The British population’s daily diet is greatly lacking in Magnesium.

It is a metallic element that our bodies use to turn the food we eat into energy. It’s also important for helping the parathyroid glands to work normally.

Magnesium assists with biochemical reactions like DNA synthesis, it also helps to form enzymes, which release energy from the food we consume, while also contributing to electrolyte balance in the body. Furthermore, aids in maintaining a healthy nervous system, muscle movement, and the development of healthy teeth and bones.

Magnesium Deficiency

Deficiency can be caused by conditions affecting the gut that prevent the absorption of essential nutrients, like Coeliac disease or Crohn’s disease. It can also be caused by severe malnutrition, chronic alcoholism, or taking specific types of medication.

While deficiencies do not pose any short-term health risks, if you are not getting enough in your diet, you may be at risk of developing long-term health consequences, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, poor immune health, increased stress, lack of sleep and more.


MAGNESIUM-1 How the body uses Magnesium

Promotes Healthy Blood Sugar Regulation 

Magnesium is necessary for carbohydrate metabolism and insulin secretion, which is why maintaining optimal levels is essential for healthy blood sugar regulation.

People with pre-diabetes and diabetes are more likely to develop low levels due to increased urinary magnesium excretion caused by elevated blood sugar. In order to maintain optimal levels, people with diabetes may require magnesium supplements.

A 2021 review of 25 studies found that magnesium supplements significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes and in those at high risk for diabetes compared to placebo treatments.

What’s more, studies show that people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes who have higher blood levels of magnesium tend to have better blood sugar control than people with lower levels.

Magnesium May Reduce Stress and Improve Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression 

Magnesium plays an important role in your body’s stress response. If you’re not taking in enough , it can impact your ability to deal with stress. In fact, research shows that people who are frequently stressed have lower blood levels compared to people who aren’t typically stressed.

What’s more, supplements may be helpful for improving symptoms of common mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

A 2017 study in 112 people with depression found that daily supplementation with 248 milligrams of magnesium chloride for 6 weeks led to significant improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to a placebo group.

Can Help Maintain Healthy Bones

Your bones contain up to 60% of the total magnesium stored in your body. If you don’t take in enough , it inhibits the activity of bone tissue-forming cells called osteoblasts while increasing the action of osteoclasts, which are cells that break down bone. It is also necessary for the absorption and metabolism of vitamin D, a nutrient that’s critical for skeletal health.

People with low blood levels of magnesium are at a higher risk for developing bone disorders like osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Fortunately, studies show that supplements are effective for improving bone mineral density and decreasing fracture risk.

May Improve Some Headaches

Magnesium is necessary for proper nerve function and also helps regulate inflammation and improve blood flow in the brain. People who experience frequent headaches, like migraines, tend to have lower blood levels of magnesium.

In fact, deficiency is considered an independent risk factor for migraine headaches.

A number of studies have found that magnesium supplements are helpful for reducing the frequency and severity of symptoms in people with migraines and tension-type headaches. According to a 2022 review, supplements may be effective for reducing the frequency of migraine attacks, and reducing the cost and side effects of traditional migraine treatments like medications.

Supports Healthy Blood Pressure Levels  

Magnesium is involved in several processes necessary for healthy blood pressure regulation. For example, it promotes the release of a signalling molecule called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps relax blood vessels, which is important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Taking in optimal amounts of magnesium through your diet can help reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. Studies show that taking supplements may help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. 

However, according to a 2021 review of 49 studies, people with untreated hypertension may require high supplemental doses containing at least 600 milligrams of magnesium per day in order to effectively lower blood pressure levels.

May Improve Sleep 

Maintaining healthy magnesium levels can help you get restful sleep. It binds to certain receptors in the central nervous stems and activates GABA, one of the main neurotransmitters responsible for sleep regulation.

Some studies show that magnesium supplements can help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. A 2022 review also found that people with the highest intake,  including both dietary and supplements, were the most likely to meet the National Sleep Foundation’s sleep recommendations of seven to nine hours per night.

Types of Magnesium and their differences

Whether you’ve been prescribed it or you’re just interested in trying supplements available from a pharmacy or health food shop, you’ll probably notice that there are a few different varieties available, including:

  • Citrate
  • Chloride
  • Oxide
  • Glycinate
  • l-threonate
  • Bisglycinate
  • Malate
  • Sulphate
  • Taurate

The type of magnesium you’ll see most often in pharmacies and health food shops is citrate. This is magnesium bound with citric acid, which is the acid in citrus fruits that makes them tart. In the UK, magnesium citrate is prescribed in tablet form for deficiency in adults and children.

Two other popular types of are magnesium chloride – which is bound with the element chlorine – and magnesium oxide – which is bound with oxygen.

In the UK, magnesium chloride is used in medications for people on dialysis.

It’s also available in pharmacies and health food shops as a supplement, as well as Magnesium sulfate, better known as Epsom salts, sometimes in the form of bath flakes, oils and body creams.

Due to the sulfate in Epsom salts, the body rapidly excretes this form via the kidneys . So, while Epsom salts can work in a pinch for temporary relaxation, they don’t actually end up replenishing your depleted magnesium long term.

Magnesium oxide is used in lots of different products, including Milk of Magnesia, which is taken to treat indigestion and constipation.

Best Forms:

For muscle tension, sleep, and gut health Glycinate

To boost energy Malate

To improve learning, memory, brain health Threonate

For muscle cramps and relaxation Citrate

Avoid magnesium oxide as it has a poor absorption rate .

Magnesium food sources

MAGNESIUM How the body uses Magnesium

The best way to get nutrients is through your diet. For most people this shouldn’t be difficult as there are plenty of foods that are naturally high in magnesium, including:

  • Pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews and peanuts
  • Spinach
  • Black beans, kidney beans and edamame
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Skin-on potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Milk and yoghurt
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Dark Chocolate

Even one of the richest dietary sources of magnesium, dark chocolate, doesn’t actually cover your daily dietary needs. To get your daily requisite intake, you’d have to eat about 200 grams, or 7 ounces, of dark chocolate Every day!

Cacao which is made from whole cocoa bean. Raw Organic Cacao is also one of the highest plant-based sources

Getting enough magnesium from these food sources is challenging for a number of reasons. First, the amount of stress we’re under in this modern era of ever-present stimulus and constant busy-ness causes, as I mentioned, huge amounts of magnesium to be dumped out of your body. So, you need a lot of intake.

If you struggle to get these kinds of food in your diet, you can take supplements – the recommended amount is 300mg for men and 270mg for women. Taking more than the recommended amount might cause diarrhoea.

No More Muscle Tension!

Is Magnesium Safe?

Magnesium supplements are generally safe and not associated with significant side effects when used appropriately. However, it is possible to take in too much from dietary supplements, which can lead to serious complications. 

People with kidney issues and elderly people with bowel conditions are more susceptible to developing high blood levels of magnesium, which is called hypermagnesemia in the medical field.

Potential Drug Interactions

Several medications can deplete nutrient stores. Plus, magnesium supplements may reduce the absorption of some medications.

  • Antibiotics: Magnesium supplements can reduce the absorption of antibiotics such as tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, and nitrofurantoin.
  • Blood pressure-lowering medications: Magnesium may reduce blood pressure, so people on blood pressure medications shouldn’t take supplements without checking with their doctor first. 
  • Diuretics: Diuretic medications can increase magnesium excretion and increase the risk of magnesium deficiency. 
  • Proton pump inhibitors: Medications used to treat acid reflux, like Nexium, can increase the risk of magnesium deficiency. 
  • Blood sugar-lowering medications: Magnesium supplements may increase the absorption of certain antidiabetic medications, like sulfonylurea drugs. The antidiabetic drug Metformin may cause low levels over time.