Magnesium is fundamental to life. Yet almost fifty percent of the population is deficient.

What is magnesium?

The fourth most abundant mineral in humans, it supports over eight hundred roles in the body. Magnesium is found in high concentrations in our bones, heart, muscles and nerves, is carried around in red blood cells, helps make energy and genetic building blocks of life – DNA and RNA.

Signs of deficiency

It is difficult to measure magnesium in blood work. Serum magnesium is just what is floating around the blood stream and it compromises of 1% of total body stores. Red blood cell magnesium, while helpful for monitoring magnesium therapy, does not capture the overall levels of magnesium since it is stored in so many different tissues.

Some of the first signs of deficiency include:

  • muscle aches and pains
  • chronic fatigue
  • high blood pressure
  • poor memory or confusion
  • tremors
  • headaches
  • eye twitches
  • anxiety and nervousness
  • blood sugar sensitivities

Roles of Magnesium

The uses of magnesium are immense. Here are just a few examples of conditions where magnesium therapy is involved:

  • acid reflux and heartburn (GERD)
  • attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
  • anxiety and stress
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • inflammation
  • cardiovascular and heart health
  • osteoporosis
  • vitamin D deficiency

Natural sources of magnesium

Magnesium is found in many foods such as: dark leafy greens, halibut, pickerel, quinoa, Chia seeds, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, soybeans and tofu, white and black beans. But our diets provide us with less magnesium than in years gone by. Our soils have become deficient in magnesium which means the food sources we rely on are also depleted. Modern farming practices impact the soil’s ability to restore. Increased consumption of processed foods provides little opportunity for magnesium intake.


Types of magnesium

Magnesium loves to attach to things. Thus, it comes in many different forms. For this same reason, it must be taken away from other medications by at least an hour to make sure your medication properly absorbs. What the magnesium partners with changes how it is used. Your healthcare provider will direct which one, how much, how long, and when it is safe for you to take magnesium. 

Here are a few common forms of magnesium:

  • Milk of Magnesia is effective treatment for constipation, especially during pregnancy.
  • Magnesium citrate or oxide for drawing water into the colon, a constipation aid
  • Magnesium sulfide, or Epsom salts, for muscles relaxing baths or small amounts internally as a laxative.
  • Magnesium threonate for migraines
  • Magnesium bisglycinate for muscle aches and pains


There are many things that challenge magnesium absorption. Coffee, alcohol and soft drinks and high stress living increase demand for magnesium. High consumption of sodium (salt) competes for cellular entry.  To promote magnesium absorption, high oxalic acid greens like spinach and chard are best steamed and dry beans best soaked and rinse a few times before cooking to help reduce the phytic acid content.



Medical Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as individual medical advice. Always speak with your naturopathic doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. Questions? Email