OK so I get asked ALL the time where to start with magnesium supplementation. There is no one single “best” option – it all comes down to the individual and the need they are trying to fill.
Firstly, I would suggest for the most sensitive individuals especially, starting with magnesium only on your skin is likely to minimise reactions and start your body adjusting to having some magnesium available.
Epsom Salts can be sprinkled into a bath or even a bucket with some warm water (for a foot soak) and are a great way to help in detox’ing and short-term magnesium boost in the body. It DOES NOT help to replenish deficiencies to any large degree (being used up/flushed out of the body in a matter of a few hours)
Magnesium Flakes/Magnesium Chloride/Magnesium Oil can be used in the bath as well, or in liquid (magnesium chloride in water is magnesium “oil”, or you can put it into alcohol and make a less tingly, quicker drying ‘alcohol rub’ – see recipe here).
Oral – tablets
This area is absolutely huge, and no two people who know anything about magnesium, probably agree…
This is one summary of the types.
This is another…
My personal preference is for glycinate based chelates – my reading points me to this being one of the more gentle-on-the-stomach types which is also well absorbed. More below on what I have chosen to do for my family…
Doctors Best Magnesium from iherb is my ‘go to’ tablet these days…
Start with only one or two each day… take it slow. Try one before bed – if you have disturbed sleep, try one in the morning a day or so later. Most people will sleep better at night having had some magnesium… it will help to relax your muscles and promote quality sleep.
You may find that one morning and one at night works for you… or you may feel that you want to increase it some more beyond that. I would recommend getting guidance before adding too many tablets/capsules to your regime of any oral magnesium. Certain types WILL have a quicker laxative effect than others…!!
Oral – liquid
For Australian readers, Aussie Sea Minerals (ASM) are a very good way to get magnesium and many other good salts and trace elements into your body. International Readers can also purchase, but it may be branded as a different name in your locality.
I source my ASM at my local Health Food Store – so don’t be afraid to ask them if they can order it in. They may not stock it, but may do if there is demand.
There are other liquid magnesium supplements similar to ASM, but I am not personally familiar with them. Discuss with your health care provider or
Supporting your body when starting magnesium
You cannot launch yourself into taking a huge dose of magnesium because you decide you are really deficient. It will only make you feel sick and/or end you up on the toilet.
You should ease into it steadily – increase each week as the body adjusts. If you take a lot suddenly, your body will potentially pump out a lot of electrolytes to offset the sudden increase, and you may end up feeling dehydrated, with a headache and feeling very much like the magnesium was causing a reaction. It kind of was. Start slow, and increase in small steps.
Also, supporting your adrenal system sufficiently and consuming enough electrolytes is critical. Electrolytes are the salts which make your cells work. They go in and out of your cells continuously and allow transfers of all the important components in and out… not enough electrolytes = headaches, sickness and feeling pretty yuck!
Have you always had it drummed into you that salt is bad? Salt as most people refer to it (sodium) as well as other types of salts are absolutely critical to our body being able to function from day to day. I challenge anyone who blindly believes that salt is the sole cause of high blood pressure – and encourage you to read up on mineral imbalances and how much things like magnesium will naturally help to reduce BP.
This video gives an amazing insight into how salts and electrolytes are important to the body.
I use the ‘Adrenal Cocktail‘ a lot… its been a big part of my journey looking into mineral balancing – finding that my adrenal system was nearly exhausted when I was first tested in early 2014… and on its way to better health in late 2014/early 2015! I don’t need quite the same support now as I did when I started, but its really just changed (regular testing is important!).
But what do YOU supplement with Kristan?
My personal experience with introducing magnesium was back in about August 2013 and was taking a small amount of a basic magnesium supplement (to use up some I had purchased along the way to help with my aching neck!)… and then to add in just FOUR sprays of magnesium oil to my skin each day. I did that for one week, then upped it to SIX sprays per day.
Each night I would apply the sprays to the soles of my feet before bed. That’s it! I did have to deal with sheets which got the mag oil on it (later could be stopped by wearing socks, but I’ve never been a big sock-wearer at night)… but you know what, after 3 weeks, and only increasing to 8 sprays per night between my two feet… I had a baby who slept the whole night through, and I had never felt better sleep-wise!
NOTE: I had put *none* on her… it was all via me, and then her being a breastfed baby… nothing else was varying in our lives… we both ate the same food every… single… day… and if I stopped the magnesium, she would revert back.
I then gradually increased week by week with the spray, and from time to time I added some ‘Natures Own’ Magnesium capsules. One at a time, reducing the number of sprays of the mag oil I did each day for a while until I adjusted. I was very paranoid by this stage of not overdoing anything new (about 11 months of being on a very limited diet will teach you to be careful!)…
Within 6 months I was taking or applying 1000mg worth of elemental magnesium (ever heard the term “equivalent to xx mg elemental magnesium” ?), spread across three different forms of magnesium. I spread it through……
- Doctors Best Magnesium tablets (after I used up my Natures Own ones – cheaper from iherb and it has a combination of mag sources which I responded to extremely well)….
- Magnesium Oil (I ended up DIY my own with magnesium flakes + water)
- Aussie Sea Minerals
Please DO NOT start doing that amount of magnesium quickly nor without getting guidance. This is MY story, and it may not be something that will work for you.
HOW MUCH do I need to take?
The Magnesium Advocacy Group I am a part of on Facebook has discussed this topic many times – the amount to take. The general guideline discussed is a maintenance level of magnesium which is about 10x your weight in kilograms, in the unit of milligrams (mg) – so a 50kg person would look at needing a maintenance dose of 500mg of elemental magnesium. I am a lot heavier than 50kg, but no where near 100kg… but I found that I hit ‘gut tolerance’ (laxative effect) from oral magnesium when I got around 1000mg elemental magnesium between the three types I use. So this level is helping me to improve my deficiency and to feel in the best health I can be.
If I used one more of one type than the others, I wouldn’t feel as good and balanced. No matter how many times I hoped I could do it in a simpler way. That’s just how my body worked best at that stage (early 2013)… I have adjusted it along the way in times of stress increase (more mag!) or when I’m relaxed (less mag).
I still do a combination of all three each and every day. Now I can get away with missing some here or there and I’m ok, but if I don’t get doses fairly regularly over a matter of days, I will start to notice a dramatic change.
There are national guidelines on Magnesium, and I encourage you to review them if you are cautious on this. It is a LOT lower than what I have talked about here… and interestingly, those national guidelines are a LOT lower than what they were in days gone by. Say the 60’s? Since when have our needs for magnesium reduced?
To me it seems like its been easier to drop the recommended amounts and the ‘normal’ ranges for testing to reflect on the results being seen, not the actual amounts that the body needs nor what has been previously set for good reason!
A little note on children…
My children all get varying amounts of the same three magnesium sources… but they also get the magnesium flakes and epsom salts added to their bath water every single time they have a bath. The change in them when we consistently use it is amazing and warrants its regular use!
For everything except their baths, I still broadly use the guide of 10 x their weight in kg… so a 30kg child will need about 300mg of magnesium each day to MAINTAIN their magnesium levels, not to fix deficiencies…
It is safe to give them magnesium, but start small too and go up in smaller amounts.
HTMA or the like is highly recommended in my experience to make sure you give them co-factors of other things they may need beyond just magnesium.
Where to go beyond magnesium?
There is so much more to regaining health and balance in your body beyond magnesium… mineral balance is a complex part of the human body – it underlies every single part of how your body ticks! It is also very individual… so while we all need lots more magnesium as a general rule, we do NOT all need the same thing with other minerals and vitamins.
I have an extremely good personal experience and seen a huge change in our family from using Morley at gotmag.org for our consults. He has taught me so much and unlocked a massive amount of how our WHOLE family ticks health wise, all the way through to my Mum and her Mum…. Morley’s consults are more than just giving you a label of a certain diagnosis for Pyroluria or a syndrome or disease… he helps you understand your individual biochemistry and mineral “make-up” and where you need particular support.