Magnesium deficiency is likely an issue for you, as it is for many. Regardless of whether or not you’re eating a high-quality diet and following a flawless stress-free lifestyle.

Unfortunately, magnesium-rich foods don’t provide much magnesium. And generally speaking, we’re lucky to get 15-20% of the daily requirement – 350-450mg.

This is likely why 2006 data from NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) found that the majority of North Americans do not satisfy the daily requirement for magnesium from food, with females and those over 70 producing the worst results.  And similarly, why:

A 1995 study found that at least 39% of the population gets less than 70% of the RDA (200mg/day) of magnesium.

An intake that’s likely lower today, with the increase in pesticides, processed foods, and over-farming.

To make matters worse, magnesium is burned up through exercise and during times of stress, and competes with calcium for absorption. Making the need for supplementation even greater.

For instance, when researchers compared the calcium-to-magnesium ratio in the typical modern diet to that of our hunter gatherers ancestors, the ratio was heavily swayed towards calcium. Looking more like a 5:1, as opposed to a 1 or 2:1.

The elderly should be extra aware of their magnesium intake, as they tend to:

  • Have a lower intake overall
  • Absorb less and excrete more
  • Take medication that increases depletion

Blood pressure medication has a significant impact on reducing magnesium levels (1, 2). Which is ironic, considering magnesium is the one mineral that can help prevent heart disease.

Often referred to as the ‘iron of the plant world,’ or the ‘anti-stress mineral,’ magnesium helps relax skeletal, blood vessel, and GI tract muscle, lower blood pressure, and overall stress. Many mention less nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, and depression by adding magnesium to their daily regimen, especially when taken before bed.

Dosages in the literature are varied, with 250mg/day proving effective at lowering heart disease risk, 290mg/day helping prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, and 100mg/day lowering diabetes risk. Although, it’s clear that the risk of ‘too much’ is rare, as the kidneys eliminate any excess in urine; while the risk of deficiency is high, with the minimal amounts in food, and reductions from stress and calcium.

The dosage recommendation of 300-600mg in Live It NOT Diet! are quite conservative compared to the needs of most, and therefore shouldn’t produce diarrhea, cramping, or nausea that can come with heavy doses of magnesium.  However, if you experience any of these symptoms, cut back on your dosage (no harm, no foul).

Always look for a chelated magnesium supplement (ends in ‘ate,’ like magnesium glycinate), as that means it’s blended with an amino acid and better absorbed.  My favorite is UberMag from The Poliquin Group because it’s the only one I’ve found with 4 different forms of magnesium – glycinate, fumarate, taurate, and orotate.


Because of magnesium’s calming effect, I suggest taking it before bed.  If looking to calm down in the evening leading up to sleep, try splitting the dose to half after dinner and half 30-60min before bed.

You’ll eventually find your optimal sleep dose, but don’t be afraid to make adjustments on-the-fly based on your daily stress and activity level.

Stay Lean!

Coach Mike

Why Supplement Magnesium?

For more information and appointments, please contact Clinic Director Charlie Blaisdell at

BTP/CORE New England
Clinic: 781-269-5953