The Role of Magnesium

Magnesium supplement

By Georgia Tetlow, MD and Claudia Green

Magnesium is one of the most important and essential minerals in our bodies, its necessity it is not be undermined. It’s used in or over 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies. Our bodies use magnesium to activate enzymes, relax both smooth muscle (our gastrointestinal tract!) and skeletal muscle, and is key in membrane transport, energy metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, as well as calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Magnesium can improve conditions of poor bone health, anxiety, poor digestive, cardiovascular function, insulin resistance, headaches, constipation, and kidney stones.


Those who eat a diet high in processed foods, take proton pump inhibitors, or suffer from alcoholism, may be at an increased risk for magnesium deficiency. If you are depleted in Magnesium, you may have muscle cramps, constipation, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue or anxiety. Or all of these! Deficiency can also cause cardiac arrhythmias, vertigo, seizures, headaches, bone loss, depressed immunity, hypertension, poor wound healing…also constipation can lead to hyper-absorption of hormones like estrogen, which can increase your risk of estrogen sensitive cancers (breast, ovarian and uterine) as well as estrogen dominance symptoms such as PMS-like or hard to control menopause symptoms.

Diet & Supplementation:

Dietary sources

Magnesium is present in highest amounts in whole unrefined foods like spinach, beet greens, black and white beans, halibut, millet, tofu (I recommend organic, non-gmo), seeds, and swiss chard.


Magnesium is an excellent mineral for improving transit time through the gastrointestinal tract. When taking too much magnesium you could experience loose stools. If this happens reduce the amount of magnesium you are taking, and your stools should no longer be loose. It can take weeks to months for your body to replete its magnesium stores, so I recommend magnesium glycinate, the most bioavailable form. I do not recommend taking magnesium citrate, oxide or other forms as these tend to cause loose stools and stomach upset at low doses.

Do I need Magnesium?

We encourage you to come speak with a PIM provider to find out what supplements or dietary changes you need to make to be at your optimal health! We will perform unique testing and labs to find out where your body needs to be supported with supplementation or lifestyle changes. If Magnesium is a supplement that you feel you need we will tailor a plan to fit your unique needs.

Adapted from: Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals,

Interested in connecting with PIM? Register for our upcoming group class at Cabrini College: November 28th - Your Gut Health: Healing Leaky Gut and SIBO with Lauren Houser, CRNP. Admission is FREE!

If you or your loved one has ongoing stress, mood or hormone imbalance, or they are suffering from a chronic illness, please consider scheduling a 20 minute free consultation or an appointment with Lauren Houser, MS, MSN, CRNP or Annmarie McManus, MMSc, PA-C, PT, IFMCP.

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