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  • Writer's pictureKayla Sturm, PharmD

The Most Underrated Supplement That You Should Be Taking

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Up to 75% of North Americans are missing the recommended daily allowance of magnesium in their diets. Poor magnesium! Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. If you are deficient in magnesium, you are twice as likely to suffer from a cardiovascular event (example: heart attack, stroke). This is my pharmacist plea for you to supplement your diet with magnesium.

Table 1. Recommended Dietary Allowance for Magnesium in Adults. (Source: Medline Plus)

Adult Males

400 to 420 milligrams

Adult Females

310 to 320 milligrams


350 to 400 milligrams

Breastfeeding Women

310 to 360 milligrams

What does magnesium do?

As stated above, magnesium is important to over 300 biochemical processes in our bodies. It helps with inducing sleep, necessary for steroid hormone production, maintains normal heart rhythm, and assists with nerve function, just to name a few functions.

How can magnesium get depleted?

Magnesium depletions can happen for variety of reasons or in combination. When our food is processed, naturally occurring magnesium may be lost in the process. Alcoholism, artificial fertilizers, caffeine consumption, excess sugar intake, and a low magnesium diet may all be other reasons for a magnesium deficiency.

Common medications may also deplete magnesium. Examples include certain antibiotics, cholestyramine, corticosteroids, digoxin, diuretics, oral estrogens, and oral contraceptives containing estrogen. (Caution: Do not stop any medications without speaking to your doctor or pharmacist first). However, to counteract a magnesium deficiency, you can easily supplement magnesium with a professional-grade product.

Types of magnesium

Not all magnesium products are the same. There are various forms of magnesium that impact the bioavailability (that is how much the body will absorb) in a given product. Below are the different types and where they fit into treating different conditions.

  • Magnesium oxide

    • Only about 4% is absorbed by the body

    • Used in milk of magnesia for example to improve digestion and prevent constipation

  • Magnesium chloride

    • Used for sleep, digestion, bone health

    • May cause diarrhea more frequently when compared than other magnesium products

  • Magnesium sulfate (aka epsom salts)

    • Used commonly as a foot soak or in baths for sore muscles

    • If taken by mouth, works as a laxative

  • Magnesium citrate

    • Over 90% is absorbed by the body

    • Used for constipation, sleep, support cardiovascular and bone health, and to help calm the mind and body

  • Magnesium glycinate

    • Supports bone health, but more importantly may help best to support relaxation and sleep because of the amino acid glycine which can cross the blood-brain barrier

  • Magnesium orotate

    • Supports the cardiovascular system and supports the repair of tissues in athletes and improves stamina and performance

  • Magnesium malate

    • Highly absorbed by the body. Preferred form of magnesium in patients with fibromyalgia to reduce pain and tenderness since malic acid (malate) is involved in the Krebs Cycle which makes energy for the body

  • Magnesium L-threonate

    • Crosses the blood-brain barrier and used to improve brain functioning

Magnesium Food Sources

  • Almonds: 1/4 cup = 105 mg (milligrams) of magnesium

  • Oatmeal: 1 cup of cooked oats = 57.6 mg

  • Spinach: 1 cup (uncooked) = 157 mg

  • Black Beans: 1/2 cup = 60 mg

  • Sesame Seeds: 1 ounce (roasted) = 101 mg

  • Sunflower Seeds: 1/4 cup = 128 mg

  • Banana: 1 banana = 32 mg

  • Avocado: 1 medium sized avocado = 58 mg

  • Cashews: 1/4 cup = 89 mg

  • Dark chocolate: 95 mg in one square

Things to consider before adding a magnesium supplement

Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have kidney disease or pregnant or lactating. If you are taking certain medications such as bisphosphates or certain antibiotics, consult your doctor or pharmacist first.

As always you can contact the team at Ally Pharmacy to consult with you on a vitamin/supplement plan that is designed just for you. Can't wait to hear from you!

LEGAL DISCLAIMERS: These products are not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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