Magnesium is the quintessential anti-stress nutrient, with far-reaching benefits for both mind and body.
Research from the USDA has shown that over 67% of us don't receive adequate magnesium each day, making a high-quality, high-absorption magnesium one of the most important supplements a person can take.
Recent research conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture found that over 67% of Americans fail to consume the recommended intake of magnesium each day. Our increasing reliance on nutrient-poor processed food is partly to blame, but because modern agricultural practices often deplete important nutrients like magnesium from the soil itself, even people who eat a healthy diet may still be at risk of a less-than-optimal magnesium intake.
And unfortunately, most nutritional supplements don't contain enough absorbable magnesium to help matters much. In fact, the widespread use of multivitamins and calcium/magnesium combination supplements may actually be making our magnesium status worse instead of better. Many such supplements contain two, three, or even four times as much calcium as magnesium, and while both calcium and magnesium are important nutrients, this sort of relative calcium excess is prone to interfere with the absorption and proper metabolism of magnesium.
Magnesium is an integral factor in over 300 enzymatic reactions throughout the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function*, helps to ease stress*, keeps heart rhythm steady*, supports a healthy immune system*, and aids calcium in keeping bones strong*. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels*, promotes normal blood pressure*, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis*. For all these reasons and many more, we at Integrated Supplements are proud to introduce Albion® Bio-Available Magnesium – a high–purity, high–absorption, stand–alone magnesium supplement aimed at helping to correct one of the most common, and most dangerous, nutritional shortcomings of our modern age.
To view this magnesium Q&A on a separate page, click here.
A. In the most general sense, magnesium can be thought of as an energy–enhancing, “anti–stress” nutrient beneficial for both mind and body.
Magnesium is a factor in over 325 enzymatic reactions throughout the body, and is an integral player in the production and utilization of cellular energy. Without sufficient magnesium, cells can’t produce the energy they need to adapt, and all manner of stress reactions are then amplified – i.e., nerves fire uncontrollably, inflammation increases, and cells throughout the body become prone to damage, destruction, and death.
In a more practical sense, a lack of magnesium can have a negative effect on mood and emotions. For this reason, magnesium supplementation has often been found to ease the mood–related symptoms of occasional stress, including irritability, fatigue, nervousness, or occasional sleeplessness. The stress–reducing effects of magnesium can also impart remarkable benefits upon physical performance as well. Many people find magnesium helpful for improving flexibility, reducing muscle soreness, and for alleviating muscle spasms and cramping.
In helping to counter the stress of athletic training, magnesium has also been found to reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and (in males) to increase the production of recovery–enhancing testosterone in response to exercise.
In the long–term, cumulative stresses on the body can manifest in numerous health disorders as well as the general degenerative effects of aging. It’s no coincidence that magnesium deficiency has been associated with disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, pregnancy complications, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue, migraine headaches, sleep disorders, seizure disorders, premenstrual syndrome, muscle cramping, arrhythmias, anxiety, and depression to name just a few.
Ultimately, every biological function depends, either directly or indirectly, upon the presence of sufficient magnesium – a fact which makes the widespread incidence of magnesium deficiency in industrialized nations all the more alarming.
A. Research shows that most of us (even if we try to consume a healthy diet) are falling far short of meeting even our bare minimum magnesium requirements. Our current magnesium intake falls far below historical levels as well. Researchers have estimated that before the year 1900, the average daily magnesium intake in the United States was around 450 mg. But recently, the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from the years 1999 and 2000 found that the average daily intake of magnesium is currently nearly a third less than these levels. The survey found that almost 68% of modern Americans may not be consuming the recommended amount of magnesium each day, and nineteen percent of those surveyed failed to consume even half of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for magnesium.
Although magnesium intake is often dangerously low in industrialized nations, overt magnesium deficiency is rarely diagnosed because the body can maintain serum levels of magnesium within a normal range by robbing magnesium from other tissues such as the brain, heart, and bones. Ultimately, however, if our intake of magnesium is inadequate to supply all tissues of the body, there are certain to be negative consequences for overall health.
A. Some of the early signs of inadequate magnesium intake are mood–related, and can include anxiety, hyperexcitability, irritability, fatigue, and depression. A lack of magnesium can also lead to headaches, muscle tightness, muscle cramping, and muscle spasms. Considering that magnesium is in high demand during any type of physical exercise, athletes are known to require magnesium to maintain muscle mass and fuel performance. Many athletes with sub–optimal magnesium intakes notice that their performance, strength, and level of muscle mass suffer as a result.
But these are merely some of the most noticeable effects of a sub–optimal magnesium intake. It’s important to remember that many of the more insidious effects of magnesium deficiency may not cause any outwardly noticeable symptoms at all. For example, magnesium deficiency has been linked with many of the manifestations of heart disease – elevations in cholesterol, triglycerides, and the “silent killer,” high blood pressure, can all sometimes be caused by magnesium deficiency.
A. Magnesium deficiency can manifest in different symptoms in different people. A lack of magnesium in one person, for example, could lead to anxiety–like symptoms, whereas a lack of magnesium in another person could lead to fatigue or depression–like symptoms. But while these symptoms may seem to be opposites of one another, the underlying biology is amazingly similar – both depression and anxiety are characterized by cellular stress and inefficient cellular energy production.
We know that magnesium acts as an “anti–stress” nutrient, so it makes sense that magnesium helps to counter the negative effects of one of the body’s main stress hormones, adrenaline. Of course, the relationship between adrenaline and anxiety is easy to grasp, but it’s important to note as well that even depression – although it may manifest with the outward symptoms of lethargy, fatigue, and apathy – is, in fact, characterized by significantly elevated levels of adrenaline and related stress hormones:
Quote from the above study:
The total resting plasma catecholamine concentration from 13 drugfree, depressed patients was found to be significantly elevated over concentrations from 47 normal controls. Differential determinations of epinephrine and norepinephrine revealed that both catecholamine components were elevated in the Patients.
Magnesium is neither a stimulant nor a sedative, but is a very important nutritional component of proper energy production in cells throughout the body. This helps to explain why magnesium can have such a normalizing effect on all aspects of mood, energy levels, and overall health.
A. Even many health–conscious supplement users may have a false sense of security when it comes to their true magnesium status. Millions of Americans currently take multivitamin / multimineral supplements, but even these products are probably not improving overall magnesium levels. Researchers have noted that even multivitamins containing magnesium (most of which only contain around 50 to 100 milligrams of magnesium, and usually in a form that’s relatively poorly absorbed) would be unlikely to help people reach the RDI for magnesium:
Quote from the above study:
…if one assumes that everyone who indicated that they used a supplement consumed 100 mg of magnesium every day, the resulting upper–bound median total magnesium concentrations would increase by as little as 15 mg/d among African American men aged 20–30 y and as much as 76 mg/d among Caucasian women aged 51–70 y. Even then, none of the upper–bound median magnesium intakes of any sex, race and age group reached the RDA.
In essence, it’s a safe bet that most people still aren’t taking in nearly enough magnesium each day – even if they take multivitamin / multimineral supplements.
A. Probably not. Most calcium & magnesium combination supplements contain at least twice as much calcium as magnesium, and some of these products even contain up to 4 or 5 times as much calcium as magnesium. Numerous human studies have shown that high intakes of calcium such as this can actually inhibit magnesium absorption:
Quote from the above study:
High dietary Ca/Mg ratios interfere with Mg absorption, partially because Ca and Mg share a common intestinal absorption pathway… Vitamin D favours Ca over Mg absorption.
Some studies also show that when calcium intake is in significant excess of magnesium intake, magnesium is excreted from the body at an accelerated rate. The following study found that at the intake of approximately 1000 mg of calcium per day, 250–300 mg of magnesium was insufficient to maintain magnesium status:
Quote from the above study:
Most of the individual and all of the mean magnesium retention values were negative, indicating that the magnesium content of the diet (250–300 mg/day) was not adequate for the subjects.
Ultimately, many calcium supplements may worsen magnesium status, even if they contain magnesium.
A. The “textbook” list of magnesium–containing foods often includes things like whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables – but most people, of course, never get around to researching exactly how much magnesium these foods actually contain. More often than not, the magnesium content of these foods is merely a small fraction of what is needed daily – so even if these foods comprise a significant portion of the diet, magnesium intake can easily still be inadequate.
For example, according to data from the USDA National Nutrient Database, a slice of “whole wheat” bread contains 12 milligrams of magnesium – a mere 3% of the RDI (incidentally, a slice of white bread contains only 6 milligrams of magnesium).
Because magnesium is a component of the green plant pigment, chlorophyll, green leafy vegetables are often said to be good sources of magnesium as well. But a serving (85 grams) of romaine lettuce also contains a mere 12 milligrams of magnesium – far less than many people assume.
Nuts do fare a bit better as far as their magnesium content is concerned, but it's always important to assess foods based upon all of their component elements. For example, an ounce of almonds will contain 77 milligrams of magnesium – a respectable 19% of the RDI. But almonds (and most nuts, in general) also contain a particularly high amount phytates – substances which may greatly compromise mineral absorption.
In addition, most nuts also contain high amounts of pro–inflammatory omega–6 fats. Most people in the Western world already consume these fats in gross excess of the body's requirements, so consuming a large amount of nuts to obtain magnesium probably isn't an optimal solution – especially considering that these pro–inflammatory fats can directly compromise magnesium status.
A. It’s not likely. Assessing our true magnesium status through laboratory blood testing is rarely done – and even when it is done, the test results often don’t mean what they seem to. It has been estimated that up to 99% of the magnesium in our body is stored in bone or inside the cells of our tissues. The most common serum blood tests for magnesium merely measure a portion of the 1% of magnesium floating around outside of our cells. The body keeps serum levels of magnesium remarkably constant – even if it needs to rob magnesium from other tissues, like the bones, brain, or heart, to do so.
Animal studies have shown, for example, that serum levels of magnesium sometimes actually rise in response to stress – a clear indication that the body is mobilizing magnesium from its intracellular stores to keep blood levels of magnesium constant. Tests which measure intracellular magnesium content (the magnesium inside cells) are far more accurate, but these tests are very rarely done. It’s for this reason that sub–optimal magnesium intake is a problem which is rarely addressed at all by the medical community.
A. In a word, no. Most magnesium supplements found at drugstores and many health food stores contain predominantly magnesium sources such as magnesium oxide, magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, or magnesium citrate. These forms of magnesium are relatively poorly absorbed when taken in high doses, and are often used as laxatives for this reason (the ingestion of magnesium citrate liquid is often recommended as part of the bowel–prep procedure before colonoscopy, for example).
When ingested in high doses, the largely unabsorbed magnesium from these sources attracts a large amount of water into the gastrointestinal tract which is responsible for the laxative effect. As important as magnesium supplementation is for overall health, many people are wary of magnesium supplements simply because they’ve experienced unwanted effects from these types of magnesium preparations.
To reap the full health benefits of magnesium, however, it’s important that the magnesium supplement we chose be well–absorbed into the bloodstream and into the body’s cells (i.e., bioavailable). Some forms of magnesium have been shown to be well–absorbed, and therefore tend not to cause the stomach upset and laxative effect often associated with high doses of magnesium oxide, carbonate, chloride, and citrate.
A. Recent research conducted by Albion® Nutrition – the world leader in the science of mineral nutrition – examined the absorption of several different types of magnesium. Their study found that buffered magnesium glycinate chelate and dimagnesium malate were better–absorbed than both unbuffered magnesium glycinate and magnesium oxide. Average serum levels of magnesium after the ingestion of each compound is shown in the chart below.
It’s particularly interesting to see that the buffered form of magnesium glycinate chelate was found to be better–absorbed than the unbuffered version of magnesium glycinate. Some companies within the nutritional supplement industry tout the fact that their magnesium supplements contain only unbuffered magnesium chelates, but this research simply doesn’t support the superiority of this form.
A. A mineral chelate is the term used to describe a mineral which has been chemically bonded to another substance in a specific fashion. In the context of nutritional supplements, a mineral amino acid chelate is a mineral chelated to an amino acid to facilitate the mineral’s absorption. Chelation is a natural process, and our body is able to produce mineral amino acid chelates, to some extent, by combining inorganic minerals in the diet with proteins / amino acids from the foods we eat. But many of the foods we eat can actually interfere with this process, as they contain substances which may inhibit mineral absorption (phytic acid, found in many grains, and oxalic acid, found in spinach, for example are well–known inhibitors of mineral absorption).
Additionally, inorganic mineral salts (e.g., magnesium in the oxide, sulfate, or chloride forms) may often compete with one another for absorption (high amounts of calcium, for example, may inhibit magnesium absorption as shown above). Consuming mineral amino acid chelates directly (as dietary supplements) is a way to ensure that minerals will be absorbed into the bloodstream and the body’s cells with much less interference from other dietary components.
A. No, all mineral amino acid chelates are not the same. First off, some products marketed as “mineral amino acid chelates” may not be true chelates at all, but simply inorganic trace minerals mixed with soy or another source of powdered protein. True chelation, however, is a very specific chemical process and the production of fully–reacted chelated minerals requires a great deal of chemical precision and expertise.
Additionally, many different types of true amino acid mineral chelates exist depending upon which amino acid the trace mineral is combined with. Magnesium amino acid chelates, for example, include magnesium glycinate (magnesium bound to the amino acid, glycine) magnesium aspartate (magnesium bound to the amino acid, aspartic acid) and so forth.
So, the choice of which mineral amino acid chelate is best must take into account the biological effects of the amino acid to which the mineral is bound. Because of the many cell–protective, anti–inflammatory, and anti–stress actions of the amino acid, glycine, we believe that magnesium glycinate chelate is among the best forms of supplemental magnesium available.
A. Glycine is the smallest and simplest of the twenty amino acids commonly found in proteins. Glycine is remarkably safe – even when consumed in high doses, and has been studied for its cell–protecting and anti–inflammatory effects.
Quote from the above study:
Glycine protects against shock caused by hemorrhage, endotoxin and sepsis, prevents ischemia/reperfusion and cold storage/reperfusion injury to a variety of tissues and organs including liver, kidney, heart, intestine and skeletal muscle, and diminishes liver and renal injury caused by hepatic and renal toxicants and drugs. Glycine also protects against peptidoglycan polysaccharide–induced arthritis and inhibits gastric secretion and protects the gastric mucosa against chemically and stress–induced ulcers.
A. Magnesium malate, which is magnesium bound to malic acid, seems to be another physiologically–sound form of supplemental magnesium.
The health of the entire human organism is ultimately dependent upon the efficient production of energy within the body’s cells. Cells which produce energy efficiently add up to form tissues and organs which function optimally, which naturally leads to an energetic and resilient body overall.
Of course, there are many nutritional substances which play important roles in facilitating efficient cellular energy production. Magnesium is an important one, of course, and so too may be the alpha hydroxy acid known as malic acid.
A. Malic acid is a natural constituent of many fruits and vegetables and is one of a group of organic acids known as alpha hydroxy acids. In addition to its presence in food, our body can also produce malic acid as an energy substrate through the citric acid (aka Kreb’s) cycle.
Biochemically speaking, when cells are using oxygen properly, and producing energy efficiently, the cytosolic level of the energy–producing coenzyme, NAD+ is far higher than that of the reduced form of the same coenzyme, known as NADH. Under the stress of low–oxygen conditions (i.e., anaerobic conditions) however, when cells are producing energy inefficiently (i.e., producing a higher percentage of energy via glycolysis), the level of NADH in the cytosol rises, leading, for example, to the production of lactic acid – a substance most people recognize as the metabolic product of fatigued, energy–drained cells.
One of the jobs of malic acid, however, is to shuttle electrons from NADH into the energy–producing mitochondria – where they are used to stimulate oxidative phosphorylation (i.e., healthy, aerobic, oxygen–using, energy production which takes place in the mitochondria).
The biochemistry may be a little tough to follow, but it’s important to simply realize that many pathologic and degenerative conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and fibromyalgia, are characterized by inefficient mitochondrial energy production which mimics low–oxygen, or hypoxic conditions. Malic acid may help to reverse this hypoxia, and restore proper mitochondrial function, and energy production.
Interestingly, malic acid and malic acid bound to magnesium (i.e., magnesium malate) have been utilized with some success in disorders of energy production such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Malic acid and magnesium malate have also been used by athletes to improve endurance. Because both magnesium and malic acid play integral roles in proper energy production, the combination of the two makes for a nearly ideal compound for supplementation.
A. Magnesium aspartate is a mineral amino acid chelate containing magnesium bound to the amino acid known as aspartate or aspartic acid. Many nutritional supplements contain magnesium aspartate, but there are several potential problems which could arise from its consumption.
Aspartate is known to be an excitatory neurotransmitter (i.e., a brain chemical that stimulates neurons to fire). At high doses, however, it can potentially stimulate neurons to the point of injury or cell death. Excitotoxicity is the term used in the scientific literature to describe this sort of neuronal damage caused by excessive excitatory–amino–acid signaling.
For decades, controversy has raged regarding the possible toxicity of excitatory amino acids (e.g., aspartate and glutamate) found in food additives like MSG (which contains glutamate) and the artificial sweetener, aspartame (which contains aspartate).
Most people – only familiar with amino acids as the “building blocks” of protein – fail to see how some of these simple “nutrients” can cause harm when ingested in high doses. But it’s important to remember that protein–rich foods generally contain a diverse array of amino acids. The “competition” for absorption between various amino acids in foods usually ensures that the excitatory amino acids don’t rise to potentially–dangerous levels in the blood stream.
However, when excitatory amino acids are consumed either independent of, or above and beyond other protein–containing foods (e.g., as components of food additives or nutritional supplements like magnesium aspartate), the blood level of these amino acids may indeed rise to one capable of causing harm. As such, the often–heard mantra that excitatory amino acids are “found in food” bears little relation to their potential toxicity.
Of course, our bodies do have some defenses to protect the brain and its neurons from the neuro–active amino acids we ingest. The blood–brain barrier acts as a selective filter which largely regulates the level of excitatory amino acids in the brain – but even this defense is less–than–perfect.
Some structures of the brain, including, and especially, the hypothalamus – which is involved in regulating things such as appetite, emotions, energy levels, and hormonal balance – aren’t protected by the blood–brain barrier. Animal studies have shown that when glutamate and aspartate were added to the water of laboratory mice, the mice voluntarily ingested enough of these substances to cause brain (hypothalamic) damage:
Quote from the above study:
It has been argued…that [glutamate] and [aspartate] are safe for human use as food additives since tube feeding is not a natural means of oral intake and efforts to demonstrate the brain damage in animals from voluntary ingestion of [glutamate] or [aspartate] have yielded negative results thus far. Here we demonstrate that weanling mice will voluntarily ingest large enough volumes of aqueous solutions containing [glutamate] or [aspartate] (or both) to sustain conspicuous hypothalamic damage.
The use of magnesium aspartate as a magnesium source seems all the more ironic and ill–advised due to the fact that magnesium is a major nutrient needed to counter the neuronal excitation, and potential damage caused by aspartate. Theoretically, at least, those with low magnesium levels are those most apt to be susceptible to the harmful effects of aspartate. In other words, people who may need magnesium the most (i.e., epileptics, and those suffering from migraines, depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue et al.) are among the last people who should be consuming additional aspartate.
For example, while magnesium has been shown to reduce seizure activity in many studies, some evidence suggests that excitatory amino acids from aspartame (again, a source of aspartate) may induce EEG changes concomitant with seizures in certain epileptics:
Quote from the above study:
Aspartame appears to exacerbate the amount of EEG spike wave in children with absence seizures.
And while magnesium has been shown to be potentially very beneficial for those with fibromyalgia, aspartate and other excitatory amino acids may worsen the condition. As evidence, we find case reports in the scientific literature showing that the avoidance of dietary “excitotoxins” (such as aspartate) may offer relief from fibromyalgia symptoms:
Furthermore, while magnesium has often been shown to improve depressive symptoms, studies have found that aspartame may significantly worsen depression. In the following study, for example, the depression–exacerbating effects of aspartame were so severe that the experiment was halted early for ethical reasons:
Quote from the above study:
Although the protocol required the recruitment of 40 patients with unipolar depression and a similar number of individuals without a psychiatric history, the project was halted by the Institutional Review Board after a total of 13 individuals had completed the study because of the severity of reactions within the group of patients with a history of depression.
Along these same lines, and as relates specifically to magnesium aspartate, researchers investigating the use of magnesium in treating major depression have noted cases in which the aspartate form of magnesium actually worsened depression, whereas the glycinate and taurinate forms had markedly beneficial effects on depressive symptoms:
Quote from the above study:
Magnesium glutamate and magnesium aspartate greatly worsened the 59–year old man’s depression…These magnesium compounds should be considered as neurotoxic to depressives, and perhaps all people, and should not be used during treatment of depression, anxiety or similar hyperemotional disorders.
Ultimately, with magnesium glycinate and magnesium malate being highly bioavailable – and with each offering health benefits above and beyond the magnesium they contain – consuming the aspartate form of magnesium simply constitutes an unnecessary health risk.
A. Albion® is the world leader in the production of the highest–quality mineral supplements available – including the magnesium glycinate and magnesium malate used in Integrated Supplements Bio–Available Magnesium.
We’ve already seen how some forms of minerals are better–absorbed and more bioavailable than others – but that’s just the beginning. Also important to consider are the potential impurities which may be found in mineral raw materials.
Many of the mineral raw materials currently being used in nutritional supplements contain levels of lead and other impurities which are simply unacceptable to us at Integrated Supplements. Recently, for example, one of the most popular magnesium supplements on the market was independently tested, and (when taken in the higher range of the recommended dose) was found to contain levels of lead in excess of the state of California’s limit of 0.5 mcg – the amount, above which, the state of California requires a warning label to protect consumers.
Albion® minerals are continually tested, and have been found to be among the purest mineral sources available anywhere on earth. To prove it, certificates of analysis for the actual Albion® raw materials used in Integrated Supplements Bio–Available Magnesium are linked below:
With product contamination being a major problem within the nutritional supplement industry, consumers of any mineral supplements would be well–served to seek out certificates of analysis to ensure that the raw materials being used are free from unacceptable levels of heavy metals and other contaminants.
A. Yes, we have very significant concerns with the use of black pepper extract in nutritional supplements. Within the realm of nutritional supplements, an extract of black pepper, called piperine (or, called by various trade names) is often added to nutritional supplements “to improve absorption” or “to improve bioavailability.” But it’s important to investigate exactly how piperine achieves this effect. The research which exists on piperine shows that this substance acts by inhibiting major detoxifying proteins such as P–glycoprotein and CYP3A4. This mechanism of action would allow many substances (not just nutrients) to enter the bloodstream in higher amounts – which is serious reason for concern.
The detoxifying proteins which piperine inhibits are relatively non–specific, and as such, piperine is very likely to impair the body’s ability to metabolize other drugs, endogenous hormones, and environmental toxins. Inhibiting the function of detoxifying proteins, therefore, is likely to have unpredictable (and potentially dangerous) effects:
Quote from the above study:
In summary, we showed that piperine inhibits both the drug transporter P–glycoprotein and the major drug–metabolizing enzyme CYP3A4. Because both proteins are expressed in enterocytes and hepatocytes and contribute to a major extent to first–pass elimination of many drugs, our data indicate that dietary piperine could affect plasma concentrations of P–glycoprotein and CYP3A4 substrates in humans, in particular if these drugs are administered orally.
As a frame of reference, compounds in grapefruit (and grapefruit juice) impair CYP3A4 similarly to pepper extract. This is responsible for the well–known “grapefruit effect” – i.e., the observation that drug metabolism is often dangerously altered when taken with grapefruit, or grapefruit juice. As testament to the fact that natural components of food can have negative consequences insofar as they alter detoxification (of estrogens in this case), some studies have found an increased risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women who consume grapefruit juice:
Quote from the above study:
Grapefruit intake may increase the risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women.
Especially considering the fact that those with poor detoxifying ability and chemical sensitivities are likely to benefit greatly from magnesium supplementation, adding a substance which specifically inhibits cellular detoxification seems illogical and counter–productive to say the least.
In some limited contexts (usually the context of marketing), “improving the bioavailability” of substances may seem beneficial. But in any truly meaningful biological context it’s likely that we’ll want to avoid substances like pepper extracts which achieve this end by inhibiting our body’s detoxifying mechanisms.
A. What little research exists on the topic seems to indicate that they are not. Some research has even found that sustained release magnesium formulas are more poorly absorbed than immediate–release formulas. To understand why this was the case, we need to understand two major factors in determining magnesium absorption:
1. The solubility of the magnesium source (i.e., how easily the substance will dissolve in water / intestinal contents). Generally, the greater the solubility, the greater the absorption.
2. Once the magnesium source is ingested and dissolved, absorption is dependent upon how much surface area of the intestines it comes in contact with (generally, the greater intestinal surface area dissolved magnesium is exposed to, the better the absorption).
The following study found that the absorption of magnesium from enteric–coated (sustained–release) magnesium chloride supplements was 67% less than the absorption of magnesium delivered in gelatin capsules (immediate–release). The researchers reasoned that because sustained–release pills take longer to break down, less of the surface area of the intestines will be exposed to dissolved magnesium, so absorption will naturally be lower.
Quote from the above study:
We chose to study MgAc [magnesium acetate] in gelatin capsules so that Mg would be quickly presented to the intestine in a soluble (absorbable) state… We also found that Mg absorption from enteric–coated Mg chloride (Slow–Mag®) on average was 67% less than from MgAc in gelatin capsules. Since it is not likely that chloride and acetate influenced Mg absorption directly, our results suggest that the enteric coating on Slow–Mag® tablets (cellulose acetate phthalate) reduced Mg bioavailability. This could be explained by the fact that cellulose acetate phthalate requires a 3–5–h exposure to gastrointestinal contents before pill contents are completely expelled; this delay would presumably reduce the small bowel absorptive area to which ingested Mg is exposed, and consequently reduce absorption.
A. There may be. Most supplement consumers have a tendency to ignore the various tablet–binding, and capsule–filler ingredients used in dietary supplements, but there may be reason to avoid some of these additives if at all possible.
Including things such as:
Magnesium stearate – a lubricant often used to facilitate the production of nutritional supplement pills. Some evidence suggests that magnesium stearate may inhibit or delay the absorption of some nutrients. Magnesium stearate is derived from industrial edible oil production, and some have expressed concern that hydrogenated oil catalysts and pesticides may be present in the ingredient.
Titanium dioxide – a white dye used in the production of some tablet and capsule products. Some evidence from animal research suggests that “ultra–fine” or nano–sized particles of titanium dioxide are able to be absorbed into the bloodstream when taken orally. High doses, as administered in the following study, were found to impart some degree of toxicity to the liver, kidneys and heart:
Quote from the above study:
The changes of serum biochemical parameters (ALT/AST, LDH) and pathology (hydropic degeneration around the central vein and the spotty necrosis of hepatocytes) of liver indicated that the hepatic injury was induced after exposure to mass different–sized TiO 2 particles. In addition, the nephrotoxicity like increased BUN level and pathology change of kidneys was also observed in the experimental groups. The significant change of serum LDH and alpha–HBDH in 25 and 80 nm groups showed the myocardial damage compared with the control group…Biodistribution experiment showed that TiO2 [titanium dioxide] mainly retained in the liver, spleen, kidneys, and lung tissues, which indicated that TiO2 particles could be transported to other tissues and organs after uptake by gastrointestinal tract.
Generally there’s no way to tell what size particle of titanium dioxide is used in any given product, so we feel that it’s prudent to avoid this ingredient whenever possible.
Calcium carbonate – In the context of magnesium supplements, calcium–containing fillers and binders such as calcium carbonate should probably be avoided simply because calcium may inhibit magnesium absorption.
A. Some people take magnesium before bed to improve their quality of sleep, but others take it in the morning or during the day – especially if they’re under stress or generally "high–strung." Magnesium can have a calming effect in this context, but it's definitely not a sedative. It can even be taken pre–workout because both magnesium and the malate (as magnesium malate) have been shown to improve endurance and exercise recovery.
Because of its superior absorption, Integrated Supplements Bio–Available Magnesium can be taken either with or without food.
A. In general, we recommend that 300 milligrams of elemental magnesium be consumed per day from magnesium supplements (this is the amount in 2 capsules of Integrated Supplements Bio–Available Magnesium). The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine has set the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for supplemental magnesium at 350 mg/day – the dose at which negative (gastrointestinal) side effects are unlikely to occur (although, again, gastrointestinal side effects will be exceedingly rare if the forms of magnesium taken are highly bioavailable).
There are many circumstances, however, under which certain individuals may require more magnesium from supplements. There are also those individuals (i.e., those with kidney dysfunction) who should practice extra caution with magnesium supplements. In these instances, magnesium supplementation should be undertaken with medical supervision.
A. Magnesium can be a very important nutrient during pregnancy. For this reason, the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of magnesium for pregnant women is a bit higher than for non–pregnant women.
Magnesium RDI during pregnancy:
18 years and younger – 400 mg
19–30 years – 350 mg
31 years and older – 360 mg
The toxemias of pregnancy (eclampsia and pre–eclampsia), for which symptoms include high blood pressure and seizures, are often treated medically with forms of magnesium, and women at risk for premature delivery have been found to exhibit low serum magnesium levels:
Quote from the above study:
Pregnancy is marked by a state of hypomagnesemia… Patients in preterm labor have a significantly depressed serum magnesium level.
We are really beginning to get great reports on the magnesium. I’m so glad, I have been referring clients to magnesium for a long time, but because of the forms available out there, people were not getting very good results until now with yours.
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