Magnesium 101 (Episode #300)

Magnesium 101 (Episode #300) | from The Healthy Skeptics on Vimeo.

Minerals 101


  1. Inadequate intake is common:  (Adult RDA: 400 mg/d)
  1. Factors limiting absorption
    1. Alcohol abuse
    2. Diabetes
    3. GI disorders, including Crohn’s, celiac disease, colitis, IBS
    4. Medications, most notably: PPI’s like Prilosec,     Nexium, Protonix


  1. Importance:

Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate myriad biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is required for energy production (both oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis.) It contributes to the development and repair of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

  1. Best Food sources:
    1. Nuts & seeds
    2. Peanut butter
    3. Dark green leafy vegetables
    4. Avocado
    5. Black beans


  1. Supplements
    1. Labeling:  Eg. Magnesium (citrate)   200 mg
      Tells you that this product provides 200 mg of elemental magnesium as magnesium citrate.  Now, only 16.2% of magnesium citrate is actual (elemental) magnesium. The rest is citric acid.
      Likewise magnesium glycinate is only about 14% magnesium, but the number listed always has to refer to the amount of elemental magnesium.


Q: What if the label says:

Magnesium (oxide, citrate)        200 mg

Bioavailability (from worst to best)

  • Oxide
  • Chloride
  • Citrate
  • Amino acid Chelates:

Recommended: Albion mineral chelates, used by leading manufacturers.

Q: What about nano magnesium or “picometer” forms of magnesium?

  1. Nutribabble

Q: What about “ionic” minerals?

A: All minerals are ionized by stomach acid

Q: What about topical magnesium, eg Magnesium oil or Epsom salts?

A: A small amount of magnesium can be absorbed by topical application, but this should not be your only source of supplemental magnesium. In addition some products cause skin irritation.


BMC Med. 2016 Dec 8;14(1):210.

Dietary magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.

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