Could Magnesium Be Affecting You In Ways You Didn't Realise?

A client recently came to me for help with her diarrhoea. It had been getting progressively worse over the last 18 months. So much so, she always had a spare set of clothes with her. Thinking it was a food intolerance, she had dwindled her repertoire of foods down to a bare minimum.  And she was still suffering from numerous bouts of diarrhoea daily. Understandably, she was fatigued and very thin. 

As we chatted, she mentioned she took two tablets of magnesium every morning. When asked why she said it was for her restless legs and because she heard it was good for her. I asked her to send me a picture of the label.

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Turns out she was taking a poor quality magnesium supplement from the grocery store. The form of magnesium was predominantly magnesium oxide and with quite a few fillers and additives. In addition, she was taking about 400mg each morning at once. 

I asked her to stop taking it. Within 4 days, her diarrhoea had decreased substantially. She was so relieved! Her bowels returned to normal within about two weeks. Solely due to the magnesium supplement.

Magnesium is mineral powerhouse in the body. Although most commonly associated with relaxing muscles and the mind, recent research indicates that it is needed in about 600 different functions in the body. 

Although important in the body, it is equally important to get the right form. 

Magnesium oxide and sulphate are not absorbed well in the body - so much so that they make a great laxative, as my client found out. 

Chelates, glycinates, biglycinates and citrates are better absorbed. The glycinate and biglycinate are known to be quite relaxing as the glycine is a calming amino acid. 

As for dosing, for the most part, a lower dose is better and look to increase your magnesium rich foods. Certain conditions such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia may need higher doses. A hair mineral test (very little magnesium is present in the blood at any given time) is best to determine how much is needed if wanting/needing higher doses than 200-400 mg daily. 

I do suggest you divide the dose - 200mg morning and night. Unless it is needed for restless leg or improving sleep quality, then have your dose at night. 

You should be having about 400mg of magnesium daily. Look to increase the following foods to help you achieve this target:

  • Dark leafy green vegetables
  • Dark chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Banana

Finally, to further increase the absorption of your magnesium, take two hours away from both zinc, calcium and iron supplements. Liquids and powders are better absorbed than tablets, although taste can become a factor. 

The right magnesium at the right time in the right dose is great for many issues; anxiety, muscle cramps, headaches, hypertension to name but a few.