I’ve already written on magnesium before, but I get so many questions on magnesium, I thought I’d write a bit more on it.
Magnesium is helpful for so many conditions such as inflammation, PANDA’s/PANS, immune system or seizure disorders, neurotransmitter imbalances, stress, migraines, vitamin D deficiency, blood sugar imbalances, gut health, mood swings, urinary issues and heart health.
Other symptoms with magnesium deficiency
- Lack of magnesium can affect the nervous system, which can result in increased urination, appetite issues, sleep issues, depression or anxiety.
- Magnesium supports adrenal health and regulates cortisol (the stress hormone). A magnesium deficiency allows high levels of cortisol to remain in the body. If cortisol levels stay elevated your blood sugar will rise.
- Magnesium deficiency can increase an allergic response, magnesium is also an anti-inflammatory and can be helpful to reduce histamine levels.
- Foul body odor and excessive perspiration from the slightest exertion is a sign of magnesium deficiency.
- Magnesium helps control blood glucose levels in the body by regulating insulin secretion from the pancreas.
- A magnesium deficiency can result in a lack of vitamin B1 as it is unable to work without magnesium. B1 (thiamine) helps to release energy from foods, promotes normal appetite and is important in maintaining proper nervous system function.
- Long term magnesium loss/deficiency can result in increased aluminium in the cell replacing magnesium.
- Results have suggested that magnesium is nearly as effective as calcium in reducing oxalates from the body.
- Magnesium is important for a healthy heartbeat because it’s involved in transporting other minerals, such calcium and potassium, into cells. These minerals are important for nerve signals and the muscle contractions of a normal heartbeat.
- Magnesium deficits have been linked with other heart issues and conditions including: high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, cholesterol-clogged coronary arteries, painful spasms of coronary arteries, sudden cardiac arrest, diabetes, osteoporosis, and more.
Stress, exercising too much, alcohol, coffee, processed sugar, and certain medications cause magnesium wasting and deficiency.
What you need to absorb magnesium:
Magnesium requires vitamin B6 (ideally active form p-5-p) to get inside the cells. Some people struggle with B6, so focusing on trying to increase magnesium up a bit more before giving b6 can help. Sufficient stomach acid, vitamin B1 and bicarbonate are also needed.
The type of magnesium really does matter.
- One of the best ways magnesium is absorbed in the body is transdermally (through the skin). I like magnesium chloride for the bath or footbath. Magnesium chloride based oils or creams that you can rub on the skin can make skin itchy.
- Magnesium malate is good for fatigue or muscle pain. Low vitamin B3 can cause reactivity to malate. I also don’t suggest this form if malate levels are high (seen on an OAT). Magnesium malate is highly absorbable with great bioavailability and helpful to remove aluminum out of the body.
- Magnesium citrate is a common form, but isn’t absorbed well in the body. Can be used for extreme constipation, although isn’t my usual go to supplement. Some citrate today is sourced from corn or can be produced from Aspergillus type fungi. This form can cause digestive upset for many. Citrates are commonly thought to reduce oxalates, but many other types of magnesium will also reduce oxalates.
- Magnesium threonate is good for the brain, but doesn’t provide much for the body.
- Magnesium glycinate – helps to keep your mind and body calm if tolerated. This form isn’t always tolerated though. Glycine functions differently according to your glutamate and GABA levels. If GABA level is higher, it pairs with that and helps you feel calm. For some however, glycinate can be converted into glutamate instead of GABA resulting in agitation, jitteriness, sleep issues, etc. For some glycinates can be converted to oxalates if vitamin B6 is low. When glycine goes too high it can cause psychosis type symptoms and even hallucinations.
- Magnesium taurate can be help calm as taurate stabilises cell membranes and calms the nervous system. It’s also good for the heart (it does contain sulfur, many with sulfur issues can still tolerate some though).
- Magnesium oxide has a very low absorption rate. Can ‘sometimes’ be helpful for constipation.
- Sometimes a mixed supplement of some of the above forms works well.
- Epsom salts (Magnesium sulphate) for baths (or lotions) are high in sulphur aren’t always tolerated if you have an issue with sulphur.
How much magnesium?
I never guess and use hair mineral tests to be guided on the amount. Just to mention, during increased stress, a Pandas/Pans flare or virus etc. it is rapidly depleted. It may be necessary to increase magnesium during these times by double.
My biggest piece of advice!
As amazing as magnesium is, flooding the body with too much magnesium on a long term basis can create new problems such as lowering adrenal function and anxiety. It’s important to balance magnesium with minerals such as calcium, sodium and potassium. Testing is important to find out your individual levels, so then you know what YOU need.