Do you suffer from muscle pain, insomnia, or headaches? You may be short on magnesium. You might remember from science class that magnesium is the twelfth element on the periodic table of elements. It’s also an essential nutrient we need in our diet. The scary thing is 80% of people are magnesium deficient.
With the high percentage of the population that aren’t getting enough of this important nutrient, it’s no wonder that it makes Bulletproof’s list of 10 Supplements Everyone Needs. Like the other supplements on this list, there are large discrepancies between the recommended dosages. Bulletproof recommends you take almost double Health Canada’s Recommended Dietary Allowances:
Health Canada’s Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA): 420mg/day for adult males, 320mg/day adult females
Bulletproof Recommended Supplement Dose: 600-800mg / day
So why is magnesium so important, and how much should you really be taking? Below we take an in depth look at this mineral, the impact it’ll have on your health, and we look at some great ways to add magnesium to your diet.
To start off, here’s a look at what Bulletproof has to say about magnesium:
This is almost as important as vitamin D, and almost as under appreciated. Magnesium is used in over 300 enzymatic processes, including all of those involved in ATP production. It’s also vital for proper transcription of DNA and RNA.
Magnesium deficiency is a serious problem. Symptoms include heart arrhythmias, tachycardia, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, metabolic syndrome, migraines, and pretty much everything else you don’t want. It’s also associated with cardiovascular disease diabetes, asthma, anxiety disorders, and PMS.
Almost all Americans are deficient in magnesium. The majority of people don’t meet the RDA, which is already too low. Due to soil depletion and poor farming practices, it’s almost impossible to get enough magnesium from your diet. Without a doubt – everyone should supplement with magnesium.
Dose: 600-800mg / day
Forms: Citrate, malate, glycinate, threonate, or orotate
Time Taken: before bedtime.
Recommended Brand: Natural Calm or VRP
Here’s a great little video put together by Dr Josh Axe. Dr Axe highlights 8 warning signs of magnesium deficiency. We’ve listed them below, along with more in depth knowledge from his website…
- Headaches- if you suffer from headaches or migraines on a regular balance you are likely magnesium deficient. This mineral helps relax muscles and increases cellular function. Taking 300mg of magnesium twice a day has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
- Muscle cramps- if you regularly experience muscle cramping you need to increase the amount of magnesium and potassium you are taking. Both nutrients are responsible for relieving cramping.
- Osteoporosis or osteopenia- If you have osteoporosis, osteopenia, muscle or bone weakness, or get injured easily you need more magnesium. It’s the building block of your muscles. Also, you need magnesium for your body to use calcium. Taking calcium without magnesium isn’t going to do you any good. Taking extra magnesium is extra important for growing children and aging women. More than half of the magnesium in your body is in your bones, which makes sense, as it is a crucial part of building healthy, strong bones.
- Type 2 Diabetes- if you have type 2 diabetes or irregular blood sugars you’re probably magnesium deficient. If you feel sluggish after meals you are probably magnesium deficient. This important nutrient helps to regulate and stabilize blood sugars. This is because magnesium plays a part in glucose metabolism. Studies show that increasing magnesium intake by 100mg a day decreases your risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes by 15%.
- High blood pressure- Magnesium has been shown to be one of the best natural remedies to lowering and balancing blood pressure. Studies show that people with a diet high in magnesium are less likely to experience a stroke or heart attack.
- Insomnia- If you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or if you are regularly waking up earlier than intended, you should increase the amount of magnesium you are getting. Taking magnesium at dinner or right before bed is shown to help promote a good night’s rest.
- Anxiety and Depression- Magnesium helps calm the body, muscles, and improves mood. Magnesium is an essential mineral for improving your mood.
- Muscle Pain- If you suffer from muscle pain or fibromyalgia then you need to take magnesium. It can start working within minutes to relax and soothe muscle pain. Dr. Axe mentions a study by Magnesium Researches that shows magnesium to improve immune blood markers in patients with fibromyalgia.
Bonus Warning- If you are constipated or having irregular bowel movements then you are most likely magnesium deficient. Increasing your intake of this mineral will help promote regular bowel movements.
As listed above magnesium deficiency has some serious side effects. It’s no wonder that so many people aren’t getting enough magnesium considering how hard it can be to get 100% of your daily value from diet alone. We’ve listed some good sources of this important nutrient, but you will most likely need to take a supplement to meet the RDA. We’ve listed some supplements below our recommended foods.
Good Whole Food Packed With Magnesium
Seeds are one easy way to boost your magnesium levels. Unfortunately, you need to eat quite a bit of any seed to reach your RDA. The best seed you can add to your diet is flax seed. A 100g serving supplies you with 393mg of magnesium. Flaxseed also contains high levels of omega-3, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. 100g really isn’t a lot considering how easy it is to add these tiny seeds to your diet. You can add them to a shake, or add them to your baking in one of the many flax seed recipes online.
Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are tasty snacks that contain plenty of magnesium. A 100g serving of sunflower seeds contains 325mg of magnesium, high levels of vitamin E, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6. Pumpkin seeds (also called pepita) have 550mg of magnesium for every 100g serving. That makes pepita a rich source of magnesium, but you most likely won’t be eating 100g of pumpkin seeds a day. They are also a great source of manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and contain 29.84g of protein.
Almonds have many health benefits. One of the great things found in almonds is magnesium. There are 268mg in a 100g serving. For all of the benefits of almonds, you can read more here.
You aren’t going to want to try and get your entire RDA of magnesium from dark chocolate, but it is a great treat to help boost your levels of this important nutrient. For every 100g of dark chocolate, there are 230mg of magnesium. To read more about the nutrition and health benefits of dark chocolate, click here.
Leafy greens are another good source of magnesium. This is another food that won’t supply you with your RDA, but it contains so many other nutritional benefits that it should be a part of your diet. A 100g serving of spinach provides you with 79mg of magnesium. This will help contribute to your RDA should you wish to get 100% of your magnesium through diet. Spinach is also a good source of vitamin A, B9, and is packed with vitamin K.
While some diets, like that of Bulletproof, recommend a high daily dosage of magnesium, start by trying to meet the RDA. Getting out of a deficient state is most important, and then you can work on optimizing this nutrient with additional supplements.
Now Foods, Magnesium Citrate, 200 mg Tablets
Magnesium tablets are one good way to get your RDA of magnesium. It is a safe and easy to take. Taking 2-3 tablets a day will ensure you are getting all of the magnesium you need.
Natural Vitality, Natural Calm, The Anti-Stress Drink
This is a magnesium drink powder recommended by David Asprey’s Bulletproof supplement list. Two teaspoons in water provide you with 350mg of magnesium. You can also buy Natural Calm in Orange, Lemon, or Raspberry-Lemon flavour.
Pure Encapsulations, Magnesium (glycinate)
This is the magnesium supplement Tom (Good Whole Food co-founder) uses. Each tablet contains 120mg of magnesium and 10mg ascorbyl palmitate. This is a lower dose supplement, which gives you more flexibility as to how much you’re taking in.
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. Please consult with a doctor before adding/changing your dosage of any supplement in your diet. Take any supplements at your own risk.