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About magnesium

Minerals | August 2, 2016 | Author: Naturopath

About magnesium

Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the human body, found in nature and in many foods. It is responsible for at least 300 enzymatic functions that control various biochemical reactions in the body.

Some of these processes include:

  • Protein synthesis (regeneration and repair)
  • Muscle and nerve functions
  • Energy production 
  • Glucose metabolism (blood sugar control)
  • Anti- arrhythmic effects (helps regulate normal heart rhythm)
  • Actions blood vessel tone (blood pressure regulation)
  • Bone structure development
  • Calcium absorption 
  • DNA & RNA synthesis (building block of the body)

Ever get confused when looking supplements and wondered what the different words mean - magnesium aspartate, oxide, sulfate, diglycinate, chloride, lactate, carbonate?

Isn’t Magnesium just magnesium?

shutterstock_110888123Or wondered why when you took magnesium you got an upset tummy or diarrhea- so you decided you just couldn’t take magnesium.

So why didn’t your friend have the same reaction?

Others discovered their heartburn improved, leg cramps got better, the twitch in their eye disappeared, premenstrual syndrome and menopause symptoms and sleeping improved, stress and depression seemed not so bad.

It is because different forms of magnesium have different bio-availability - meaning different absorption into the body. When someone has constipation they will benefit from the forms that don’t absorb well - or have a low bio-availability. Other forms are needed to absorb well such as for heart rhythms and blood pressure.

Here is a description of the forms and their uses:

Magnesium Oxide - This form has one of the lowest bio- availability in the body amounting to only 4-5%5 but can be increased to 10% if taken as a effervescent tablets.6 Due to its low bio availability, this form of magnesium is often used as a laxative or a filler in some supplements due to its low molecular weight. Its low bio-availability also may induce diarrhea as it has the greatest percentage of oral supplementation to be excreted.

Magnesium Dihydroxide - This form is also known as Milk of Magnesia and commonly used as a laxative.

Magnesium Citrate - This is one of the most popular forms of magnesium due to its high solubility in water and potential use in liquid form. It also appears to have much higher bio-availability amounting to roughly 30% depending on purity and concentration. Magnesium Tartrate and Magnesium Malate also share the same properties though not as common in supplement form.

Magnesium Aspartate - This is magnesium bound to amino acids (a protein), and is shown to have a better bio-availability than Citrate and Oxide forms.

Magnesium DiGlycinate -  This form of magnesium has been suggested as the safest option when correcting a long-term deficiency. It’s also known to be absorbed differently in the gut compared to other forms.

Magnesium Orotate - shutterstock_269306150also known as Orotic acid, this form of magnesium is capable of penetrating cell membranes, carrying magnesium into the cells. It has also been credited for exhibiting both cardiovascular and neuronal protection.13 Current studies have yet to reveal an estimate of bio-availability.

Magnesium L-Threonate -This form of magnesium is found to increase the magnesium levels in the brain and support learning.

Magnesium Chloride -  Despite only having around 12% magnesium, this form is credited to have one of the best absorption rates compared to other inorganic magnesium salts. it is commonly used in supplements and is known to aid kidney function along with potassium.17 This one is also used in topical products.

Magnesium Lactate - This form is often used to treat digestive issues such as heartburn, indigestion, or stomach upset.

Magnesium Carbonate - This form of magnesium is known to possess 30% bio-availability. It acts as a laxative when taken in high amounts. One of its primary uses is in sports as a drying agent or gym chalk.

Athletes will often benefit from magnesium supplementation since intense training depletes magnesium stores, replenishing the body's magnesium stores can protect it from inflammation and greatly speeds up muscle recovery and supports ATP metabolism - Adenosine triphosphate better known as ATP is a cell's main source of energy.

Having adequate levels of magnesium can help prevent formation of gallstones and kidney stones, migraines, constipation, hypertension, heart attacks, insomnia, and osteoporosis.

How much magnesium do you need?

While the requirements vary from person to person the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council recommends the following daily requirements:

  • Infants 0-6 months Upper limit 30 mg
  • 7-12 months upper limit 75 mg
  • Children  1-3 yr 80 mg
  • 4-8 yr 130 mg
  • Adolescents 240mg           
  • Men 400mg - 420mg
  • Women 310mg - 320mg 
  • Pregnancey 350 - 400 mg

Common causes of magnesium deficiency?

Poor diet, diabetes and other illnesses, chronic diarrhoea or bowel disease, kidney failure, medications (for example, fluid tablets and medicines for ulcers or reflux) can cause low levels if taken for long periods

Despite the abundance of magnesium in everyday food, there are still those who are unable to consume these foods or have medical conditions that make dietary intake impractical or inefficient. This is where magnesium supplements come in.

Too much magnesium can cause:

  • diarrhea
  • upset stomach
  • bloating
  • dypepsia.

It is important to check with your doctor if your body is able to tolerate magnesium supplementation or if dietary sources are insufficient for your daily needs.

www.superpharmacy.com.au  Australia’s best online discount chemist


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Mirica SN, Duicu OM, Trancota SL, Fira-mladinescu O, Angoulvant D, Muntean DM. Magnesium orotate elicits acute cardioprotection at reperfusion in isolated and in vivo rat hearts. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013;91(2):108-15.

Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, et al. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010;65(2):165-77.

Abumaria N, Yin B, Zhang L, et al. Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. J Neurosci. 2011;31(42):14871-81

Spasov AA, Petrov VI, Iezhitsa IN, Kravchenko MS, Kharitonova MV, Ozerov AA. [Comparative study of magnesium salts bioavailability in rats fed a magnesium-deficient diet]. Vestn Akad Med Nauk SSSR. 2010;(2):29-37.

Jaipakdee S, Prasongwatana V, Premgamone A, Reungjui S, Tosukhowong P, Tungsanga K, et al. The effects of potassium and magnesium supplementations on urinary risk factors of renal stone patients. J Med Assoc Thai. 2004;87:255–263.

Mag-Tab SR (magnesium lactate) Drug Side Effects, Interactions, and Medication Information on eMedicineHealth. (n.d.). Retrieved June 23, 2016, from http://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-magnesium_lactate/article_em.htm

Hypermagnesemia. (2016, June 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:00, June 23, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hypermagnesemia&oldid=723371872 https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/magnesium Australia's food and nutrition 2012 (AIHW). (n.d.). Retrieved June 24, 2016, from http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737422319 Nutrient Reference Values. (n.d.). Retrieved June 24, 2016, from https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/magnesium

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