This article was originally published in March 2016
Magnesium plays a role in regulating hundreds of varied processes in the body, including control of blood sugar and blood pressure, protein synthesis and muscle and nerve function. It’s also important for bone density.
A recent area of study for researchers has been to examine the role of magnesium in brain function, including recovery from traumatic brain injury and how it might relate to memory, anxiety and sleep.
You aren’t likely to experience obvious symptoms if you’re not getting enough magnesium, and in fact kidneys are generally able to retain any you’ve taken if your body is in need of it. However, several medical conditions and medications can make it difficult for your body to absorb magnesium or may change how your kidneys retain it. Type 2 diabetics, people over 70 and people with chronic gastrointestinal diseases are more likely to not get enough magnesium; diuretics, prescription antacids and high doses of zinc supplements can all cause difficulties with magnesium absorption.
As a general rule, foods with good amounts of dietary fiber also offer magnesium. Dry roasted almonds are an excellent source, as well as cashews and peanuts. Spinach tops the list of magnesium-heavy vegetables, offering 78mg per serving. Beans vary in what they provide, with soybeans and black beans offering nearly twice the magnesium per serving compared to kidney beans.
If you’re looking to add a magnesium-specific supplement to your day, three slightly different formulas offer a version for everyone.
Natural Vitality Calm Plus Calcium
Blending calcium and magnesium keeps these two minerals in balance, which is key for bone health. This powdered form makes a tangy, slightly carbonated drink in either Original (unflavored) or Raspberry Lemonade.
BlueBonnet Buffered Chelated
Magnesium Glycinate is less likely to cause digestive issues for those prone to them from mineral supplements; it’s in vegetarian capsule form.
Jarrow Formulas MagMind
Magnesium L-threonate is a relatively new form of magnesium, and is typically recommended for purposes relating to brain function. Studies are ongoing with this form of magnesium’s role in cognition.