The reason magnesium could be at the root of all of these issues is because it is one of the most important minerals in the body. It is a catalyst for most chemical reactions. In the past it was suggested that magnesium is a cofactor for approximately 250-300 enzymes. It is now believed that number is closer to 700-800.
Unfortunately, the current population is generally deficient in magnesium. Due to years of pesticide use and pollution in urban areas, our soil is depleted of minerals and we no longer get an adequate intake of magnesium through our diet. No matter how great our consumption of formerly considered “magnesium rich foods” like: leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains, we will still be deficient. The food itself is deficient due to the depleted nature of the soil. In order for minerals to be present in the plant, they must be present in the soil. Food is also overly processed, which results in further loss of magnesium in the end product. Magnesium serves so many functions in the body that we really cannot afford to be deficient.
One of the most well known uses of Magnesium is to relieve muscle tension by acting as a natural muscle relaxant. Deficiency in magnesium can lead to issues like: muscle twitching or cramping, asthma, menstrual cramps, high blood pressure and even heart attacks to name a few.
Another very important function of magnesium is energy production. It is a cofactor for 7 of the 10 enzymes involved in the Krebs Cycle, which is the major source of ATP production in the body. ATP provides energy to every cell. It is no wonder fatigue is a symptom of magnesium deficiency. Bone health also requires adequate magnesium. In order to activate Vitamin D, which allows the intestines to properly absorb calcium, magnesium is required.
There are many different types of magnesium available. The plethora of options often leaves people confused as to which type to take. Elemental magnesium is always found bound to another compound. These compounds can impact absorption as well as provide their own therapeutic effects. How bioavailable a particular type of magnesium will be is dependent on how easily it can dissociate from the compound to which it is bound.
Magnesium citrate is made from magnesium bound to citric acid. You will often find it sold as a powder. One of the best uses of magnesium citrate is for the treatment of constipation as it has a mild laxative effect. This type of magnesium is most popular with people looking to address constipation issues.
Magnesium Orotate is Magnesium bound to Orotic Acid. Orotic Acid was known as Vitamin B-13 until it was found that the body is able to synthesize this compound. Foods high in Orotic acid are dairy products and root vegetables, particularly beets and carrots. Orotic acid is an intermediate in the synthesis of pyrimidine nucleotides, the building blocks for nucleic acids (RNA & DNA). Orotic acid enhances the formation of ATP (energy for all cells in the body). During hypoxic periods in the heart (periods where oxygen to cells is reduced), which is what happens during a myocardial infarction or in conditions where blood flow to the heart is reduced, phosphate levels decrease (phosphate is part of ATP) and intracellular magnesium is lost through urine. Studies have shown that Magnesium Orotate is promising for reducing the damage of serious cardiac events as well as offering protection from some conditions. It has been found to be helpful for mitral valve prolapse, cardiac arrhythmias, blood pressure and improving the function of the autonomic nervous system.
This type of magnesium has been documented for its benefits in individuals who suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Malate is a substrate in the Krebs Cycle, which is where ATP is derived. ATP provides energy for every cell in the body and this compound can help increase ATP production. There is evidence that it can reduce general muscle pain and pain in tender points associated with fibromyalgia. This is also the type of magnesium supplement recommended for those who suffer from chronic fatigue, low energy and poor endurance due to the enhancement of ATP production.
The findings with this type of magnesium are very exciting for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies have found that those who suffer from these illnesses have lower levels of magnesium in brain tissue. Magnesium L-threonate is the only form of magnesium that has been found to increase brain levels of magnesium. In animal studies of magnesium L-threonate and Alzheimer’s Disease, supplementation has lead to protection from memory loss, reduction in amyloid beta plaque (plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients) and improvement of symptoms in subjects who were even at the end stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Magnesium L-threonate has also been shown to improve learning and memory function in younger healthy test subjects. This type of magnesium also penetrates the mitochondrial membrane making this possibly one of the best forms of magnesium on the market.
This is one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium. It is also known as magnesium glycinate. In this compound, magnesium is bound to two glycine molecules and this is why it is referred to as bisglycinate; “bis” denotes two. Glycine is often used to help calm people with anxiety and when used with magnesium the calming effect is enhanced. Further, magnesium bisglycinate can be taken in higher doses without having a laxative effect due to the high absorbability of this compound. It has been used successfully for people with chronic pain and muscle hypertonicity or cramping.
Magnesium may be one of the most important minerals to supplement, as deficiency can be the underlying cause of so many health issues. Therapeutic dosage is very individual. For one person 300mg/day of elemental magnesium may be sufficient, whereas another person may require 1000mg/day. In terms of magnesium threonate, studies are using the equivalent of 1800mg/day (which contains approximately 144mg of elemental magnesium) in divided doses.
Aside from dosage, some may question what type of preparation of magnesium is best. Magnesium compounds are found in capsules, powders and liquids. For those who have low stomach acid or digestive issues, a liquid or a powder may be preferable. Capsules are generally well absorbed and magnesium bisglycinate, one of the most highly bioavailable forms, is most often found in a capsules. No matter what form you choose getting an adequate daily intake of magnesium is a must.
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