Magnesium plays a vital role in hundreds of bodily functions. From disease prevention to healthy bones (and everything in between), getting enough magnesium is key to thinking and feeling your best. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about this crucial macronutrient.
Magnesium is a naturally occurring chemical element (11th most abundant in the human body) that plays a critical role in muscle function, bone strength, heart health, blood glucose control, and much more. In fact, magnesium has links to over 300 metabolic processes, making it somewhat of a wellness VIP.
Most of the magnesium we consume is stored in bones and soft tissue (around 25g), where it contributes to the functions outlined above and helps with the transportation of other active minerals, including calcium and potassium. Maintaining sufficient magnesium levels is essential for both physical and mental functioning, although most of us will get more than enough from a balanced diet.
However, there may be instances where it's challenging to maintain magnesium intake through diet alone. In these cases, supplements prove useful in keeping levels topped up. However, with several sources of magnesium to consider, it isn't easy knowing where to start.
If you're concerned about your magnesium intake, the easiest and simplest place to start is with natural food sources. Thankfully, a balanced diet should provide all the magnesium your body needs.
Magnesium-rich foods include:
• Fortified cereals
• Soy milk
• Brown rice
• Chicken breast
• Chia/pumpkin seeds
If you struggle to maintain a balanced diet or simply aren't a fan of the foods listed above, you can try magnesium supplements instead. We'll cover more on these shortly, but they provide a concentrated dose of magnesium that you take daily, typically in capsule form.
Given the sheer volume of bodily tasks magnesium has a hand in, it will come as no surprise that the mineral provides several significant benefits to well-being.
There are dozens of articles and research papers to choose from, but a 2018 editorial published in Open Heart does an excellent job of summarising the use of magnesium for heart health.
The editorial begins by outlining magnesium's fundamental mechanisms of action, including its modulation of mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells. In fact, the mineral's role in proper cell maintenance makes low magnesium levels a significant issue. Without normal cell function, the risk of "cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, dyslipidaemia and diabetes" increases dramatically.
Moreover, the review outlines that "the western diet is often low in magnesium", and cases of hypomagnesaemia (abnormally low magnesium levels in the blood) are often underdiagnosed. While they acknowledge that more research is needed to understand if increased magnesium intake can reverse the above conditions, the need for sufficient levels is evident.
When it comes to bone health, most of the focus is on calcium, a mineral that promotes healthy bones and teeth. However, magnesium may play an equally crucial role in managing conditions such as osteoporosis.
A 2013 paper from Spanish researchers outlines the need for "tight control of magnesium homeostasis". Moreover, they conclude that "optimising magnesium intake might represent an effective and low-cost preventive measure against osteoporosis". However, the study highlights that positive results are mainly seen in people with a magnesium deficiency, and the effectiveness in healthy individuals remains under investigation.
Mood disorders such as anxiety are complex conditions with a broad range of symptoms and no "one-size-fits-all" approach to treatment. However, a 2017 review may have identified a potential link between anxiety-related conditions and persistently low magnesium levels. Sadly, we use the word "may" because of the studies reviewed; many were poorly designed. That said, the evidence does highlight a possible mechanism of action.
The researchers found "sufficient potential mechanistic pathways via which magnesium could modulate affective states", adding "it is the quality of the available evidence rather than the absence of potential mechanisms". Understanding how magnesium could influence mood disorders gives future studies a much clearer focus.
Given the abundance of magnesium in various food sources, the body is well-versed in processing the mineral. And with many people getting enough magnesium from a balanced diet, there is little concern for potential side effects. If, however, you opt for magnesium supplements, then it's important to track your daily intake.
Some evidence suggests that doses exceeding 350mg (daily) may induce the following:
• Upset stomach/nausea
If you decide that magnesium supplements are the right fit for your lifestyle, start with a lower-than-needed dose and build your intake gradually. This will help your body grow accustomed to the influx of magnesium, and can limit the risk of potential side effects.
Fortunately, magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) is rare in individuals with a healthy lifestyle. However, there may be cases where lifestyle choices or underlying conditions make it hard for the body to process magnesium effectively. Under these circumstances, prolonged magnesium deficiency can manifest as the following:
• Muscle cramps
• Fluctuating mood
• Irregular heartbeat
Moreover, magnesium deficiency's early symptoms are remarkably similar to the side effects of too much magnesium, making accurate diagnosis important. If you're experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above, you should visit a doctor or physician for case-specific advice.
Daily recommendations for magnesium differ according to age and sex, so it's essential to tailor your intake. See the table below for guidelines from the National Institutes of Health:
• 14–18 years: Male (410mg) / Female (360mg)
• 19–30 years: Male (400mg) / Female (310mg)
• 31–50 years: Male (420mg) / Female (320mg)
• 51+ years: Male (420mg) / Female (320mg)
As we've outlined, most people will get sufficient magnesium from their diet. If this isn't the case, magnesium supplements are a simple, low-cost way to keep levels topped up. However, given the RDA for magnesium, and the increased risk of potential side effects at doses above 350mg, it's crucial to keep track of your daily supplement intake.
Magnesium supplements exist in many forms. While all types of magnesium will contribute to the bodily functions outlined earlier, some forms are more readily absorbed than others.
Generally speaking, the most commonly formulated types of magnesium are:
• Magnesium citrate
• Magnesium chloride
• Magnesium lactate
These types of magnesium are easily absorbed, generally well-tolerated, and widely available. Other magnesium formulas to be aware of include magnesium oxide, magnesium malate, and magnesium taurate.
Each type of magnesium has its use case, so if the general recommendations don't suit your lifestyle needs, it's best you discuss with your doctor or physician which supplement is the most suitable.
Whether you increase your magnesium intake through naturally rich foods or daily supplements, the mineral is well-tolerated, with mild side effects typically experienced only at high doses. For most people, a slight increase in magnesium could bolster dozens of biological processes, ensuring a balanced approach to well-being.
The key to getting the most out of magnesium is—of course—sticking to supplements that are tried and tested, with a verified list of ingredients. Provided you match the influence of magnesium with your personal wellness needs, there's little reason it can't become an essential part of your daily routine, either as a dedicated supplement or as part of more complex formulas.
If magnesium is the right choice for your lifestyle needs, visit the Cibdol store for a selection of high-quality supplements. Or, to learn how magnesium compares to other traditional vitamins and minerals, head over to our CBD Encyclopedia for everything you need to know.
 Office of dietary supplements - magnesium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/. Published 2022. Accessed May 30, 2022. [Source]
 DiNicolantonio JJ, Liu J, O'Keefe JH. Magnesium for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Open Heart. https://openheart.bmj.com/content/5/2/e000775. Published July 1, 2018. Accessed May 30, 2022. [Source]
 Gragossian A, Bashir K, Friede R. Hypomagnesemia - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf. Hypomagnesemia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK500003/. Published 2022. Accessed May 30, 2022. [Source]
 Castiglioni S, Cazzaniga A, Albisetti W, Maier JAM. Magnesium and osteoporosis: Current state of knowledge and future research directions. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775240/. Published July 31, 2013. Accessed June 6, 2022. [Source]
 Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety and stress-A systematic review. Nutrients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452159/. Published April 26, 2017. Accessed June 6, 2022. [Source]