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best results with magnesium supplements: magnesium supplement in hand

How To Get The Best Results From Magnesium Supplements

Everyone seems to have magnesium on their minds lately, and for good reason. This critical mineral can have many far-reaching effects, from streamlining your sleep to reducing constipation to calming your mood, potentially making it a major mover for your health. So how do you make the most of your magnesium supplements to ensure maximum results? Here, we’ve got six expert tips for doing just that. 

1. Choose the Right Type

Reaping the benefits of magnesium all starts with choosing the right form for your health goals. According to Lynn Green, N.P., M.H., integrative nurse practitioner and master herbalist at Nature’s Way, different types tend to be best for different purposes. Her recommendations:

2. Pair It With the Right Nutrients

Unfortunately, magnesium isn’t one of the better-absorbed minerals—but tweaking your diet can supply you with other nutrients that boost your body’s absorption. “To get the most out of your magnesium supplement, increase vitamin D-rich foods in your diet,” recommends dietitian Brooke Baird, R.D.N., L.D., of Simply Divine Nutrition.Research suggests that increasing your vitamin D intake helps with magnesium absorption,” she says. 

Baird recommends pairing your mag supplement with foods like cheese, eggs, and yogurt—easy-peasy if you take yours at breakfast time. Another option? Try to spend more time outside in the sun to soak up its vitamin D, she advises.

Read More: 8 High-Protein Snacks Nutritionists Love

While you’re at it, don’t forget to tend to your protein needs, says Lisa Andrews, M.Ed., R.D., L.D., a registered dietitian nutritionist at Health Insiders. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, magnesium absorption may be directly related to protein intake. Andrews says eggs, poultry, lean meat, and pork all fit the high-protein bill. Struggle to nosh on enough protein? Consider a protein powder shake.

3. Don’t Pair It With Other Nutrients

Though some nutrients are like a magnet for magnesium, others are like kryptonite. “Calcium and zinc supplements can block absorption of magnesium when taken at the same time, so it’s important not to take them together,” says dietitian Amy Goldsmith, R.D.N., owner of Kindred Nutrition. Some high-calcium foods include dairy products, broccoli, and leafy greens, while high-zinc foods include oysters, crab, beef, and chickpeas.

Watch out for fiber, too. “Fiber may also inhibit magnesium absorption, so don’t pair your supplement with a bowl of bran flakes or black beans,” Andrews advises.

This doesn’t mean you can’t ever drink milk or eat beans while taking magnesium. You may just want to avoid these foods within an hour or two of ingesting your supplements.

4. Select a Form You’ll Stick With

There’s no shortage of formats for magnesium supplements. These days, pills, powders, gummies, and liquids are all readily available. Give some thought to which one works best for you. Tasty, fruity gummies may put the “yum” in magnesium, for example, but if you have blood sugar concerns, their carbohydrate content may be too high for you. On the other hand, if you have trouble swallowing large pills, a gummy, liquid, or powder will better serve you, suggests Green.

The best form of magnesium is one you can easily incorporate into your daily routine (and will therefore stick with). For optimal results, consistency is key!

5. Look for Signs of Quality

Any time you snag a supplement, look for a few top harbingers of quality. Start by seeking out magnesium supps that have been third-party tested. This means that brands have sent their products to unbiased third parties who validate their contents, ensuring safety, quality, and performance. Look on supplement packaging for a certificate of analysis (COA) or a seal from third parties like NSF, ConsumerLab, USP, UL, or Informed Choice. 

Then, if you have any questions about what exactly a magnesium supplement contains, don’t hesitate to contact its manufacturer. Reputable manufacturers list contact info on their products or websites, making it easy for you to speak to a real human being about any concerns or questions.

6. Dose Appropriately

So you’ve picked out a format, spotted third-party verification, and maybe even settled on a brand you like. Now the big question: How much magnesium should you take? For obvious reasons, dosage matters for safety and effectiveness.

Read More: Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

Andrews points out that the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium is roughly 320 milligrams per day for women and 420 milligrams per day for adult men. Dosages on magnesium supplements don’t always match this, though. Depending on the supplement and its format, you may see dosages that exceed or fall short of these recommendations

How much you take might depend on your unique health needs and goals. For example, one study found that two full grams of magnesium l-threonate significantly improved cognitive function and memory in healthy adults. Meanwhile, other research suggests that just 125 to 300 milligrams of magnesium glycinate can help lift a low mood.

The best course of action: Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about which form is right for you and how much of it to take. And, if you notice stomach upset after taking large amounts, consider splitting your dosage up throughout the day.

It’s also worth noting that “certain medications may interact with magnesium, including certain antibiotics,” Andrews says. “Individuals with kidney disease or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding also need to be cautious with magnesium supplementation.” When in doubt, working with a health pro will help you figure out your ideal target and start reaping the benefits of this mighty mineral. 

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