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A guide to magnesium supplements

Magnesium is an essential mineral for our bodies and plays an important role in over 300 of our body’s biochemical reactions. It helps to:

  • Build bones
  • Maintain energy levels
  • Keep nerves functioning
  • Regulate blood sugar levels
  • Fuel the heart and brain

Your body does not produce magnesium so it’s important to consume it through natural supplementation or food sources. Magnesium plays such a key role in so many of your body’s processes, being deficient can cause a wide range of symptoms.

This guide will take a look at different types of magnesium supplementation, how they can help you, why you should take them and how you should take them.

In this guide:

  • Magnesium Deficiency
  • Dose Recommendations
  • Magnesium Formulations
  • What is Transdermal Magnesium?
  • Types of Transdermal Magnesium
  • Epsom Salts vs Dead Sea Salts vs Magnesium Flakes
  • Benefits of Magnesium
  • Vital Vitamins for Health

What is Magnesium Deficiency?

The most common cause of a magnesium deficiency is not getting enough through your diet. This could be due to eating processed fats and refined sugar, which can reduce absorption. Or it could be simply from not eating enough magnesium rich foods.

It can be tricky to know when your levels are low but the signs include:

  • Poor sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Irregular heartbeat

A deficiency can be rectified by:

What is a Safe Dosage of Magnesium to Take?

If you think you may be deficient in this vital mineral, you may choose to take a supplement. However, you may still be unsure of how safe supplements are and how much you should be taking.

Magnesium is completely safe to take as a supplement as long as you don’t exceed the recommended dosage for your age. As with any supplement, there are different recommended doses for adults and children.

However, maximum dosages are only recommended for products that can be taken orally and not magnesium creams, flakes or sprays. This is because oral supplements act as a natural relaxant and can have a laxative effect when taken in large doses.

Public Health England recommends the following magnesium doses:

Age Recommended daily dose of magnesium
Adults 300mg
Pregnant women 400mg
Children aged 15-18 300mg
Children aged 11-14 280mg
Children aged 7-10 200mg
Children aged 4-6 120mg
Children aged 1-3 85mg
Children aged 7-12 months 75mg
Children aged up to 6 months 30mg

How Can Magnesium Be Taken?

Magnesium is available in tablet form, but many people find it unpleasant or difficult to swallow tablets and would prefer an alternative.

There are many other alternatives, with transdermal forms such as:

These are all options for those who do not want to swallow tablets or for children who find it difficult to take tablets and do not get enough nutrients in their diet.

What is Transdermal Magnesium?

Instead of taking tablets, magnesium can also be taken transdermally. Transdermal application means that the active ingredient in the supplement travels through the skin to reach the blood flow and be distributed around the body.

Transdermal magnesium is available in the form of gels, sprays, and lotions. By bypassing the digestive system, they allow for the supplement to be absorbed quickly and more effectively than tablet form.

The benefits of topical magnesium include:

  • Easy to apply
  • Bypasses the digestive system
  • Universally acceptable and suitable for those with malabsorption issues
  • Avoids laxative effect of high oral supplementation doses

3 Beneficial Types of Transdermal Magnesium

With a wide range of forms, you’ll find products for children and to aid sleep. All methods are as effective as each other and the form you choose depends on your own preference.

Magnesium Flakes

Magnesium flakes are a highly concentrated form of magnesium chloride, a completely natural form of the mineral. Adding flakes to a bath or footbath and relaxing for at least 20 minutes will allow your body to absorb and replenish your nutrient levels. Magnesium flakes are also effective as sleep supplements as they help to relax your body ready for rest and may help you to get a more peaceful night’s sleep.

Magnesium Sprays

Magnesium sprays provide a quick and effective way to replenish your body’s levels. Sprays can be taken anywhere to boost magnesium They can help relaxation and muscle relief, which are hugely beneficial for sleep and exercise. When sprayed directly onto your skin, the magnesium will immediately begin to absorb.

The key benefits of sprays include:

  • A quick way to replenish levels
  • Can be used on the move
  • Helps bones absorb calcium
  • Relieves muscle tension and speeds up recovery time
  • Allows for restful sleep

Magnesium Creams

Similarly to sprays, magnesium creams can be applied anywhere on your skin, avoiding your eyes and broken or damaged skin.

Lotions are ideal for a variety of purposes:

  • To be used before/after exercise to support bone and muscle health
  • To aid sleep by slowing sensory activity and quieting the mind
  • For healthier looking skin by moisturising and hydrating skin

The Key Benefits of Magnesium

Due to the huge role magnesium plays in many of our body’s processes, supplements can have a range of benefits.

What Effect Can Magnesium Have on Sleep?

A magnesium deficiency can lead to disrupted sleep as a lack of the mineral can have a detrimental effect on how your body winds down to fall asleep. It could also cause you to wake throughout the night. Having sufficient magnesium can help poor sleep

Magnesium works alongside melatonin (a hormone your body produces naturally) to control your body clock and sleep-wake cycles. It helps to relax your nervous system in preparation for sleep. Taking magnesium is perfect as a sleep aids because:

  • According to a recent study, the mineral helped 92% of people to sleep better
  • They help to relax muscles
  • They keep your mood stable and limit stress

How Magnesium Helps Muscle Tension

Magnesium is necessary for relaxing muscles and muscle function, working alongside other minerals in your body. If you’re deficient, you may find that you suffer from muscle aches and pains.

Magnesium can help to relax your muscles after exercise by reducing the build-up of lactic acid and helping your muscles to get the oxygen they need. Lacking this mineral in your body puts you more at risk of suffering muscle:

  • Spasms (especially in the legs or feet)
  • Tightness
  • Aches
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

How do Flakes Compare to Epsom Salts and Dead Sea Salts?

Magnesium Flakes vs. Epsom Salts

Both magnesium flakes and Epsom salts are made from magnesium and are used in the bath. However, there are subtle differences between them, which you should be aware of to gain the full benefits of both products.

Epsom salts are:

  • Made of magnesium sulphate
  • Sourced from naturally occurring springs or synthetic materials

Magnesium flakes are:

  • Made from a pure and natural magnesium chloride solution. 
  • The solution has been heated up and cooled to create a hard sheet of highly concentrated magnesium chloride that is broken down to create flakes.

The main difference between the two products is the way in which they’re absorbed by your body. The magnesium chloride in flakes is more easily absorbed by the skin. The high solubility of magnesium chloride allows the compounds to break their bonds and travel into your bloodstream. The mineral in the flakes can be much more easily absorbed and utilised by your body in comparison to using Epsom salts.

Magnesium Flakes vs Dead Sea Salts

While Dead Sea salts contain magnesium, they are also rich in other minerals such as potassium, calcium and bromide. Dead Sea salts have a reputation for their healing properties and are sold within skincare products and products promoting general good health.

The key difference between the two products is the concentration of magnesium. Magnesium flakes are purely made from the mineral alone, but Dead Sea salts contain other minerals too.

So, if you want to focus on the benefits of magnesium, Dead Sea salts will be much less effective than magnesium flakes.

Can Magnesium be Taken Alongside Other Vitamins & Minerals?

Vitamins and minerals are used for a wide range of bodily functions and most work together for the best effect. So, if you’re deficient in one vitamin or mineral, you may not see the full effects of taking supplements.

It’s useful to know which nutrients work together and which are helpful to each other as some require the help of others to absorb properly and others can hinder absorption. Magnesium works alongside other vitamins and minerals to best help your health. 

How do Vitamin D and Magnesium Work Together?

Magnesium and vitamin D are two of the key vitamins that work together. Magnesium has a huge effect on the amount of vitamin D our bodies are able to make so it’s important that adequate levels of both are maintained. You can do this through vitamin D supplements

While our bodies produce vitamin D, it’s not effective unless it can be converted into a form that your body can absorb. The level to which a vitamin or mineral can be absorbed is known as its bioavailability. Vitamin D’s bioavailability is all dependent on magnesium which helps to convert it into its active form calcitriol.

Vitamin D has a number of important functions:

  • Improves your body’s calcium absorption (calcium levels have an influence on how you absorb magnesium)
  • Enables your immune system to function properly, protecting you from illnesses such as the common cold
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Aids in the growth and development of bones and teeth
  • Helps keep muscles healthy

If left unconverted due to low magnesium, vitamin D can increase calcium levels rather than regulate them. This stimulates your hormones to draw the mineral out of your bones (where it’s needed) and deposit it in the soft tissues such as arteries.

How Do Vitamin B and Magnesium Work Together?

Unlike other vitamins, B vitamins do not compete for absorption. In fact, they work in tandem to:

Vitamin B and magnesium work in tandem to:

  • Promote normal function of the nervous system and normal psychological function
  • Contribute to energy yielding metabolism
  • Reduce tiredness and fatigue

Both B vitamins and magnesium help your body to break food down and convert it into energy which helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Benefits of vitamin B include:

  • Fighting fatigue
  • Helping with digestion
  • Improving cognitive function

Magnesium and Zinc

Zinc is another of the minerals your body needs to stay healthy. Taken together and in the right doses, magnesium and zinc can work to each other’s advantage. They work together so well, there are a huge number of oral supplements that combine the two.

Magnesium helps to regulate your body’s zinc levels while zinc enables it to absorb magnesium more efficiently.

Your body needs zinc for a number of reasons:

  • To produce enzymes that catalyse vital chemical reactions
  • Process protein, carbohydrates and fat in food
  • Helping to heal wounds
  • Boost immune system function
  • Support protein and DNA synthesis
  • Maintain bones
  • Play a role in the growth and division of cells

Magnesium and Calcium

While your body needs a range of essential minerals, calcium is the most abundant, with most of it stored in your bones and teeth.

Magnesium and calcium are crucial for bone health and enables bones to develop and grow as well as slow the decline of bone density as you get older.

Calcium also contributes to normal:

  • Muscle function
  • Blood clotting
  • Neurotransmission
  • Digestive enzyme function

Your body doesn’t rely solely on magnesium to absorb calcium. However, without it calcium can become toxic and deposit itself in soft tissues, kidneys, arteries and cartilage rather than in your bones where it has the greatest benefit.

The Best Vitamins and Minerals to Take for Your Body 

Keeping a balance of minerals and vitamins in your diet and through food supplements will help to boost your immune system, support development and growth and help your body to function normally.

However, certain minerals and vitamins are more suitable to take for particular purposes. For example, different vitamins and minerals work together and are best for different reasons including:

Should Kids Take Magnesium?

Ensuring a child receives the correct levels of this mineral is particularly beneficial in helping with:

  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Concentration
  • Energy levels
  • Bone and teeth health
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Bowel regulation
  • Immune system
  • Digestion 

Many children struggle to get the recommended amount of magnesium in their diet so children’s vitamins such as magnesium sprays and lotions can be hugely beneficial in their development.

A lack of magnesium in children can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness and cramps
  • Poor sleep
  • Tiredness
  • Apathy and low mood
  • Memory problems
  • Decreased attention span and poor concentration

Discovering the benefits of magnesium supplements for kids, could help you increase your child’s levels of this mineral.

About BetterYou

We are an innovative supplementation company that pioneered intra-oral sprays and transdermal magnesium. Our range of multivitamins contains vegan supplements and vegetarian supplements, ideal for the whole family!

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