Magnesium (MG), one of the so called, “major elements,” makes up only 0.1% of total human body weight, but is a part of over 350 enzymatic and metabolic
processes in the body. It is involved in protein syntheses, immune function, blood pressure and blood sugar regulation, bone formation, and numerous
activities of the cardiovascular system, like the force and rhythm of ventricle contractions and its role in dilating and relaxing blood vessels. In
similar fashion it improves exercise tolerance and relieves muscle spasms and nerve pain.
Good sources of magnesium are foods such as barley and oat bran, as well as pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, dark green leafy vegetables and seaweeds. Although this may sound like a pervasive list, modern farming and food processing methods have stripped many of the foods we eat of essential minerals and nutrients. This along with poor GI tract health (GERD, IBS, leaky gut, dysbiosis etc.) has left many Americans with impaired digestive and assimilation capacities. As a consequence, it is estimated that up to 80% of us are magnesium deficient. In kind of chicken and egg fashion, these very same GI tract maladies make supplementing magnesium more difficult than it may seem.
Also magnesium is an important co-factor in calcium absorption, and high levels of supplemental calcium can itself cause magnesium deficiency. Epidemiological studies now link an imbalanced calcium/magnesium intake ratio may result with an increase of cardiovascular disease and mortality..
There are many forms of magnesium on the marketplace, the most common of which are magnesium oxide, citrate, glycinate and malate. Donny Yance, whose book is listed below in references, talks more about how each form of magnesium affects different organ systems. For the purposes of muscle pain and cramping, most forms mentioned will have a beneficial effect. One distinction worth noting: magnesium oxide and citrate have a dose dependent laxative effect, while magnesium glycinate much less so.
The panels above are two slides from a lecture given by herbalist/educator Paul Bergner at a conference I attended in November of 2012. I have heard from a number of practitioners the “Apple Cider Heavy Water,” has proven very helpful in people who otherwise have difficulty absorbing magnesium.