Know your Ingredients: Which magnesium is best?

As a naturopathic doctor sometimes I cringe when I see patient’s magnesium supplements. It’s not because of the brand or the design but the form of magnesium that they’re taking. Some forms of nutrients should not be used and others avoided when possible. Unfortunately, some companies try to cut cost to save money and putting out a high quality product is not important to them. These companies rely on consumers not knowing how to read labels or knowing what to look for so they continue to grow and produce products that make me cringe. To understand the reasons why some nutrients are better than others can become very technical but over the next few months I’ll list my top 5 least liked forms of nutrients and try to explain why and which forms I prefer.

The first nutrient I will pick on is Magnesium. Magnesium is one of the hardest working nutrients in your body meaning that it’s used everywhere. Whether a person has headaches, menstrual cramps, heart palpitations, stiff muscles, or constipation, magnesium is potentially a part of their treatment plan. Magnesium comes in many forms and most are okay but not Magnesium Oxide. Magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed so it  literally goes in one end and out the other. So unless I am using magnesium oxide for constipation I do not recommend supplementing with it.

My favorite form of magnesium is magnesium taurate but like I said most forms of magnesium are fine. Some examples of other forms are magnesium malate, magnesium citrate, magnesium l threonate, and magnesium bisglycinate. I like magnesium taurate because once the magnesium is absorbed into your bloodstream then it needs to go into your cells to help impact your metabolic processes. The taurine in magnesium taurate helps with maintaining intracellular levels, especially in muscle.

Of course there are other steps involved that help optimize magnesium within your cells but that is beyond the scope of this blog post. I will say that no nutrient operates alone. They are often dependent upon the levels of other nutrients. I often think of an assembly line and how each step must be completed for the next to take place. That’s exactly how it is inside of your body! So having a lack of one thing can cause a deficiency somewhere else. And some forms of the nutrients have to start at the beginning of the assembly line while others are fully formed and just need limited modifications. We’ll talk about this next month when I go over why I don’t like Folic Acid. For now look at the ingredients in your supplements and decide if any need to be replaced.

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