What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is one of the ‘macrominerals’ – the group of seven main minerals our body needs to function properly. It is one of the most abundant minerals in the body’s cells (second only to potassium). Approximately 60% of the magnesium in our body is stored in bone – the remainder is in muscle, soft tissue and the body fluids. Magnesium is found in many ‘whole’ foods, including seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame), nuts (almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts), leafy green vegetables, rice bran and oat bran, buckwheat, fish and seafood, seaweeds such as kelp, dried fruits such as figs, apricots and prunes, wholegrains and cocoa. However, levels are often lower than they should be in some foods, due to intensive farming and depletion of minerals in the soil.
What does Magnesium do in the body?
Magnesium has many functions in the body. These include:
When taking a calcium supplement – especially for bone health – we would always advise taking magnesium alongside this, to support the absorption and use of calcium, and to ensure there is a good ratio of calcium to magnesium in the body. See the separate Bone Health category and Calcium category for more details.
How can I take Magnesium supplements?
Cheaper forms of magnesium that may be found in supplements include magnesium oxide and magnesium chloride, however these are relatively poorly absorbed. More absorbable forms of magnesium include magnesium citrate, magnesium malate, magnesium fumarate, magnesium glycinate and ‘food form’ magnesium. Magnesium citrate, although relatively well absorbed, can cause loose stools in some people. A gentler form that shouldn’t have this effect (or for people who have a sensitive digestive system) is magnesium glycinate. Magnesium is generally found in capsule or tablet form, but can also be found in powder or (rarely) liquid form.