By Julia MacPhee C.H.N.C., Pn1 Nutritional consultant and coach,


By Jessica Gatt, DTCM

Magnesium is a vital mineral involved in over 500 functions in the body. It is involved in energy production, it assists calcium and potassium uptake, helps with proper transmission of nerve and muscle impulses, but most importantly it is known for its muscle relaxing and anti-anxiety properties.

This essential mineral protects against calcification of soft tissue. Research shows that Magnesium may help prevent Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) and osteoporosis.

Possible manifestations of Magnesium deficiency include: insomnia, chronic pain syndrome, muscle spasms, irritability, anxiety, poor digestion, confusion, many cardio vascular symptoms.

What foods are rich in Magnesium?

Magnesium found mostly in plant-based foods rich in chlorophyll- the green part of the plant involved in photosynthesis. Therefore, plants rich in green color are a great source of Magnesium.

When you think Magnesium-think green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, swiss chard, kale.

Dietary sources of Magnesium include

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Red, orange, yellow vegetables
  • Algae
  • Fruit (Figs, Avocado, Banana, Raspberries)

Magnesium is also found in:

  • Quinoa and other whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Black strap molasses- a great natural sweetener.

What about chocolate, you might ask?

Great question. Cacao, including cacao nibs is also a rich source of Magnesium. Even chocolate can be healthy! Make sure to choose dark chocolate (at least 85% and higher) when deciding to indulge in this healthy treat.

Magnesium supplementation

Supplementation is often recommended, because it is difficult to meet Magnesium recommended daily intake from food alone.

Chlorophyll containing greens supplements are a great start. Examples are Spirulina powder by Organic Traditions, Vital Greens liquid by NAKA, wheat grass- all available at The Bownesian Grocer.

In addition, Magnesium Bysglycinate and Mg Citrate are also a great way to ensure to get your daily intake of Mg.

So what Magnesium supplement should I buy?

Let us geek out for a minute and explain the difference between different types of Magnesium supplements you may see on the market.

The most common forms that you will find on the shelves are:

Magnesium Bis-glycinate-Bound to amino acid glycine. It is the most bioavailable form of Magnesium supplementation.

Magnesium Citrate– Bound with citric acid. This type of Magnesium supplement is considered a fair absorbency but may have a laxative effect.

Magnesium Oxide– Salt that combines Magnesium/oxygen (milk of magnesia). This type of Magnesium supplement has a poor bioavailability and strong laxative effect.

Other Magnesium supplement forms include:

Magnesium Chloride-Salt that combines sodium/chlorine/magnesium

Magnesium Lactate– Salt that combines magnesium and lactic acid

Magnesium Malate– Bound to malic acid

Magnesium Taurate-Bound to amino acid taurine

Magnesium L-threonate– Binds metabolite of Vitamin C with magnesium

Magnesium Sulfate- Combines magnesium/sulfur/oxygen (Epsom salts)

Magnesium Pidolate– Salt combining picolinate(pidolic acid) and magnesium

Magnesium Asparate– Binds to aspartic acid (uncommon)

Magnesium Orotate– Binds magnesium to Orotic acid

Magnesium Chelate-Reacted fully before bound

Citrates  Vs. Bis-Glycinates


Bis- Glycinate

  •  Fair absorbability/ require higher doses
  • Bound to Citric acid
  • Causes flushing (laxative effect)
  • Better for constipation
  • High absorbency
  • Bound to amino acid Glycine
  • Better for anxiety, insomnia, stress
  • Used for inflammation