The Many Uses of Magnesium

We’re doing a deep dive into magnesium so you can understand, what it is, what it does and how much you need!

Pop quiz: what does your body use Magnesium for? 

Many people think this mineral simply helps with tense, tight muscles; but if you answered that question with “nearly everything”, you wouldn’t be too far wrong, it’s one of nature’s most versatile minerals.

Here’s just a selection of the functions that this versatile mineral performs within your body:

  • Plays a part in over 300 different metabolic processes
  • Helps relax tense and tight muscles Assists with mental relaxation
  • Supports strong, healthy bones as well as aiding with Calcium absorption
  • Helps maintain healthy heart function Supports restful sleep

That’s a lot of different roles – which means it’s really important to ensure you and your family are getting enough Magnesium each day.

How to get More Magnesium into your Diet

How to get More Magnesium into your Diet

The good news is that Magnesium occurs naturally in many of the staples of a healthy diet. Some of the richest food sources include:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. kale, spinach and silver beet)
  • A range of other fruits and veges (especially apricots, bananas and avocados)
  • Legumes (peas, beans and chickpeas) and nuts (especially almonds and cashews)
  • Soy and soy products
  • Whole grains
  • Milk and dairy products

How Much Magnesium do you Actually Need?

According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health guidelines, Kiwi men need between 400-420mg of elemental Magnesium each day, depending on their age. For women, the level is lower, 310-320mg (unless you’re pregnant, in which case the recommendation is 350-400mg). Again, the exact amount depends on your age.

Keep in mind that this recommendation is for your intake of elemental Magnesium from ALL sources: both food and supplements.

What Does “Elemental Magnesium” Mean?

If you look at different Magnesium supplements, you’ll notice something interesting about the way they’re labelled. Some will talk about total Magnesium content, where others only talk about “elemental Magnesium”. Here’s why knowing the difference between the two is important.

First off, understand that Magnesium doesn’t naturally exist on its own. Instead, it forms “salts” with other substances, for example Magnesium oxide, which is what you’ll see on a supplement label. The “elemental Magnesium” is then the amount of actual Magnesium within each salt.

For example, Magnesium oxide is about 60% Magnesium, which means that 400mg of Magnesium oxide only provides 241mg of actual elemental Magnesium. Other salts provide even lower percentages.

So if you want to know how much actual Magnesium is in your supplement, you need to know the amount of elemental Magnesium it contains.

Which Magnesium supplement is right for you?

There are a vast number of Magnesium supplements on the market. The right one for you will depend on the amount of elemental Magnesium you need, plus a host of other factors. Contact our expert Healtheries naturopaths 0800 848 254 to get personalised advice and recommendations on the best possible option for you.