(NaturalNews) Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in our bodies, playing a role in more than 300 vital biological processes. Yet many Americans fail to get enough of this important mineral in their daily diets. Even though magnesium occurs in many organic foods, including leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains, many of these foods contain only small amounts, and getting enough through diet alone can take careful planning. What's more, because much of the nation's topsoil has been depleted of important nutrients, getting enough magnesium through food alone can be even more difficult.
Fortunately, men and women can ensure that they get enough magnesium by taking a daily supplement. Today, there are several different types of magnesium supplements to choose from, and knowing which one is best for your needs can be confusing.
Many people turn to magnesium citrate, simply because of its widespread availability. But is it the best type of magnesium supplement for you?
Magnesium citrate reviewed
Magnesium citrate is produced when magnesium is combined with citric acid. As noted, it's one of the most commonly used forms of magnesium, mainly because it's inexpensive and it's more available in commercial products, including many laxatives. In fact, at the right dose, magnesium citrate can be such an effective laxative that it's often prescribed prior to surgery to cleanse the bowels.
Taken in a milder form, magnesium citrate's laxative effects can be minimized while still allowing the calming effects associated with this form of the mineral. Magnesium citrate helps relax muscles (which is one of the ways it exerts a laxative effect), and a dose taken before bedtime can help many people relax, fall asleep more quickly and sleep more peacefully. (1) It's also much better absorbed by the body than some other forms of magnesium, including the widely available magnesium oxide, which tends to have a higher concentration of magnesium but is very difficult for the body to absorb and use. Magnesium citrate is also better absorbed than another common type of magnesium supplement, magnesium sulfate. (2)
Still, simply because it's more widely available commercially and often less expensive than other forms of magnesium, that doesn't necessarily mean that magnesium citrate is the best option when it comes to magnesium supplements. In fact, there are two other forms that may be preferable, thanks to their effects for treating pain and cardiovascular conditions and their extremely high levels of absorption.
Combined with malic acid, magnesium forms a salt, or chemical compound, called magnesium malate. Malic acid was first isolated in apples, from which it derives its name (malus is the Latin term for apples). Magnesium malate has been associated in clinical studies with a reduction of pain, especially in people who suffer from fibromyalgia. To date, no studies have explained exactly how magnesium malate works in combating chronic pain, but researchers believe that it works at a cellular level, helping promote cellular metabolism to provide more energy, decreasing the feelings of fatigue that often accompany and exacerbate chronic pain. They also believe that magnesium malate may work in a second way, helping clear up concentrations of specific organic compounds that can cause widespread pain. Magnesium malate has one of the highest absorption rates of all the types of magnesium supplements, as does the next one on our list.
This supplement combines magnesium with orotic acid, a naturally occurring chemical that also plays a role in metabolism. Magnesium orotate has been linked with marked improvements in cardiovascular health, especially among patients with coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and previous heart attacks. Again, scientists are unsure just how the compound works to improve heart function, but as with magnesium malate, they believe that it works on cellular metabolism to improve the way that cells are able to use energy to heal and reproduce. In this way, damaged cells are more easily "mended" or replaced with healthy cells. (3) Magnesium orotate has been widely used as a treatment for heart disease for more than 40 years in Russia. (4) Like magnesium malate, magnesium orotate is also very well absorbed by the body.
Because magnesium plays such an important role in so many of the body's natural processes, getting enough is critical. While it would be ideal to get all our nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, in the foods that we eat, unless we spend all day planning menus and shopping for and preparing food, achieving that goal can be nearly impossible. Even a carefully constructed meal plan can inadvertently fall short of critical nutrients.
Choosing a high-quality supplement that's easily absorbed and used by the body is an effective way of making sure that we get the best nutrition possible for good health. If you're not already taking a magnesium supplement, consider adding it to your list, and take some time to ensure that you get the best type for you.