No one nutritional element will change everything in our bodies, but I personally have seen a major turnaround in mood, sleep and muscle recovery with the mineral magnesium. It’s a shame that many—if not most—of us are deficient!
Some experts believe that a whopping 80 percent of the population does not get enough magnesium. In fact, only 25 percent of adults in the United States are getting the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 mg for men.
Why does a deficiency matter? Because magnesium is responsible for supporting a host of functions in your body, such as calming you down—both physiologically and neurologically—since it acts as a muscle and nervous system relaxer. Raise your hand if you could use more of that effect?
Additionally, it can balance blood sugar (which in turn impacts your appetite and cravings), modulate blood pressure, regulate circulation, and help release the soothing brain chemical GABA Magnesium can also buffer the negative impact of stress on the body by slowing or stopping the part of the brain called the hippocampus from signaling the release of stress hormones.
Most miraculous of all: It can mitigate feelings of depression in a just few weeks! Some in the medical community consider this last benefit debatable since the people studied were given magnesium pills or nothing. There was no placebo (aka blank pill). Given that, some argue that if you give a depressed person a pill that is supposed to alleviate depression they can “will” themselves out of it. My perspective: If you think magnesium makes you happier, then take it.
Whether you’re battle sadness or just want to experience some of the other benefits I outlined, here are some good sources of magnesium.
Seaweed and green leafy vegetables—kale, spinach and Swiss chard are my preferred options. Munching on avocados, beans, nuts, and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame) is also a decent way to boost your levels. If you’d rather drink a dose of magnesium, my favorite new source is a healthy hydration drink called Halo Sport. In fact, I love this beverage so much I agreed to join their medical advisory team. It has only 10 calories and only 2g of sugar for an entire bottle (zero added sugar). It’s also the only sports drink on the market with over 70 trace minerals.
- Magnesium glycinate has the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency.
- Magnesium oxide is another common type—it contains 60 percent magnesium, and has stool-softening properties
- Magnesium chloride/Magnesium lactate contain only 12 percent magnesium, but can be better absorbed by some people
- Magnesium sulfate/Magnesium hydroxide (aka milk of magnesia) are typically used as laxatives
- Magnesium carbonate, which has antacid properties, and seen in over the counter reflux medications contain 45 percent magnesium.
- Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid.
- Magnesium citrate (magnesium with citric acid) also has laxative properties
- Magnesium threonate is a newer supplement thought to be able to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane. (Mitochondria are organelles that are involved in key cellular metabolic tasks that regulate vital physiological responses.)