’t get enough naturally-occurring magnesium through food alone, supplementing with the right type of magnesium can be a great way to bridge the gap. It’s important to speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements, especially if you have any existing medical conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Including more magnesium-rich foods and/or supplementing with the right type of magnesium can help promote relaxation, reduce stress and balance hormones. With the help of this magnificent mineral, you can feel confident knowing that your body is functioning at its very best.
de Baaij JH, Hoenderop JG, Bindels RJ. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease. Physiol Rev. 2015 Jan;95(1):1-46. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00012.2014. PMID: 25540137.
Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015; 7(9):8199-8226. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7095388
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