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How Much Magnesium Do I Need?

10 February 2012 - Posted by Ashley under

How Much Magnesium Should I Be Taking? | by Ancient MineralsAlthough we try to explain magnesium requirements throughout our Ancient Minerals website, the same question seems to pop up quite frequently from our customers.

“How much magnesium should I be taking?”

There really is no cut and dry answer to this question because honestly, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all dosage. In my opinion, the only reason that the government creates charts containing a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is to give people a nice round number to work from – it certainly simplifies people’s lives when there’s no guess work involved. However, if you start to consider the vast differences in each person’s biology, you begin to realize that these numbers are nothing more than a vague starting point at best.

Which may explain why we can’t simply give you a specific amount of sprays of magnesium oil, pumps of gel, or cups of flake to provide what you need. Sure, it would probably make it easier on the both of us  if we could (or would) – but only in the short run, not the long.

So, now that we’re back to square one, let me provide you with some necessary information that will help you tailor your dosage to meet your magnesium needs.

Making Up for Lost Time (and Magnesium)

First and foremost, if you can answer “yes” to any one of  the 10 questions in our Do You Need More Magnesium article, or if you’re already aware that you are deficient in magnesium, you should not be starting with a maintenance dose – a dosage more suitable for maintaining magnesium levels rather than raising them. When you start from a place of deficiency, your body will require a higher dosage in order to climb back up to what is ideal. The downside is that magnesium doesn’t make it easy for those that are looking for instant gratification. On the upside, though, transdermal magnesium has made it a whole lot easier than it was when we relied on oral supplements alone.

If you’ve read through the 10 questions I mentioned above, you’ll understand that when supplementing with magnesium your goal is to not only replace what your body is losing daily, but to try and avoid those elements that result in excessive magnesium loss. The more of those factors you can minimize, or eliminate altogether, the less magnesium you’ll need to use in order to maintain sufficient levels.

Optimizing Your Intake

Another influencing factor on how much magnesium you should be taking is the type of compound you are using. Both the quality of the magnesium supplement as well as the bio-availability should be taken into account when calculating your needs. Since the most common magnesium supplement on store shelves (magnesium oxide) is very poorly absorbed, you would need to use it in much higher amounts and frequency in comparison to a more readily assimilated compound like magnesium glycinate.

Combine both oral & topical magnesium supplements to help expedite recovery from deficiency.

When using our Ancient Minerals topical magnesium products, the dosages will be a bit different and less constricting. What I mean by that is that you are not bound by the limitations of oral supplementation (e.g. too much magnesium = diarrhea). Your only limitations with topical magnesium would be your skin sensitivity and the time needed to utilize it. Outside of those factors, our recommendation for use is to cover as much of your skin as possible (avoiding mucus membranes), to maximize the area of absorption.

Each of our products contains a different concentration of magnesium, and each application offers various benefits over another.

Magnesium Oil: 560mg per teaspoon*
Magnesium Gel: 490mg per teaspoon
Magnesium Bath Flakes: 15g per cup
Magnesium Lotion: 185mg per teaspoon

*8 sprays of Magnesium Oil equals roughly 100mg of magnesium.

Food is an Appetizer, Not a Main Course

Don’t forget to consider the magnesium you are obtaining through food sources and perhaps augment meals to boost your intake. Although magnesium content in foods has gone down significantly over the years, you are still able to glean a fractional amount of your daily requirement through your meals. If your diet includes a lot of nuts, legumes, mackerel, spinach, etc., your magnesium needs will be a lot lower than someone that, say, eats a highly processed diet with little to no magnesium content. However, for those of you looking to eat your way out of a magnesium deficiency, chances are that you’re fighting a losing battle.

Hopefully you were able to gain a bit more understanding as to why finding a standard dose of magnesium on our site is about as likely as spotting a unicorn. But more than that, I hope that this will help you in gauging your own personal needs. This is one of those nutrients that makes it well worth the time and energy spent towards customizing your supplementation routine.

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  • Ashley

    The above mention (second paragraph of this post) of “Recommended Dietary Allowance” is actually a link leading to the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements that will supply you with a magnesium recommendation chart for your gender/age.

    If you have any other questions, please let me know!

  • Moira

    If 1 teaspoon (5ml) of magnesium oil contains 560mg magnesium (as stated in the above article) then 1 ml contains 112mg.
    Magnesium chloride flakes provide approx 12% elemental Mg which means 1 gram provides 120mg. But then it is dissolved in water to make the magnesium oil, so to get 112mg per ml you would have to make an almost two in one dilution (ie 2gram flakes per every ml of water would equal just under 120mg elemental magnesium per ml which is close to the 112mg per ml in your above article).
    That would not give the clear liquid that you sell. It would give such an over-saturated solution that some MgCl would not dissolve and you would have sediment. Even a one to one ratio would be too saturated to make a clear liquid and that would give half the amount of elemental magnesium stated in the article. Can you therefore please explain how your clear liquid can have 560mg per teaspoon?
    Sorry this sounds like I’m criticizing, but I’m honestly only trying to get my head around the dose and wondering if that was perhaps a typo.
    How on earth are you achieving 112mg per ml in such a clear liquid?

  • Ashley

    Hi Moira,

    Although I would love to answer the question you have posed, it appears that perhaps you may have gotten confused in your calculations in going back and forth between milliliters, milligrams, and percentage of elemental vs amount of magnesium chloride compound.
    Magnesium chloride, as a compound, is 12% elemental magnesium… yes. Magnesium chloride flakes aren’t 100% magnesium chloride, though – there are still other minerals and water involved, making them 47% magnesium chloride. The same with our magnesium oil, which is 31.5% magnesium chloride. There are some technical articles on the web giving more information on anhydrous vs hexahydrate [magnesium chloride] if you wish to do a quick Google of them.

    As for the contents of our magnesium oil, we post our lab analysis on our site which gives a breakdown of the oil’s contents: http://www.genuinezechstein.com/genuine-zechstein-coa-a101-a901.pdf

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  • Moira

    Hi Ashley
    Thanks very much for your polite and patient answer. Ah yes I was forgetting that the flakes are magnesium chloride hexahydrate.  I Googled this as you suggested and found that it has a higher solubility than magnesium chloride, which clears up my confusion.

  • Hanna

    hey I have a magnesium and potassium deficiancy like really bad and I currently take 512 mg of Slow Mag pills and I need to take the transdermal stuff. Does anyone know how much or which product i should perchas?

  • Ashley

    Hi Hanna,

    Although this isn’t based on scientific research (merely word of mouth and physicians that we’ve spoken with) you may want to switch to an amino acid chelate or possibly just simple magnesium citrate for your oral magnesium. There are many people that have found the additives in those types of supplements – the extended, slow dosing ones – to not be compatible with their GI tract, and actually appear to impede their absorption.

    As for how much you should be using and which product to purchase – that will depend on your lifestyle, diet, and skin sensitivity. If you are trying to boost very low levels of magnesium, opting for either the magnesium oil or the magnesium oil Ultra would be your best option. If you have sensitive skin, you can try the original oil and dilute it until it’s manageable, or you can go for the Ultra, which is much more mild on the skin.

    If you need any additional assistance with selecting a product and trying to customize your dosage to suit your needs, please let me know. You may also email us at info@magneticclay.com .

  • http://www.facebook.com/WiccadShea Loretta Lynn Davis

    I can’t afford any of these, can you recommend something I can buy at the store?

  • Ashley

    Hi Loretta,

    There are quite a few magnesium supplements out there, so it depends on what would fit your diet, lifestyle, health status, etc. We use a combination of our product and Natural Vitality’s Natural Calm, which is an oral magnesium citrate. It usually takes more than one type to adequately make up for and/or maintain sufficient magnesium stores (depending on those factors I mentioned).

    As far as an oral supplement goes, I know that Natural Calm can be found in many local grocery stores, since it is more widespread.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know of many stores which carry a Zechstein Sea-sourced magnesium oil, since it hasn’t yet caught the “mainstream” as of yet. You could potentially find one at your locally-owned health food store. I wouldn’t feel confident in the quality of other [non-Zechstein] sources, since many of the other magnesium chloride oils are sourced from the ocean or Dead Sea – both of which have questionable quality composition due to environmental pollution.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions that we can assist you with, and have a wonderful Tuesday!

  • Laura B.

    I know I’m late in replying, but you’re right… I looked at *CHEMISTRY* sites and their math here is completely bogus everywhere. It’s not to say magnesium chloride is bad, just… eh, I got mine elsewhere (mine’s sourced from the Dead Sea deposits in Israel, more dense in minerals than Ancient Minerals’ source)…

    One thing they keep going back and forth on, despite completely inaccurate numbers (everywhere–frustrating as I keep landing on all their resellers in just looking up chemistry info!) is mag chloride vs elemental magnesium… they also don’t ever account for its density (grams per cubic centimeter, which was the start of a LOT of math, which is how I ended up getting the right oral dose for my sister’s pup–a headache but an overdose of ANY nutrient is bad–vitamin C doesn’t just turn pee golden, it leeches iron from muscle tissue; magnesium, even chloride, will, in excess, mess with mental acuity by screwing with amino acid balance)… the idea that you can just megadose on it is scary. I wouldn’t trust them and not JUST because they failed high school chemistry class, either…

  • Laura B.

    I use Greenway Biotech… it’s pharmaceutical grade, tested metal/contaminant-free, more dense (from the dead sea deposits in Israel–NOT so contaminated as their seller “mod” would have you believe=more minerals than Zechstein), and while still not CHEAP it has plenty of doses… and the concentration’s the highest.It’s been effective for me. This stuff is spending a lot on marketing; Amazon is your friend :)

  • SunnySky

    That’s what I have, too!

  • Ashley (AJ)

    Hi Elbee,

    Thank you, we always appreciate feedback on our products.

    After reviewing Greenway’s Certificate of Analysis on their magnesium chloride, located https://www.greenwaybiotech.com/pages/magnesium-chloride-usp-certificate-of-analysis, I’d like to reassert that the levels of heavy metals and other toxic compounds in our products are far lower than products derived from the Dead Sea.
    For instance, they list their arsenic levels at 2PPM, whereas ours are at < .02PPM. That is 100x the amount of arsenic in their product in comparison. They also list Bromide at 500PPM – which is a halide that competes for the same receptors that are used in the thyroid gland to capture iodine – something most people also wish to avoid.
    Unfortunately, they do not list out individual heavy metals being tested for – they merely say .001%, a number which is quite high at 10PPM. Our product is tested for a number of heavy metals, including Mercury (none present), cadmium (<0.05PPM), and lead (<0.05PPM).

    Regarding the "density" of our magnesium, our Ancient Minerals magnesium oil reaches the maximum amount of magnesium chloride that can be contained in a hydrated application before it begins to crystallize.

    On a side note, as Greenway's current label claims are in direct violation with FDA regulations, I would personally find myself favoring circumspection toward their company as a whole.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions or feedback, and have a wonderful day!

  • RYKER J.

    Hi Ashley, I just bought Now brand magnesium oil and was wondering how this compares with Ancient Minerals? The bottle states that it is also sourced from the Zechstein seabed.