Welcome to Healthy Habits! Please note that this website is no longer active.
Visit us at HealthyHabits.com for product details and to place an order. Thanks!

Magnesium is Your Friend!

“Magnesium is your friend.” I can’t begin to count how many times I have said this to customers and friends over the years. Feedback from so many grateful people has taught me how rapidly the “right form” of magnesium can make a difference. I emphasize the words “right form” because this is really important when it comes to effective supplementation. The cheap form of magnesium is the biggest waste of money imaginable and leads people to believe that magnesium is minimally useful. On the contrary, the right magnesium is a God-send and very quickly gets to work supporting the body’s most essential functions.

Lack of adequate magnesium in the cells is incredibly common among Americans and leads to many (often agonizing) serious problems. It is estimated that 75-85% of us are deficient. Considering how vital this mineral is to the function of over 300 different functions in the body this isn’t something to take lightly. The list of deficiency symptoms is long** and the causes for this insidious deficiency may surprise you.

Let’s begin with the most common deficiency symptoms:

  • Muscles: cramps (including menstrual cramps), tremors, spasms, twitches, weakness; pain in the neck or lower back; aching, stiff muscles; hiccups; constipation (Magnesium and dietary fiber work together to keep the colon functioning properly.)
  • High blood pressure, heart condition, angina pectoris, irregular heartbeat, stroke, seizures
  • Anxiety, nervousness, jittery, high strung, depression, ADD, fading memory, confusion, aggressive behavior, PMS
  • Restless sleep, insomnia, exhaustion, constant fatigue, hands and feet are cold
  • Asthma, high blood sugar (diabetics are often deficient), hypoglycemia, migraine/cluster headaches, accelerated aging
  • Osteoporosis, kidney stones, bones go out of alignment often, brittle bones.

The more of these symptoms you experience the more likely you are magnesium deficient, so let your symptoms be your guide. Just imagine how many doctor visits and medications could be avoided by proper daily supplementation with this miraculous mineral alone.

Low magnesium intake is understood to contribute to metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes, and increasing magnesium intake is linked to lower rates of Type 2 Diabetes. Magnesium is deeply involved in many of the processes involved in the function of insulin.

Magnesium is the single most important mineral for the function of your three most important organs: the heart, brain and liver. It is essential for the proper function of every nerve and is the key to helping your muscles to relax. Calcium, on the other hand, contracts muscles (very important) but in excess leads to the excretion of magnesium. That’s right—too much calcium from foods and/or supplements can push magnesium directly into the bowel to be eliminated.

Magnesium and calcium compete for absorption in the gut and due to its higher molecular weight calcium usually wins. In order for calcium to be properly utilized in its role of building and repairing bones there must be plenty of magnesium available. Without a constant supply of magnesium, calcium tends to store in joints, blood vessels and soft tissues instead of going into the bones where it belongs. (Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 also support bone health.)

Quick quiz: Which country has the highest rates of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis? Answer: the country with the highest consumption of dairy products and calcium supplements—the United States!

Here are the most common causes of magnesium deficiency:

Mental and/or physical STRESS: such as caffeine, alcohol, chronic pain; surgery

Sugar, sodas (esp. colas due to phosphoric acid), high carb diet, white flour; high sodium diet; high protein diet; excess calcium

High cholesterol, high triglycerides; diabetes; diarrhea; low stomach acid; stomach acid reducing medications; hypothyroid

Diuretics; heavy perspiration; tobacco use; medical and OTC drugs, and illegal drugs


There tends to be confusion about what forms of magnesium to take, and whether or not to take it together with calcium. Many products in the marketplace combine these two minerals, frequently providing a 2 to 1 ratio– 1000 mg calcium and 500 mg magnesium, perhaps with added vitamin D, etc. This may be fine for some folks yet there are several potential problems with this: if you consume high calcium from foods it will lead to excessive consumption of calcium which we’ve already learned leads to magnesium deficiency issues. The goal is to get enough calcium from foods* and then top it off with a supplement if there wasn’t enough in your meals.

I prefer to separate my calcium and magnesium, taking calcium with breakfast (if at all) and magnesium at dinner (without exception). Since muscle relaxation is necessary for a good night’s sleep it helps to take a dose of magnesium in the evening, but it can be taken anytime. Taking magnesium near bedtime may also help release more melatonin for better quality sleep.

Both calcium and magnesium require adequate stomach acid in order for your body to assimilate them and put them to work. This is why it’s best to take them with meals. If your stomach acid is low you can supplement with Betaine HCL with pepsin with meals to improve digestion overall. Learn more here.

Magnesium citrate has an acid pH and may be an excellent form for people with this issue.

The cheapest form of magnesium you’ll find in drug stores and online is magnesium oxide. It has so little value as to be a complete waste of your funds. The absorption rate hovers around 12%. Pitiful! It likely will lead to diarrhea before it ever gets to where it is most needed. It is a rock and there’s a reason we don’t eat dirt for our minerals—we can’t assimilate rocks.

Instead, we eat foods that are grown in soil, and healthy soil bacteria help mineral particles to chelate (KEE late) or “claw-on” to amino acids and other molecules in the food which act as piggyback carriers to deliver the minerals into our cells. When supplementing with minerals we are wise to choose quality products that duplicate this process.

The types of magnesium to shop for are chelated. Some of the most effective are: magnesium citrate; magnesium gluconate; magnesium glycinate (less likely to loosen the bowels), magnesium diglycinate, magnesium bisglycinate; magnesium malate (created for people with depression, fibromyalgia, heart disease and diabetes); magnesium taurate or taurinate (evidence shows it may be a better form for brain health); magnesium threonate (expensive– developed for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases), magnesium aspartate and magnesium alpha ketoglutarate.

Experiment with various types to see how they work for you. Always purchase your supplements from a company that sells only natural products that don’t contain DCP (Di-calcium Phosphate) and avoid the pharmacy brands which tend to contain cheap ingredients.

The recommended daily requirement for men is 400 mg and 310 mg for women. If you find that you continue to experience deficiency symptoms experiment to find your right dose. I’ve discovered that if I consume too much calcium (or excess caffeine or stress) during the day I need a higher dose of magnesium at bedtime to help me relax and prevent leg cramps and constipation.  If you take too much magnesium the side effects tend to be mild– you may experience diarrhea, fatigue and/or excessive urination the next day.  Experiment with dosages to find your bowel tolerance. Like with most supplements you have to find what works best for you. People with kidney dysfunction should discuss this mineral with your doctor before supplementing.

Magnesium foods:  Cooked spinach, black beans, pumpkin seeds, cooked Swiss chard, almonds, dark chocolate. Magnesium is harder to get from the diet as compared to calcium, so for most of us supplements are necessary.

*Calcium foods: dairy products (abundant! Watch your portion sizes especially if you also take a calcium supplement), plant-based ‘milk’, dark green leafy veggies, sardines with bones. Calcium is readily available in many popular foods.

Be sure to choose a chelated calcium product should you decide to supplement. Avoid cheap calcium carbonate (chalkboard chalk). Bone meal, oyster shell and dolomite may contain lead, so aren’t good choices either. This recent article will help you to determine which form of calcium is right for you based on your pH: Understanding pH: Acid and Alkaline Decoded

**Is your magnesium level in trouble? Do a Hair Mineral Analysis to discover your magnesium status. You cannot do this using a blood test.

Like many Healthy Habits® customers I don’t ever want to go back to the days (years) when I suffered from magnesium deficiency. My health is much better due to the healthy habit of taking my chelated magnesium every evening for nearly 40 years.

Healthy Habits® is here to support you to stay vitally healthy in order to live your happiest and most satisfying life. Thank you for sharing our articles and information with your loved ones. We pride ourselves on being a quality resource for you and your family.

Click here to read more of our articles.






Welcome to Healthy Habits! Please note that this website is no longer active.
Visit us at HealthyHabits.com for product details and to place an order. Thanks!