Using Magnesium for Mega Results
The secret weapon for Recovery, Sleep and Weight Loss
Before we even get started, NO, just taking magnesium supplements is not going to suddenly turn you into the slimmer of the year. Secondly there are several forms of magnesium and for this first part I’m going to talk about magnesium citrate and the difference it can make to weight loss.
To explain how this can happen we first have to understand what really causes your body to gain weight:
Weight gain is obviously about calorie consumption BUT let’s not forget about your hormones and the part they have to play. Weight loss can involve a lot more than simply reducing calories and exercising more.
So, the question really becomes, how does magnesium, and in this case magnesium citrate, help balance your hormones or how else does it lead to weight loss?
And this is where things get interesting…
Magnesium citrate helps you lose weight through a couple of ways:
- Reduction in overall body weight through water loss in the stool
- Increased energy, (if you are deficient)
- Lowering insulin resistance, helping you burn to fat
Anything that makes your bowels move faster will automatically result in a slight loss of total body water. This doesn’t cause your body to burn fat necessarily but it will cause you to lose weight.
Reducing Insulin Resistance
Insulin is a hormone that can wreak havoc on your ability to burn fat as an energy source. Insulin resistance is the process whereby insulin levels are elevated beyond what they should normally be.
When insulin levels get high it causes some nasty effects in the body:
- In the presence of Insulin your body cannot burn fat for energy
- Insulin increases your risk of heart disease and stroke
- Insulin causes your body to store calories as fat
(No matter how low your calorie intake is)
This is even more scary when you consider the growth in rates of prediabetes and diabetes (both conditions caused by insulin resistance).
But here’s the good news:
Magnesium can actually help reverse insulin resistance. In my experience it really is the combination of all three mechanisms above that allow magnesium to be effective in helping some people lose weight. And for the up to 50% of people who are deficient in magnesium it is even more helpful. In those with adequate magnesium levels, it likely won’t result in significant weight loss but can have other beneficial effects.
Magnesium helps improve sleep
When most people consider weight loss they don’t really think about the depth or quality of their sleep.
And that’s too bad, especially since insomnia and a general lack of sleep has been associated with obesity and weight gain.
Put in very simple terms:
Lack of sleep (less than 8 hours per night) = increased blood sugar leading to weight gain and difficulty in losing weight.
So how does magnesium fit into this equation?
It turns out that magnesium – and here I’m talking about all forms of magnesium – can improve the depth and quality of sleep.
This is yet another way that magnesium may lead indirectly to weight loss.
The good news is that almost all forms of magnesium may help to improve your sleep, but some forms tend to help better than others.
Magnesium threonate tends to help those with sleep and mood-related disorders the most.
But how do you know when/if you need magnesium for sleep?
If you aren’t getting 8 hours of sleep per night, OR the quality or depth of your sleep is poor, OR if you have a history of sleep apnoea or other REM sleep disorder then magnesium may help you.
How to Take Magnesium Citrate + other forms of Magnesium
If after reading all of this you have decided to try Magnesium Citrate, (good idea, by the way!), here’s some helpful information to make it more effective.
How much magnesium should you take?
Dosing magnesium citrate is highly individualized.
That being said I recommend starting out at 200mg at night. If you tend to be more sensitive to supplements start out at 100mg per night.
The average dose of Magnesium citrate ranges from 200mg to 2000mg per day. Those with EXTREME constipation or EXTREME deficiency will need to take a lot more.
Adjust your dose and increase it slowly until you are having one loose bowel movement in the morning.
Note: Your bowel movement should NOT be liquid, it should be soft stool.
Who should take it
- Magnesium citrate is for anyone with chronic constipation, IBS, or other gastrointestinal problems
- Anyone with low serum magnesium levels – (if you are getting this tested you want to try to get optimal level above 2.2)
- Anyone with symptoms of muscle cramps, or twitches, etc.
Other forms of Magnesium
As I mentioned earlier, there are other forms of Magnesium to be aware of.
Here are a couple to look out for.
Magnesium Glycinate is particularly useful for people who have low serum magnesium levels but who also have a “sensitive” GI tract.
It’s a form of magnesium that benefits those with high-fasting insulin levels and those who suffer with symptoms of muscle cramps and twitches.
Start with 100-150mg at night and increase the dosage until you have one loose bowel movement in the morning.
Doses range from 300mg-600mg per day
Magnesium Threonate is particularly useful for;
People with issues related to sleep or a history of insomnia
People with a history of mood disorders including depression or bipolar disorder
Anyone with low serum magnesium levels (less than 2.2)
Start with 2 capsules per night
Increase dose up to a maximum of 4 capsules per night
(this form of magnesium should not cause loose stools)
Doses range from 2-4 capsules per day.