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Magnesium 101 or What You Should Know About Supplementing with Magnesium

Magnesium 101 or What You Should Know About Supplementing with Magnesium - Niyama Wellness

What’s all the buzz about Magnesium?

Magnesium is, in my opinion, the most important mineral we can take for modern living, and it’s by far my fave. (yes, I have a favourite mineral, and herb, and amino, and vitamin….I’m a geek!)

Magnesium is an essential mineral (meaning we can’t make it ourselves and have to get it from food or supplements) found in unprocessed foods including green leafy veggies, nuts and seeds, pulses, fish, and some fruits. It’s the fourth most abundant mineral I the body, with over 60% stored in our bones, 20% in skeletal muscle, 19% in other soft tissue and the last 1% circulating in extra-cellular fluid.  In our bodies, magnesium is involved in over 300 metabolic reactions crucial for human health, including energy production, regulation of blood pressure, nerve signalling, bone health and proper muscle function.  Magnesium is also vitally important for hearth health, because of its role in muscle contraction and relaxation; the heart is a muscle, after all.

Interestingly, over a third of Canadians are not getting enough magnesium regularly, with deficiency symptoms including:

  • Muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • Insulin resistance/pre-diabetes
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines
  • Mental health issues including apathy and increased risk of depression

While our magnesium requirements vary based on age and gender, adults typically need between 320 and 420mg of magnesium daily to avoid a deficiency.

When choosing food sources of magnesium, it’s advisable to look for produce grown locally, in organic soil.  The magnesium in plants comes from the soil they are grown in, so if the soil is deficient, the plant will be too.  You can also take a supplement to ensure you are meeting your needs.

Not All Magnesium Supplements are Equal

Magnesium supplements come in several forms, depending on what “salt” the magnesium is bound to. Popular magnesium forms include Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Malate, Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Glycinate (the more sciency name being Bisglycinate).

All contain magnesium and all have their uses.  The right choice for you, will depend on what purpose you are taking Magnesium for.

The Oxide, Citrate and Sulfate forms all have significant laxative effects and are often used for relief of constipation. 

Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts) and Magnesium Chloride (magnesium flakes) are lovely in bathwater to soothe muscles and provide relaxation benefits.

Magnesium Malate is well absorbed and gentler on the digestive system so a better choice if you are trying to replenish magnesium levels. 

Magnesium Glycinate (or Bisglycinate) is formed from elemental magnesium and the amino acid glycine.  Glycine on its own has health benefits including improving sleep, and reducing inflammation. And because the magnesium is bound to an amino acid, our bodies recognize it as a “preferred nutrient” so it will absorb better than other forms.  Magnesium Bisglycinate is both very easily absorbed and well-tolerated in the digestive tract, so it’s a better choice for trying to reverse a magnesium deficiency, or to maintain optimal magnesium levels.  It will not cause diarrhea or bloating, and can have a calming effect on the central nervous system, easing symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and insomnia.  This form of magnesium is more premium, so it does cost more, and is usually delivered in powder form.


Niyama’s new magnesium supplement Hey Relax Magnesium glycinate Powder uses only the bisglycinate form of magnesium, and also includes a few other nutrients to support de-tressing and relaxation of both body and mind.

  • Inositol to support healthy neurotransmitter activity, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, control blood sugar
  • GABA to increase feelings of calm and relaxation and reduce tension
  • Tart Cherry, an antioxidant that supports immune health and improves sleep quality by improving your own melatonin production

And Hey Relax is DELICIOUS! With a natural, fresh pineapple flavour, and no sugar or artificial sweetener, this is a lusciously relaxing evening drink that spreads chill vibes wherever it goes.




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