Signs of magnesium deficiency and best supplementation (Part 2) by Kylene Bogden

Following on from Part 1 last week, Michael now takes us on a tour through the different forms of magnesium supplementations.

So many different types of magnesium. Which is best for me?

Magnesium glycinate or magnesium bisglycinate

Magnesium glycinate or magnesium bisglycinate is usually what I recommend for my athletes. This form of magnesium can be taken orally and is known as a chelated amino acid supplement. In other words, this form of magnesium binds to an amino acid and therefore relies on a protein pathway for availability and absorption.

Magnesium glycinate is readily available on the market and is typically very well tolerated by most individuals. It tends to be a little more expensive, but that is because after consumption, it’s availability in the body is higher than other forms of magnesium supplementation. In fact, the highly absorbable magnesium bisglycinate, is said to be the only form of magnesium that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, thus making it especially useful for athletes who deal with anxiety, headaches, and mood-related disorders on a routine basis. The only magnesium supplement that is shown to rival this is magnesium chloride. Magnesium chloride is found naturally in seawater and is soluble in water, which makes it extremely easy for our bodies to absorb.

Magnesium citrate

Magnesium citrate is another popular recommendation. As dieticians, we often recommend this form to our athletes and clients who have trouble moving their bowels. Think “c” for constipation. This form of magnesium is an osmotic laxative. An osmotic laxative pulls water into your intestines, while relaxing your bowels. So romantic, I know. This flood of water helps to simultaneously soften and bulk up your stool, thus making it easier to pass.

Magnesium oxide

Try your best to avoid magnesium oxide as it has the lowest rate of bioavailability. That means that your body is not able to use much of this form. Be careful, as most over-the-counter supplements contain some form of magnesium oxide.

Transdermal magnesium

Transdermal magnesium (applied to the skin) can be a useful option for individuals suffering from severe GI distress, making them unable to tolerate oral magnesium supplementation.

In terms of dosing, it is best to work with your physician, registered dietitian or qualified nutrition practitioner to determine the amount that would best suit your needs.

But, I hate swallowing pills!

I hear you. Sometimes I even get sick of swallowing my vitamins each day. Worry not my friend, I have a solution! Many of my athletes refuse to take capsules, so I made it my job to find a simple solution to the problem: magnesium chewables. These little guys taste great and can last in the fridge up to four days.

KY’s magnesium chewables

Step 1:

In a small saucepan mix the following:

3/4 cup of your favourite cold-pressed juice (I like to use 100% cold-pressed orange juice or anything made from berries)

*Five scoops of Thorne Magnesium Bisglycinate Powder (NSF Certified for Sport!)

Gently stir until clumps are almost entirely broken apart and dissolved.

Step 2:

Add 2 scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Gelatine to the mix. Do not stir right away. You will notice the juice mixture begins to ripple when you add the gelatine.

After it sits for a few minutes, set the pan on your stove over medium heat and begin to stir the mixture with a spatula until the liquid is thin and completely mixed well together. The mixture should not appear very lumpy and gelatinous, but more like a thick juice.

magnesium imageStep 3:

While warm, pour mixture into silicone mould of your choice. Set the filled silicone mould on top of a cookie sheet in the fridge for one hour.

Step 4:

Push gummies out of the silicone mould and divide according to dosage. I would recommend 200mg of magnesium per serving to start. The key here is to make sure you read the label correctly on your magnesium container and divide accordingly when figuring out your dose. For example, the Thorne powder offers 1000mg of magnesium bisglycinate for five scoops. Therefore, when my mould creates 15 gummies, three would equal 200mg.

You may take the chewables at any time of the day. However, since magnesium can have a relaxation effect for most people, I would suggest taking the entire 200mg dose 30 to 60 minutes before your pre-game nap or before bed.

Pro tip: Don’t ever experiment for the first time on the day of competition. ALWAYS try this in advance to ensure that you tolerate the supplementation.

*If you are not a collegiate or professional athlete and NSF certification does not pertain to you, feel free to use your favourite magnesium powder. Also, if you are more prone to constipation, you may want to consider magnesium citrate in powdered form.

So, there you have it folks. Magnesium is a mineral that should never be neglected as it plays such a critical role in our body’s ability to function. If you think you may have signs of magnesium deficiency, contact your health care provider today.

Kylene Bogden is a Registered Dietitian and functional sports nutrition expert, based in the United States.

For more information about Kylene and her very progressive company, FWDfuel Sports Nutrition, click here.