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All About Magnesium


Do you struggle with muscle cramps, migraines, anxiety, poor sleep, or constipation?

A magnesium deficiency may be the culprit!

It is estimated that about 75% of Americans are deficient in magnesium. This is a shocking amount given that magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies! In order to understand why magnesium is so important, we need to understand what it is and how it functions.

What is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral that makes up about 25 grams of the adult human body. About 50-60% of it is found in our bones and the rest is found in our soft tissues (for example, our muscle). Less than 1% is found in our blood. Magnesium plays a key role in energy production, bone formation, nerve conduction, blood sugar control, blood pressure regulation, muscle contraction, heart rhythm, and more. It also plays a role in bowel movements by relaxing your intestines and pulling water into the bowels to soften the stool.

Where is Magnesium Found?

Magnesium is found naturally in our foods! Types of foods that contain magnesium:

  • Legumes (beans)
  • Nuts (peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews)
  • Seeds (pumpkin seeds)
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach)
  • Whole grains
  • Avocado
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Beef

After food is broken down in our stomach, it passes through to our small intestine in the form of chyme (a semi-solid mass of partially digested food) where nutrients such as magnesium are absorbed. The problem is that some of us will not be able to properly absorb magnesium. This is because if we consume foods that are inflammatory to us, then the gut lining becomes irritated and our digestive tract becomes inflamed. This is what we call a “leaky gut” and leads to impaired absorption of vitamins and minerals from the foods we consume.

What are signs/symptoms of magnesium deficiency?

Some common signs and symptoms of low magnesium levels are the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Muscle cramps
  • Numbness/tingling
  • Migraines/headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Poor sleep
  • Palpitations
  • High blood pressure

Now, if you are experiencing any of the above, it does not necessarily mean you are deficient in magnesium. However, at our clinic, we always check a magnesium level with our initial set of labs since we know it plays an important role in multiple bodily functions.

How do we check magnesium levels?

Most medical providers check a serum magnesium level. However, as mentioned previously, less than 1% of magnesium is found in our serum. Additionally, our body tightly controls how much magnesium is in our serum. This means that if our serum magnesium levels start to drop, our body will take magnesium from our bone and soft tissues (where most of it is found) to maintain serum levels stable. As a result, a serum magnesium level does not give us an accurate representation of our overall magnesium status.

The more accurate test to check a magnesium level is called an RBC (red blood cell) magnesium test. This measures the amount of magnesium in our red blood cells. It is a better indicator of magnesium status because it shows us how much magnesium is being absorbed into our cells.

Which type of magnesium should I take and how much?

You may have noticed that magnesium supplements come in many different “flavors.” Some common ones are magnesium oxide, magnesium taurate, magnesium citrate, and magnesium glycinate. So which one should you choose? Let me break these down for you:

  • Magnesium Oxide: This is the most commonly used form in supplements. However, it is poorly absorbed and not recommended for increasing magnesium levels due to its low absorption rate.
  • Magnesium Citrate: This type is well absorbed; however, it is more potent on the digestive tract than other forms and may cause diarrhea.
  • Magnesium Glycinate: This type is well absorbed and less potent on the digestive tract. At our clinic, we recommend this form to our patients since it is more gentle on the bowels and has a better absorption rate.
  • Magnesium Taurate: This type is more potent than magnesium glycinate but less potent than magnesium citrate.
  • Migraines/headaches

The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for magnesium varies by age and gender, and ranges from 310-420 mg for most adults.

In conclusion, magnesium is a vital mineral involved in multiple bodily processes. Many of us are deficient in magnesium and do not even know it! At Berman Health and Wellness, we work with you to optimize your magnesium levels and improve your overall health and longevity. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to magnesium deficiency, reach out to us, we can help!

Tel: 239-431-0232



Mierlyn Toledo

Mierlyn Toledo

Mierlyn Toledo is a Naples native who graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor in Health Science. She then went on to complete her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at South University. Mierlyn has been a nationally certified physician assistant since 2017. After becoming a PA, she worked at Moffitt Cancer Center and began to note the critical role that nutrition and lifestyle play on cancer prevention and treatment outcome. She then returned to Naples and worked at a family medicine practice where she was introduced to the functional medicine approach. She is passionate about preventative care and helping you achieve your optimal health and wellness. She believes in treating the person, not the disease. Her goal is to make sure you feel empowered in your health decisions, while helping you increase your longevity and improve your quality of life!
Mierlyn Toledo

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