Magnesium is a wonder mineral. It is involved in more than 300 enzyme systems in the body, and helps your body’s cells get their energy. A lot of your body’s magnesium is in bones, and in muscles and soft tissues. It is a cofactor in the regulation of diverse bodily reactions, like nerve and muscle function, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure regulation, and normal heart rhythm. It’s not overstating it to say that magnesium is a vitally critical nutrient for a healthy functioning body.

In Your Diet

It’s good to know that magnesium is also abundant in a balanced diet. Adults need between 310 mg for women and 410 mg for men of magnesium daily. Age, pregnancy, and lactation all affect how much magnesium we need.

There are many foods that contain magnesium that are common in our diets: nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts; dark leafy green vegetables like spinach; grains like wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice; even some fish and fruits have magnesium in them. But with our unbalanced lives, sometimes it can be really tricky to make sure we eat all the right things, and our diets become unbalanced, too.

Which Kind Is Best?

One way to ensure that we get enough magnesium for those more than 300 functions is to boost our diet with a magnesium supplement. But it turns out that there is actually more than one kind of magnesium supplement, that do different things, and are absorbed by the body differently.  So, which is right for you?

Magnesium Oxide

It has a low absorption rate, so your body can’t take it in very well, and pills with magnesium oxide or hydroxide tend to bigger and bulkier; however, despite the low bioavailability of magnesium oxide, there is more magnesium per gram so it is easier to build up levels in the body quickly using this form. For instance, 1 gram of magnesium oxide actually provides 600 mg of magnesium mineral. 

Magnesium Citrate

Magnesium citrate has a good absorption rate and is has been shown to be effective in the management of migraines, the reduction of nighttime leg cramps, and muscle aches and pains. Unfortunately, this form of magnesium costs more to produce, so you’ll need to be prepared to pay a bit more for it, but you’ll get the quality benefits from it, too.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride is a liquid that is harvested from the Dead Sea. It is very absorbable by the body and is good for quick a rebalancing of magnesium levels. For that reason, athletes would find it a good form to use when their levels bottom out. Interestingly, it can also be used topically. Magnesium Chloride is available in topical gel application to aid muscle relaxation.

Magnesium Oil

This is a formulation that makes use of magnesium chloride’s ability to be absorbed by the skin. It blends magnesium chloride with water to create a super-saturated brine that soaks into the skin. It has an oily feel at first, but won’t leave a residue on the skin. It usually comes in a spray bottle so you can target your application.

Magnesium Sulfate

Ever heard of epsom salts? Well, that’s just magnesium sulfate with a different name. While you can take magnesium sulfate orally with pills, it can be a whole lot more fun to use it in the bath. Epsom salt baths have long been used to relax and relieve aching muscles. Chances are if you’ve used a dissolving bath bomb, you’ve enjoyed the benefits of epsom salt that can be used for bruises, sprains, even reducing swelling.

Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate

For very fast magnesium absorption, magnesium acid chelate works well. That is because this magnesium comes along with an amino acid that lets your body absorb it better than some other forms. This high bioavailability makes it a good form of the mineral for correcting a magnesium deficiency in the body. 

Marine Magnesium 

When you add a water molecule to magnesium oxide, you get form known as marine magnesium. This form of the mineral is similar to magnesium oxide, but is also known as milk of magnesia. This type of magnesium is good for keeping the intestines working regularly, but not a good solution for long term problems. 

Lots of Choice

There are lots of different ways to use magnesium supplements. Some are readily available to the body and quickly boost magnesium levels, and some work less directly to ease general muscle ache. As always, when you’re thinking about beginning a course of magnesium supplements, be sure to check with your health care professional first to make sure you’re making the most of this amazing mineral.