Magnesium: Most Overlooked Mineral for Improving Health – Part 3

Magnesium: Most Overlooked Mineral for Improving Health - Part 3

Common Magnesium Amounts in Food

Magnesium needs to be supplemented because even if you eat a perfect diet,  you would still have to eat a ton of nuts, brown rice, avocados, and spinach to keep from developing a deficiency. To get around 400 mg a day you would have to eat one cup of cooked spinach (157 mg), one ounce of pumpkin seeds (150 mg), one avocado (56 mg), and one cup of cooked brown rice (86 mg) a day on average (449 mg of magnesium total). 1 These amounts also don’t take in account the magnesium bonded to phytic acid in the pumpkin seeds, in the brown rice, 2 and individual intestinal absorption of magnesium 3 for different people.

So to be conservative let us say that after a patient ate all this food they only absorbed 300 mg of magnesium from the food. Imagine if you had ingest 1,000 mg of magnesium daily from only your food intake. You would have to intake three cups of cooked spinach, three ounces of pumpkin seeds, three avocados, and three cups of brown rice throughout the day. Good luck!

Some people have argued that supplementation of magnesium is not needed and can be obtained through the diet. Why do we need to supplement it at all or in such large amounts if we can get magnesium from food? Ancient man was able to survive without magnesium deficiencies is one of their biggest arguments. I have developed a few theories to answer this argument. One of those theories is that the water ancient man consumed had a higher concentration of magnesium. Because the water had greater magnesium concentration, so did the plants, nuts, and animal meat / bones that ancient man consumed in their diet. Also, ancient man was not under as much stress as modern man is, their bodies do not magnesium waste quite as much and were able to hang on to more magnesium on a cellular level.

The amount of magnesium absorbed by food or even supplements requires you to have good functional digestion. If you are suffering from poor digestion, the amount of magnesium you would absorb from food will be very poor. I would suggest eating food rich in magnesium like spinach, avocado, and pumpkin seeds while you are supplementing with magnesium.

Amount of Magnesium Per Serving in Certain Foods: 4

The foods with the lowest calcium are in bold, but some sources may be high in phytates, which would decrease magnesium absorption.

  • Rice bran – 1/2 cup (450 mg)
  • Cashews – 4 oz. (332 mg)
  • Hemp seeds – 3 tbsp (195 mg)
  • Raw pumpkin seeds – 1/4 cup (191 mg)
  • Dark chocolate (the darker the chocolate, the higher the magnesium level) – 4 oz. (164 mg)
  • Spinach – one cup cooked (157 mg)
  • Swiss chard – one cup cooked (151 mg)
  • Wild rice – 1/2 cup cooked (141 mg)
  • Sesame seeds – 1/4 cup (126 mg)
  • Almonds – 1/2 cup (125 mg)
  • Halibut – 4 oz. (121 mg)
  • Black beans – one cup cooked (120 mg)
  • Sunflower seeds – 1/4 cup (114 mg)
  • Brown rice – one cup cooked (84 mg)
  • Tuna – 4 oz. (73 mg)
  • Scallops – 4 oz. (62 mg)
  • Pecans – 1/2 cup (60 mg)
  • Walnuts – 1/2 cup (60 mg)
  • Avocado – one cup (42 mg)
  • Cacao Powder – one tbsp. (27 mg)
  • Shrimp – 4 oz. (28 mg)
  • Broccoli – one cup (19 mg)
  • Cucumber – one cup (14 mg)

Remember because of phytic acid levels of magnesium might not be as bio-available in the body in foods like beans, nuts, and seeds. For example, this means that even though pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium some of it is bounded to phytic acid, therefore, not all of the 191 Mg will be absorbed by the body.

Elemental Magnesium

The supplementation amounts suggested in the guide pertains to elemental magnesium. A supplement will usually have both the total amount of magnesium and the amount of its chelation on the front of the supplement. The elemental magnesium amount is found on the back of the supplement and is the amount of actual magnesium you are getting when you take the supplement. 5

If on the front of the supplement it says that four capsules are 2,000 mg of magnesium malate, and on the back of the supplement it says that you are getting 400 mg of magnesium, then the 400 mg is the elemental amount of magnesium you are assimilating and also means that you will be receiving 1,600 mg of malic acid when you ingest the supplement as well. So out of that 2,000 mg of magnesium malate, 1,600 mg is made up of malic acid, and the other 400 mg of it is the elemental magnesium in the supplement.

18 Comments
  1. John: what´s your take on mag gluconate? Here in my country I cannot get mag glycinate, but I do get mag gluconate… Does it worth?… I´m already taking mag citrate and some chloride, and wondering about adding some other form of mag… Thanks in advance!

  2. John, would he be better of to just supplement Magnesium Glycinate with Natural Calm?

  3. John, would he be better of to just supplement Magnesium Glycinate with Natural Calm?

    • Yes, it would be good to get the effects of both. Glycinate for the calming effect, citrate for loosening the bowels.

  4. I have been supplementing with VRP’s Opti-Mag, 4 caps a day so 480mg. Would it be wise to also take natural calm at night.

  5. I have been supplementing with VRP’s Opti-Mag, 4 caps a day so 480mg. Would it be wise to also take natural calm at night.

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