I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about my experiences with magnesium. People want to know what form of magnesium I take and how much of it I take, in an attempt to hopefully experience the same success that I am experiencing. First, there are a few things I need to point out.
If this is your first visit to my blog, or if you’ve missed my other posts on magnesium, please read them first so that this update is put in context.
The second thing I need to point out is that I am not affiliated with Dr. Dean or her book, The Magnesium Miracle. I don’t get paid to post about her book or the wonderful things it has done for me. I’m simply a patient who has had success from following her advice, and I like to share with others what has worked for me. My comments are not paid endorsements.
Third, I am not a medical professional. I already point that out all over my Web site, but it bears repeating. Before taking any supplements, you should check with your own personal physician and make sure it’s OK for you. The Magnesium Miracle also points this out. Don’t take Dr. Dean’s advice or my advice as a substitute for seeing your doctor and getting his or her professional opinion for your specific situation or condition.
Now, back to the questions of what form of magnesium you should take, how much to take, when to take it, and with what… The answer is, “It depends.”
Magnesium has many effects on the body and controls lots of different functions, so depending on what’s going wrong, your dosage and the form you should take will probably differ. This is why I so strongly encourage everyone to read Dr. Dean’s book, The Magnesium Miracle, from cover to cover before even going in to discuss the subject with your doctor. Her book covers all the different forms magnesium is available in, and which forms are better for different medical conditions/problems. It’s an exhaustive, in-depth look at magnesium and how it’s essential for your health — and why some people may need extra magnesium through either the use of supplements or specific food sources in order to maintain adequate levels. Please Read It!
Having said all that, I will tell you what I take, how much I take, when I take it, why I take it, and what benefits I’ve gotten from it (so far).
Why I take it
Let’s start with the ‘why.’ I have a heart condition called mitral valve prolapse syndrome. I regularly suffer from fatigue, chest pains, migraines, muscle spasms and eye twitches, heart palpitations, syncope (fainting spells) and dizziness, and anxiety bordering on panic. I also have other physical conditions such as osteoarthritis in both knees, and high blood pressure and have been on a diuretic (“water pill”) for the past six years. When I read Dr. Dean’s book, she promised magnesium may help alleviate a lot of these troubling symptoms that I’ve been suffering from for decades. So three weeks ago, I decided to give it a try.
What I take
Because of my heart condition, I chose the form magnesium taurate. As you’ll read in the book, there are many forms of magnesium but one of the cheapest and most common is magnesium oxide. Unfortunately, magnesium oxide is very difficult for the body to absorb, so it usually just acts as a laxative instead of it being absorbed and utilized. This could be why lots of people complain of “tummy troubles” when taking magnesium, since it can cause diarrhea. Magnesium oxide is often found in multivitamins, and is generally the only form available at stores like Wal-mart or even GNC. Unless you have a problem with constipation, though, you should probably avoid magnesium oxide.
Besides the taurate form that I take (and have not had any tummy troubles from), there is also magnesium citrate. This is another good form of magnesium that is usually available at vitamin specialty shops (The Vitamin Shoppe, for instance), and is good as a general form of magnesium if you don’t have access to taurate or if you don’t need a specialized form to treat something specific. Both magnesium taurate and magnesium citrate, as well as lots of other forms, are available at The Vitamin Shoppe.
I get mine from Amazon:
How much I take
The daily recommended allowance is 320mg for a woman my age. You will get some magnesium naturally in the foods you eat, if you eat green leafy vegetables, legumes, and nuts. I probably don’t eat enough of these foods to get everything I need, and have the additional issue of being on the diuretic so that a lot of the electrolytes/minerals I do take in are probably flushed right back out. So I started out by taking four 125mg (500 mg, total) capsules daily, and over the past three weeks have lowered my dose to a total of 250mg daily because I seem to be able to keep my good results with that lowered amount. On days where I’m outside and sweating more than usual, I may add an additional pill to my daily regiment.
When I take it
I take one 125mg magnesium taurate capsule between lunch and dinner, at around 2pm (on an empty stomach), and another one before I go to bed (on an empty stomach). The pills need stomach acid to break them up so they can be absorbed, so it’s best not to take them with a large meal — when your stomach acid will already be busy trying to digest all the food. This is why I take them on an empty stomach.
Improvements I’ve noticed
- The first change I noticed happened within 12 hours, and that was a complete lack of cravings for chocolate. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you read my initial posts (linked to above) on magnesium, you’ll understand. I had an unhealthy relationship with Hershey’s products, to say the least. As of today, I haven’t had a chocolate bar in 23 days. That in and of itself is impressive.
- The next thing I noticed is that stress is affecting me differently. When I was in stressful situations before starting magnesium it would usually trigger an adrenaline rush, which would then prompt palpitations and chest tightness, rapid pulse, light-headedness, and several trips to the restroom. I notice now that I still feel the stressful emotions, but they no longer link to my body. It’s like there’s a cut in the line between the two, so that the stress stays in my head and no longer also affects me physically. It’s unnerving since it’s such a change from what I’m used to over the past 25 years, but I’m happy about the change and eventually will get used to this healthier response to stress.
- I also noticed it has been several weeks and I haven’t had a single migraine in that time. Not one. I usually get a migraine at least once a week or so, and they can be triggered by something as innocent as light glinting off the shiny chrome bumper of the car ahead of me. Not eating at regular intervals could trigger them, as well as being dehydrated or too much exercise. Basically anything and everything could set them off. This is not to say I don’t have an ache in my head every once in a while, but there’s a huge difference between a slight headache and a migraine. I hope I never have to have another one, ever.
I haven’t noticed any palpitations or chest pains recently, but that could be solely due to being able to control the adrenaline rushes. If that’s the reason, I’m good with that. I also haven’t noticed any eye twitches or muscle spasms lately. I haven’t really noticed a change in my level of fatigue, though my guess would be that the huge reduction in my sugar/chocolate intake will eventually improve my energy levels. Also, since it’s summertime, I have started my annual ritual of having Gatorade within reach at all times, which solves the syncope and dizziness issues due to the mitral valve prolapse. So I’m not ready to attribute their absence to the magnesium, though it could be a co-factor.
The bottom line, though, is that it’s only been three weeks and I feel like a different — improved — person, and magnesium is the only thing I can credit for most of the changes. I still want to wait a full six weeks before calling it my Wonder Drug, but with each passing day my hopes go up even further.
This does not mean you will have the same results, of course. You need to find the magnesium form and dosage that’s right for you and know the issues you’re trying to solve in order to give it the best chance of success. This can be done by consulting with your doctor and by reading Dr. Dean’s book, The Magnesium Miracle. I hope it does for you what it’s already done for me.