Magnesium : What You Need To Know

I’ve written before about magnesium when I’ve reviewed supplements, but I thought it would be a good idea to cover why it’s important and how you can give your body a boost of the good stuff.

Why Is It Important?

This element can be hugely under-appreciated. When talking about deficiencies or possible causes of certain symptoms, magnesium often gets overlooked, and yet it contributes to nerve, psychological, bone and muscle function, among other things.

Magnesium, a mineral found in the sea, plants, animals, earth and humans, is often underrated and overlooked when it comes to our health. Every cell in that fabulous body of yours needs magnesium to function. 

It has various functions and reactions in the body. For instance : 

  • Muscles – contraction and relaxation
  • Energy – converting food into much-needed energy
  • Maintenance of genes – creating & remaining RNA & DNA
  • Maintenance of bones
  • Neurotransmitter regulation – Such as GABA, important for sleep
  • Forming proteins from amino acids
  • Regulation of the nervous system 

Daily Recommendations

It’s thought that about 50% of those in Europe & the US don’t get enough magnesium. What’s more, you need a little more of it when exercising, and studies suggesting the mineral can help boost performance not just in athletes but in the elderly and those of us with chronic illness, though more research is needed in this area.

According to UK guidelines, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 300mg for men and 270mg for women. While you can get magnesium from your diet, many people may struggle to get enough each day or have problems with absorption. Those with stomas / ileostomies like myself may particularly experience issues with deficiencies.

The Effects of Magnesium

A lack of magnesium has also been linked to depression and insomnia, in addition to chronic inflammation. It’s associated with various illnesses and diseases, from clogged arteries and high blood pressure, to stroke and osteoporosis.

Conversely, a boost of magnesium has been associated with a reduction of inflammation as well as benefits for those with Type 2 Diabetes, high BP and heart disease, and migraines. Magnesium is additionally used in some instances of PMS, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, constipation, MS, CRPS, surgical recovery, Lyme disease, CFS and fibromyalgia.

Do You Need To Boost Your Levels?

If you suspect a deficiency, magnesium can be checked with a blood test. However, most routine blood tests don’t look at magnesium, so you’d need to make a special request. For most people, with or without symptoms that could be related to low magnesium, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting a varied diet and include a few extra sources of magnesium. Perhaps you have chronic illness, pain, fibromyalgia, fatigue or poor sleep and want to see whether magnesium can help. It’s important for everyone, with or without chronic illness.

For those with problems getting a balanced diet or who have issues with absorption, which is quite common in those with chronic illness and/or stomas, supplements are a handy addition to your daily self-care routine. This is just a common recommendation; I’m not a medical professional & everyone is different, so always check with your GP if you’re not sure whether supplements are right for you.

Magnesium Foods

If you can manage a balanced diet & are able to absorb nutrients adequately, then including more magnesium foods can give you a boost. Here are a few ideas :

  • Nuts (especially cashew, Brazil & almonds)
  • Tofu
  • Avocado
  • Seeds (like chia & pumpkin seeds)
  • Whole grains
  • Some seafood & fatty fish
  • Dark chocolate
  • Legumes
  • Leafy greens (Popeye’s spinach is particularly good)

Magnesium Supplements

Personal Recommendation – Floradix Liquid

I have reviewed Floradix Liquid Magnesium here. This is my personal favourite for being so convenient to use every day before a meal. It tastes pleasantly sweet and it packs a punch with magnesium content, so I’m thrilled with this one & will continue using it for the foreseeable future.

Find Floradix Liquid Magnesium on Amazon

Floradix at Boots UK / Floradix on eBay

Transdermal Spray Alternative

The BetterYou spray is very popular, and it’s a good alternative if you want something to add to your self-care, post-shower or bedtime routine. You can check out my review here. There are also other options, like gel or magnesium flakes for a foot & body soak.

BetterYou Magnesium Oil Spray on Amazon / BetterYou range at Boots (UK) / BetterYou on eBay

Magnesium is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, but I think it often gets overlooked. Do you get enough magnesium?

Caz ♥

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67 Comments

  1. Jeanne Foguth
    May 29, 2019 / 4:29 pm

    I agree that magnesium is important & take it as a supplement…. I also take a ‘complete vitamin + minerals” vitamin from Centrum, but it only contains 25% of the daily amount…. On the days that I don’t take my supplement, I notice the difference.

    • May 31, 2019 / 5:11 pm

      A lot of these all-round multi-vits are quite low on a few key things. I sometimes take an effervescent multi-vit (don’t want to overdo too many things either) but focus on certain ones like magnesium separately, too. It’s interesting you can notice the difference when you don’t take your supplement, would you say that’s in terms of pain, exhaustion..? Thanks for the comment, Jeanne xx

  2. May 29, 2019 / 4:49 pm

    I take a magnesium supplement and calcium. I need the magnesium due to leg muscles tending up at night. The magnesium controls this issue for me

    • May 31, 2019 / 4:32 pm

      Is it leg cramps or maybe restless legs that you get? It’s great that magnesium helps your muscles, and extra calcium is a good idea, too. Thanks for the comment, Alice =]

  3. May 29, 2019 / 9:13 pm

    I just started taking magnesium. I’m hoping it will help my joint problems.

    • May 29, 2019 / 9:39 pm

      Hi Caz, I’m really learning alot from your posts! Thank you so much 💖

      • June 3, 2019 / 1:32 pm

        Elber – Aw, that’s great to hear! Thank you 🙂
        xx

    • May 31, 2019 / 4:52 pm

      I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it does! It’s a good supplement to be taking regardless for various aspects of health overall. Thanks for the comment, Jacqui, I hope the weekend is a good one for you xx

  4. May 29, 2019 / 10:36 pm

    Such a great post. Magnesium is very important. I tried to take supplements however it didn’t agree with me. So I now use magnesium spray when required. Every night I put a face and neck cream on that has magnesium in it. As it absorbs into the skin and the blood stream it bypasses the stomach. The company that I buy the spray from also has a roll on which I plan on getting eventually.

    • June 3, 2019 / 1:34 pm

      Supplements can be pretty hit & miss for people, so it’s great there are alternatives. I’m glad you’ve found a spray you like; a roll-on would be interesting! I imagine that could reduce a little of the mess and make it easier in general to use, especially for those with arthritis who may find the spray harder to press to dispense. Thanks for the comment, Bree! 🙂
      xx

  5. May 29, 2019 / 10:48 pm

    I learn so many things here. I’ll make sure I have enough magnesium.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

    • June 3, 2019 / 1:34 pm

      I’m glad the post has helped you learn something new! Thanks for the comment, Sandee – I hope you & hubby have a lovely week 🙂
      xx

  6. May 30, 2019 / 12:18 am

    A health shop advisor once told me smokers tend to be low on magnesium. I don’t smoke, but I take it regularly for night cramps (bananas work for me too – potassium – but I’m not that keen on bananas to want one every day).
    I read recently that if your body is low on magnesium you might need to take supplements for six months or more to bring it up to optimum level, but it is more easily absorbed through the skin. I keep magnesium oil for those occasions when cramp wakes me up in the night, but haven’t needed to use it for a while now, so something must be working. 🙂
    Nice to hear that about dark chocolate though. There seem a whole lot of benefits to dark chocolate I’d never imagined. My husband (a diabetic) and I now have a couple of squares of ‘medicinal’ dark chocolate every evening. (The challenge is to stop after a couple of squares.)

    • May 31, 2019 / 4:29 pm

      That’s interesting, I hadn’t known of the correlation between smoking & low magnesium. I’m glad you’re finding that a little oil helps for when cramps wake you up, but that you don’t need it too often. Bananas I really like but sadly my stoma doesn’t. If you’re not too keen on them, maybe you could add a little yoghurt or ice cream & have a smoothie or milkshake? You and your husband must have better willpower than I with just a couple of squares of chocolate every evening. But it’s definitely medicinal, it should be on prescription 😉
      Thanks for the great comment, Cathy! I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead xx

  7. May 30, 2019 / 7:03 am

    Oooh I like the idea of not going through the stomach. I think a lot of people struggle with absorption and end up having very expensive pee! Great informative post. I shall give it a go.

    • May 31, 2019 / 4:11 pm

      Hah, expensive pee, very true! Problems with absorption can result in various deficiencies but it also makes topping up our levels harder, so it’s good to have options. Glad you liked the post, thanks for the comment Kat! Hope you have a good weekend xx

  8. Megala
    May 30, 2019 / 10:30 am

    Great article! Thanks for sharing such an informative post.

    • May 31, 2019 / 4:07 pm

      You’re welcome, glad you liked it, Megala! Have a great weekend xx

  9. May 30, 2019 / 2:16 pm

    Magnesium has been a lifesaver for me for nearly 40 years. I could not manage without it.

    • May 31, 2019 / 4:04 pm

      It’s great you’ve seen benefit with taking it! It’s certainly an important one to consider. Thanks, Brigid – I hope you have a lovely weekend 🙂
      xx

  10. May 30, 2019 / 4:58 pm

    A terrific article – so much great information!

    • May 31, 2019 / 3:22 pm

      Aw I’m glad you liked it, I wanted to balance being thorough with being easy to read so hopefully it’s not too info-heavy. Cheers, John! Hope you have a great weekend ahead =]

  11. May 30, 2019 / 6:42 pm

    Thanks for another great post Caz! I’m very fortunate; my doctor screens me for magnesium levels and so far, everything has been good. I do keep a magnesium foam on hand for those times my muscles start to feel they’re going to cramp. If I use it before they actually cramp up, it keeps it from happening. I have to say I love that I can get some extra magnesium from dark chocolate.😁

    • May 31, 2019 / 3:06 pm

      It’s great your doctor tests your magnesium, it’s refreshing that there are good docs out there who’ll do it. It’s interesting that you have a foam format, I haven’t come across one like that. It’s wonderful that it works for you with muscle cramps! And of course there’s always chocolate, just to make sure those cramps stay away 😉
      Thanks for the comment, Terri – I hope the weekend treats you kindly xx

  12. mishka
    May 30, 2019 / 8:57 pm

    Very informative! You’ve just reminded me I need to do an Epsom salt foot bath (we don’t have a tub :/). Always great to have an excuse to eat dark chocolate too. 🙂

    • May 31, 2019 / 12:04 pm

      A lot of people swear by Epsom salts. I use them for foot baths too! Do you have anything you can use instead of a tub? Go get yourself some chocolate while you contemplate the logistics 😉
      Thanks for the comment – have a lovely weekend xx

  13. May 30, 2019 / 8:58 pm

    Such a thorough explanation of what it is and how it can help us. Thanks Caz!

    • May 31, 2019 / 1:32 pm

      I’m glad you liked it, thanks Christy!  ♥

  14. May 31, 2019 / 9:43 am

    Yes, yes, yes! I have a post scheduled for next week… haven’t we done this before? You say something, I have a post… you are using some Jedi mind-tricks… anyway, I say magnesium is a must! I’m going to link up to this post! Covers everything about magnesium. This is excellent!

    • May 31, 2019 / 11:58 am

      Great minds think alike, my dear. I’m glad you think this post is okay, I didn’t want to overdo it with information, I wanted to try to keep it easy-ish to digest. Looking forward to reading your post! The more the merrier on this under-appreciated gem can only be a good thing 🙂

  15. May 31, 2019 / 12:17 pm

    You sold me at chocolate. Thanks for this, very useful.

    • June 3, 2019 / 1:36 pm

      Hahah chocolate has many hidden benefits – eat up! 😆
      Thanks Jo, have a lovely week.xx

  16. May 31, 2019 / 1:36 pm

    Great post, Caz. Good to know the magnesium rich foods. I always think it’s best if we can get our nutrients naturally from food, but as you’ve explained, sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Really great to have a recommendation of a supplement that you feel is useful.

    • June 3, 2019 / 1:38 pm

      Exactly, natural through food is best but supplements are a great back-up plan for those that need them. Thanks for the great comment lovely! I hope this week is kind to you  ♥
      xx

  17. May 31, 2019 / 2:30 pm

    I can’t tell you what a blessing your posts are to me. 🙂 Thank you, Caz. xo I’m learning so many things from you that are beneficial.

    • June 3, 2019 / 1:38 pm

      Aww that’s so lovely to read, I’m glad some of my posts can introduce you to some new things. Thanks Kymber – I hope you have a good week  ♥
      xx

  18. Kirsty
    May 31, 2019 / 5:17 pm

    I used to take magnesium but didn’t like the tablets, don’t think I absorb well either.Thanks for the suggestion, I’m going to try the Floradix one because liquid would be so much better.

    • June 2, 2019 / 10:15 pm

      Aw well I hope this can be helpful then as it’s very pleasant to use, absorbs well & is has really good magnesium content per dose. I honestly can’t rate Floradix highly enough. Hope you like it if you give it a try! Thanks for the comment, Kirsty 🙂
      xx

      • Kirsty
        June 3, 2019 / 8:44 am

        Thanks Caz, I’ve ordered two bottles so I’m just waiting for them to be delivered!

  19. June 1, 2019 / 12:12 am

    You are a wealth of great info, Caz; I delight when reading your well researched articles.
    I’ve been adding nuts to my morning power drinks – cashews and or walnuts, generally. This way they are pulsed to smithereens along with the banana, hemp powder and any other ingredient that takes my fancy. Yes, magnesium is usually an underestimated addition to a healthy diet… But, not yours..! 😊
    Hope you have a good weekend, Caz…
    xoxoxo

    • June 2, 2019 / 10:20 pm

      Adding nuts is a great idea, that’s one pumped up power drink, Carolyn! 😉 I really like the idea of that, chucking in nanas and hemp and any other bits and bobs, maybe turmeric too? Thanks for the comment! xx

  20. Mrs. Ram’s Jams
    June 1, 2019 / 11:06 am

    I use magnesium to help treat my hot flashes! It’s been a lifesaver!

    • June 3, 2019 / 1:40 pm

      Ooo that’s really good! I’m so glad you’ve found something natural that’s so helpful for them 😄xx

  21. June 1, 2019 / 9:03 pm

    You’ve just given me a reason to eat dark chocolate! Fabulous!!!

    Seriously though, thank you for this post. I learned a lot and I think I could probably do with more magnesium in my diet. I’ve been trying to eat more spinach anyway because of vitamin D, but it’s great to know it contains magnesium too.

    Thanks for the informative post XX

    • June 3, 2019 / 2:06 pm

      Any excuse for chocolate is a good one! I’m glad this post has helped you learn something new. It’s good to be aware of things like magnesium that often go under the radar. It’s also interesting to see what foods are good sources, so keep up the spinach, pop-eye! 😆 Thanks for the great comment lovely xx

  22. June 2, 2019 / 7:36 am

    I’ve heard lots of good things about magnesium, especially helping to relax muscles and get a better night sleep. I’ve used it for my restless leg syndrome too. Great post!

    • June 3, 2019 / 2:07 pm

      You’re right, a lot of people find it good for muscles & sleep. I hope it helped with your restless legs, I get that and it’s so frustrating! Did you use a tablet, liquid, spray..? Thanks for the comment 🙂
      xx

  23. June 2, 2019 / 3:10 pm

    There is my Caz! I was looking for you. Great information, here.

    • June 3, 2019 / 2:08 pm

      You found me!! 😆 Cheers lovely – I hope this week is a good one for you xx

  24. June 2, 2019 / 3:12 pm

    My daughter got me into using magnesium, it really does make a difference. Great post!

    • June 3, 2019 / 2:08 pm

      It’s great your daughter got you into the magnesium habit, and brilliant that you’ve noticed benefit from it. Thanks for sharing, Susan 🙂

  25. June 2, 2019 / 10:20 pm

    Another great post! I am a HUGE believer in taking magnesium supplements as it has helped in multiple ways including reducing my irregular heart beat, muscle pain, anxiety, and helps me sleep better! Thanks again!

    • June 3, 2019 / 2:09 pm

      It’s so good to read positive experiences like this, I’m really glad magnesium has been beneficial for you. I think it’s so important to spread the word on it more because it doesn’t seem to get enough attention, in my opinion anyway. Thanks, Wendi! ♥
      xx

  26. June 2, 2019 / 10:28 pm

    So important! I take it daily too. It makes a lot of difference. I’ll be starting a new protocol soon which places even more importane on Magnesium and other minerals. So I’m looking forward to hopefully having some improvement. Great post!

    • June 3, 2019 / 2:10 pm

      I’m glad you find magnesium beneficial, too. Fingers crossed for the new protocol, I do hope you get some noticeable improvement! Thanks for the comment lovely  ♥

  27. June 2, 2019 / 11:19 pm

    Charlee: “Hmm our Dada doesn’t take magnesium but he does take potassium citrate.”
    Chaplin: “Something about small muscles twitching.”
    Charlee: “Sort of like how our tails twitch, maybe.”
    Chaplin: “We should just give him some of our cat food. That would fix him right up.”
    Lulu: “I’ll take cat food if you’re giving it away. I don’t mind!”

    • June 3, 2019 / 9:06 am

      Lulu is as obliging as ever! 😂 Potassium citrate, a good point as low potassium can be potentially dangerous (I was very low on this after my last emergency op which is when I learned how important it actually is!) Dada is clever to take it, I hope it helps the twitchy muscles. Thanks for the comment! x

  28. June 2, 2019 / 11:19 pm

    I used to use the magnesium spray but it made me itch but i think i need to give another way a try 🙂

    • June 3, 2019 / 9:04 am

      It’s a shame the spray made you itch. These things do work differently for everyone and sadly it can take trying a few things before you find something that suits you. The Floradix liquid is one I’d highly recommend; that’s easy and convenient to take, it gets absorbed better than supplements, and it avoids anything like skin irritation that you found with the spray. I hope you like it if you do try it! Thanks for reading & the comment 🙂
      xx

  29. June 3, 2019 / 12:22 am

    Thank you so much Caz for this post. I had no idea of the benefits of magnesium. You’re the best. xo

    • June 3, 2019 / 9:01 am

      Aw you’re welcome, I’m glad I could introduce something new to you! Thanks for the lovely comment – I hope you have a good week ahead  ♥
      xx

  30. June 3, 2019 / 10:03 am

    I take magnesium daily to help keep bowel movements regular (TMI, I know) but it’s a common complaint with chronic illness.

    Did you know a Brit’s main source of Magnesium is in tea?!

    • June 3, 2019 / 2:13 pm

      Not TMI, that’s a good point as a lot of people can find higher doses of magnesium helps with constipation & daily normal doses help keep things regular. I’m not sure about the tea thing, as far as I’m aware teabags don’t really have magnesium in..unless you mean specific magnesium-infused tea?xx

  31. June 3, 2019 / 12:31 pm

    I’m really learning a lot from your posts! Thank you so much!🙏

    • June 3, 2019 / 2:13 pm

      Aw you’re welcome, I’m so glad my posts can help you learn some new things from time to time! Thanks, Richa 🙂
      xx

  32. June 8, 2019 / 10:38 pm

    am always happy for new reason to indulge!

    • June 11, 2019 / 3:03 pm

      Join the club! 😉

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