The Importance of Magnesium for Energy and Overall Health

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Dr. Khoshaba

January 9, 2023

Magnesium and energy levels

Feeling fatigued, tired and lack of energy? Your magnesium, or lack thereof may be the answer. It is not uncommon to experience some of these symptoms, go to your Doctor, and have them tell you that everything in your blood work looks flawless.

Often times, however, Doctors are not looking at the status of your major vitamins and minerals. You would be surprised at how many times a patients severe fatigue and lethargy has been linked to a B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Iron or Magnesium deficiency.

While this may not seem severe and can often be corrected with proper diet or supplementation, the symptoms that you experience, depending on the level of deficiency, may be severe. 

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a major mineral in your body that is necessary for many of your enzymatic functions. Your body needs many minerals to function- including calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, chloride, iron, magnesium, zinc, iodine, sulfur, colbant, copper, manganese, fluoride and selenium. 

What makes magnesium so important?

Magnesium is extremely important when it comes to the health of your bones and energy levels. Magnesium helps regulate the function of your nerves and muscles, helps maintain appropriate blood sugar and blood pressure levels and is important in DNA synthesis. Magnesium also helps in the activation of Vitamin D. The amount of magnesium that you need depends on your age and gender. Typically, as we get older, our bodies require more magnesium. You can find the recommended daily amount below:

Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include:

Some signs that you may be deficient in magnesium include muscle twitching, muscle spasms, sore muscles, insomnia, fatigue, lack of energy, loss of appetite, weakness, pins and needles (also known as paresthesia), anxiety, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat. 

The older we get, the greater risk we are of magnesium deficiency. This is because aging causes inhibition in adequate magnesium absorption through the gut. Individuals with type 2 diabetes, absorption issues, or alcoholics are also at an increased risk of magnesium deficiency and should request that their Doctor test them. 

Where is magnesium found?:

Magnesium can be found in many different types of foods. However, the quality of our foods has changed over time, and our soil is not as rich in magnesium as it once was. That’s not to say that you can’t get magnesium through your diet because you absolutely can; however, it is best to test your levels and incorporate supplementation if necessary. 

Magnesium can be found naturally in many foods and has even been fortified in some foods. Some foods that naturally contain magnesium include: 

  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy products like milk and yogurt
  • Whole grains like quinoa and shredded wheat 
  • Potatoes
  • Salmon, Beef, Poultry 

Want to optimize your magnesium levels? Snack on a fun, homemade trail mix of almonds, pumpkin seeds, popcorn, and peanuts. And you can even throw in some dark chocolate for a sweet magnesium boost! 

What are the different forms of magnesium?:

There are many different forms of magnesium, but some of the most common ones include:

  • Magnesium citrate
  • Magnesium glycinate
  • Magnesium lactate 
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Magnesium taurate 
  • Magnesium orotate
  • Magnesium malate
  • Magnesium oxide

Each form of magnesium has different benefits when it comes to your health-

For starters, magnesium glycinate is considered to be the most bioavailable form of magnesium and the most absorbable. It is also the least likely form of magnesium to induce diarrhea. We often recommend magnesium glycinate for patients with long-term deficiency due to its absorbability.

Magnesium glycinate has also been shown to have calming properties and help reduce symptoms related to stress, anxiety, and depression. Interestingly, magnesium glycinate has even been shown to help reduce PMS symptoms in menstruating women, maintain adequate heart rhythm, reduce pain and enhance exercise performance.

Different forms of Magnesium for The Importance of Magnesium for Energy and Overall Health

While magnesium glycinate is the most absorbable form of magnesium, you will often find magnesium citrate on your local health food store shelves. Magnesium citrate is actually also very easily absorbed and may be a good option, especially for those suffering from constipation. The citrate, or citric acid, in magnesium citrate will help loosen your stool, so it makes a great option for those with constipation or infrequent bowel movements. 

Let’s dive deeper into how magnesium can help increase energy levels:

Remember hearing about ATP in your 5th-grade science class? Let’s recap. ATP, also known as, Adenosine 5′-triphosphate, is an energy-carrying molecule that is found in all living things. ATP is responsible for storing and transferring energy in your cells.

In order for ATP to be active, it requires a magnesium ion to bind to. Cool, right? So the lack of adequate magnesium levels may inhibit the activation of ATP or energy! Magnesium acts as an antioxidant in your mitochondria (the powerhouse of your cells) and actually helps your body convert the glucose in your food to energy will help keep your energy levels stable, which can prevent those afternoon slumps! 

I want all the energy! How much magnesium can I take?:

When it comes to magnesium, you want to get your levels checked and follow the recommended daily allowance (RDA). “The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults 19-51+ years is 400-420 mg daily for men and 310-320 mg for women.

Pregnancy requires about 350-360 mg daily and lactation, 310-320 mg. Exceeding the recommended daily allowance for magnesium can lead to magnesium toxicity. Some signs of magnesium toxicity include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Muscle weakness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 

This is why appropriate testing and monitoring with your Physician is key!

How do you test for magnesium?:

We test for magnesium in the blood. This does get more specific, however! Oftentimes, you can test for magnesium in the serum or plasma, but a more specific test looks at how much magnesium is actually in the red blood cell, and that test is called RBC Magnesium. A normal RBC magnesium ranges from 4.2 and 6.8 mg/dL. 

What to do after you test:

Once your magnesium RBC levels have been established, you can speak to your doctor about the appropriate supplementation! Magnesium supplements typically range from 150-500 mg. While you’re at it- you should ask your doctor to assess your other nutrients, as a deficiency in those nutrients has also been linked with low energy, depression, fatigue, brittle nails, and even hair loss! 

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Dr. Linda Khoshaba is the Leading Integrative Health and Hormone Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has extensive experience working in the field as a Hormone Specialist and Natural Endocrinologist.

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