If you have low magnesium symptoms and have decided you want to take magnesium to see if they will go away (a therapeutic trial) or if you have had an RBC magnesium test which shows that you are deficient, you need to know how to take magnesium correctly. This involves more than taking a certain number of milligrams of any kind of magnesium. It is possible to make a magnesium deficiency worse by taking magnesium and in the process to create other mineral deficiencies as well. To take magnesium correctly you need to do five things.
1. Get your magnesium from a reliable company. There are some excellent companies making and marketing nutritional supplements and there are some crooks. There seem to be a lot of crooks because the two surveys I have seen published on the quality of nutritional supplements purchased off health food store shelves showed that over half of the products did not contain what the labels said they contained. The health food store brands I trust are Nature’s Way (green leaf logo) and Nutricology. For most people, the best way to get good quality trustworthy nutritional supplements is from Life Extension or Emerson Ecologics.
2. Take the right kind of magnesium. The right kind of magnesium is magnesium citrate malate. The wrong kind of magnesium is magnesium oxide. It is the most difficult form of magnesium to absorb, the most likely to give you diarrhea, and it is also the cheapest, so that's what you find in many magnesium supplements. Magnesium citrate is significantly more of absorbable and gentler on your gut. Malate means that the magnesium citrate is complexed with malic acid, which ushers the magnesium into the cell where it is needed, thus making each milligram of magnesium more effective..
3. Take the right amount of magnesium. Two little will not correct to your deficiency. Too much will make it worse. Too little magnesium often causes constipation, which can be severe. Too much and you get diarrhea. For magnesium and most other minerals to be absorbed efficiently they need to stay in your digestive system for at least 16 hours. The length of time it takes what you swallow to make the trip through your digestive tract from end to end is called your gut transit time. 16 to 24 hours is probably ideal. If you have only one bowel movement a day you know your transit time is more than 16 hours. Start taking magnesium citrate malate 150 to 200 mg twice daily with meals. If your magnesium symptoms are not improving after two weeks you will need to do a gut tolerance protocol. This is similar to the vitamin C gut tolerance protocol but there are important differences.
To do the protocol you will need to know your gut transit time. In the next blog I will tell you how to discover that, how to proceed with the protocol, and do steps 4 and 5.