• Deborah Holmén

Magnesium Glycinate: Supplement Guide



Originally published on HVMN by Jamie Witherby


You know those nights. The ones you wake up in the middle of, clutching your knees to rock yourself back asleep. It’s not a nightmare that roused you. It’s something much, much worse: leg cramps.


The pain is sudden, searing, and seemingly out of your control. But those calf contractions could be trying to tell you something. Muscle cramps are frequently a sign of magnesium deficiency in healthy adults.1,2,3


In this article, we’ll discuss what magnesium is, why it’s crucial for optimal health, and how pairing it with glycinate makes it the ideal supplement form.


Meet Magnesium

Scoring an atomic number of twelve, magnesium (Mg) is a silver-white metal from the alkaline family. Its strong-yet-lightweight structure, high melting point (1,202°F), and brilliant white flame make it a hot choice for alloys in the aerospace industry, especially gearboxes for helicopters and other aircrafts.


Magnesium is the ninth most abundant element on the planet and the fourth most abundant cation (positively charged ion) in our bodies.

Over half of our magnesium lives in our bones, another quarter in our muscles, and the rest in our soft tissues and extracellular fluid (fluid outside the cells).4


You also eat this metal every day. Or at least you should. Magnesium is a critical cofactor for over 300 enzyme systems, including synthesizing proteins, regulating blood pressure, and controlling blood sugar levels. You probably didn’t know you were so dependent on this mineral, but you can’t do much without it; it’s required for aerobic and anaerobic energy production. Want to keep your healthy bone structure? Magnesium. Need to synthesize some RNA? Magnesium. Care to maintain nerve and muscle function? Magnesium.5 You get the picture. It’s an understatement to say magnesium has some pretty crucial health benefits.


Unfortunately, it’s not as abundant in our diets as it should be. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that up to 68% of people in the United States are magnesium deficient.


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Magnesium Deficiency is Everywhere

Before we dive into the problems of magnesium deficiency, let’s review some foods that are great forms of magnesium. Spinach, Swiss chard, and other dark greens are a saturated source of your daily magnesium. Go nutty with almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews, too. Fiber-rich choices include beans, legumes, and filling whole grains. And the food that really puts the “yum” in magnesium? Dark chocolate.


But even if you’re eating all your leafy greens and fibrous beans to get the essential nutrient, the declining magnesium levels in the soil they were grown in puts you at risk for magnesium deficiency.6


Magnesium levels in soil are declining because of modern farming practices;6 overuse of the soil disallows it from restoring its natural mineral content before being used to grow food again. By the time vegetables are washed and transported, their meager magnesium content is laughable.7


Other produce processing techniques can strip away the food’s magnesium levels, like bleaching whole grains and overcooking greens.8 Even common medications such as antacids, antibiotics, and diuretics can affect the body’s ability to absorb magnesium or increase your renal (kidney) excretions of the precious mineral.3


The good news? The metal can be found in regular old drinking water—up to a tenth of your daily magnesium intake. The bad news? Purification practices are a little too efficient, so most of the magnesium content never even crosses your lips. But stick with water for a better chance of getting your recommended intake as coffee and alcohol increase your body’s demand for it.3



Hypomagnamesia Symptoms

If you’re worried that you could have low magnesium levels, here are some medical conditions and symptoms of magnesium deficiency:4


Fatigue

Sleep disturbances

Depression

Muscle cramps

Muscle weakness

High blood pressure

High blood sugar

Ast