Magnesium is a rather common nutrient with a lot of information surrounding its benefits.

As long as we don’t take way too much of it, it’s rather safe.

The most confusing aspect to magnesium is probably the fact there are about a dozen different forms.

Article Highlights

  • Magnesium has connections to everything
  • Magnesium and Iodine
  • Magnesium gets a little complex. Go slow
  • How I started and continue to take magnesium
  • Links to brands I use
“Magnesium is effective for mild-to-moderate depression in adults. It works quickly and is well tolerated without the need for close monitoring for toxicity.” 1

Magnesium has connections to:

  • Over 600 enzymes 2
  • Exercise performance 3
  • Fibromyalgia 4 5 6
  • Depression 7 8
  • Type 2 diabetes 9
  • Lower blood pressure 10
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits 11
  • Migraine prevention 12
  • Reduced insulin resistance 13 14
  • Improved sleep quality 15
  • Osteoporosis 16
  • Restless leg syndrome 17

Early signs of magnesium deficiency:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

As magnesium deficiency worsens:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle contractions and cramps
  • Seizures
  • Personality changes
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Coronary spasms

Altered magnesium balance can be found in diabetes mellitus, chronic renal failure, nephrolithiasis, osteoporosis, aplastic osteopathy, and heart and vascular disease. 18

Magnesium deficiency combined with a high-fructose diet induces insulin resistance, hypertension, dyslipidemia, endothelial activation and prothrombic changes in combination with the upregulation of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. 19

Magnesium in The Iodine Protocol

Dr. Brownstein’s Iodine Protocol suggests we should get about 200-400mg per day of magnesium while taking iodine. I have a feeling it’s included in the iodine protocol because iodine is potentially allowing us to carry out more biological processes.

There is a lot of information about magnesium on this page and in general because it’s involved in so many processes. Iodine is a powerful nutrient because it’s also part of a lot of processes. As we give our system powerful nutrients it requires, it’s most likely going to depend on other important nutrients. Some of us may need magnesium before iodine can work correctly, others may need iodine before magnesium works properly. Some of us may need a lot of other nutrients before either work well.

The information Dr. Brownstein is sharing is based on what worked for him while working with his clients. But he addresses outstanding issues like stomach acid or outstanding nutritional deficiencies. So we may potentially not be ready to jump into his protocol at 50mg of iodine and 200-400mg of magnesium. We may want to start with much smaller amounts of these nutrients to see how our body responds to them. I share a neat method of judging how much

Magnesium can be powerful, go slow

There are about a dozen forms of magnesium we can supplement. This adds a bit of complexity to all of this but it also highlights how important this nutrient is. We may not notice benefits from every single form right now but once our cells are moving forward their demands may change.

There are a handful of graphics, articles, videos and books that cover the benefits we might experience from each form of magnesium. But I feel like this is slightly misleading.

I think it implies that there are:

  • a few forms of magnesium that make sense for us, and
  • the rest don’t matter if we don’t have any matching symptoms.

I think this is an incorrect way of looking at this.

Just because we don’t have symptoms related to a specific form of magnesium doesn’t mean we’re not going to benefit from that form. If a few forms of magnesium match our symptoms we might be able to benefit form those before others, but I don’t see any reason to restrict ourselves to one or a few forms of magnesium. We end up going through a decent amoutn of magnesium over time. Before running out of one form, I order a different form and try to cycle through all the forms I have.

More about magnesium’s power

Important is an understatement

The following bullet points are advanced topics that can seem intimidating. But ignore the complexity of their names for a second and hover each one. Skim over the information I’ve provided in each popup and try to imagine all the systems that depend on magnesium.

  • Enzyme substrate (ATP-Mg, GTP-Mg)
  • Kinases B
  • Hexokinase
  • Creatine kinase
  • Protein kinase
  • ATPases or GTPases
  • Na+ /K+-ATPase
  • Ca2+-ATPase
  • Cyclases
  • Adenylate cyclase
  • Guanylate cyclase
  • Direct enzyme activation
  • Phosphofructokinase
  • 5-Phosphoribosyl-pyrophosphate synthetase
  • Membrane function
  • Cell adhesion
  • Transmembrane electrolyte flux
  • Calcium antagonist
  • Muscle contraction/relaxation
  • Neurotransmitter release
  • Action potential conduction in nodal tissue
  • Structural function
  • Proteins
  • Polyribosomes
  • Nucleic acids
  • Multiple enzyme complexes
  • Mitochondria

More technical info about magnesium

So many forms of magnesium

Different forms of magnesium are just different nutrients magnesium is able to bind with. Our cells use these various forms to do slightly different biochemistry.

The different nutrients that magnesium is attached to likely help it get to different cells. This is almost like having a boat vs a jetpack vs taking the bus etc. Or, our cells might depend on a specific form of magnesium because it has special ways of handling different electrons or whatever chemistry is doing.

As I researched different forms of magnesium trying to decide which one is best and which ones I should avoid, I realized they all seem to have some benefits and they all seem to have some precautions. So instead of looking for one right one and making sure I avoid whichever ones are wrong, I starting looking at the different forms of magnesium the same way I look at just about all nutrients.

I explain that situation a bit here

Links to different forms I use

Here is a link to Magnesium Malate

Then I tried Magnesium Oxide

Then I tried this combo of Magnesium Oxide, Citrate and Aspertate

Then I tried Magnesium Gylcinate

Then I tried some L-Threonate which is good for the brain

Then I tried and really liked Marine Based Magnesium Hydroxide

Then I started using Chelated Magnesium

I also add a pinch of Magnesium Sulfate to water sometimes, which is epsom salt.

Sometimes I use small amounts of something like  Malate + Vitamin B6 to make sure I have a little B6 as I continue using more magnesium.

And chewable forms like this one from Seeking Health can help if someone doesn’t like taking capsules.

Source Naturals

I finally located a good online store to order Source Naturals magnesium. I’ve been using their chelated form for years and love it, but was only able to purchase it locally in small quantities.

Ultra Mag Hi Efficiency Magnesium 200mg – Magnesium (magnesium citrate, taurinate, glycinate, malate and succinate) 400 mg plus B6 to help utilize the magnesium. I take this once a week or so when I have some. Shop Ultra Mag at

Magnesium Chelate 100mg elemental – 100mg magnesium chelate. 26mg calcium. I take this 1-2 times per day most days with a few days off. Shop magnesium chelate at

Magnesium Breakthrough

I figured this product was a gimmick at first, or potentially a scam due to their sales page. But I noticed a lot of people saying they like it other than it being a little pricey.

My wife any I have been using this one and I’ve been recommending it to others for years. I order 3-5 bottles at a time and slowly cycle it in with the rest of my magnesium. Sometimes when I buy 3 bottles it offers me two more bottles at 30% off which is decent.

Magnesium Breakthrough contains 7 forms of magnesium:

  • Magnesium Chelate
  • Magnesium Citrate
  • Magnesium Bisglycinate
  • Magnesium Malate
  • Magnesium Aspartate
  • Magnesium Taurate
  • Magnesium Orotate

Buy Magnesium Breakthrough Here Scroll down about 75% of the way for purchasing options. Their page is rather obnoxious.


Balancing with other electrolytes

Magnesium is one of four main electrolytes which support each other and also depend on each other. Magnesium cannot function properly without enough sodium, potassium, and calcium.

Eating fresh foods increases our chances of consuming potassium and calcium. The iodine protocol has us add a good bit of unrefined salt to our food. As we support these other electrolytes as well as our metabolism, our demand for magnesium may increase a good bit, which is why learning about supplementing it in several forms can be helpful.

Learn more about electrolytes at

Learn more about magnesium

Magnesium is so important to our biochemistry. So understanding how our biochemistry works makes it much easier to understand what this means as well as how to make better use of the information.

I am working on a project to help others visualize our genetics and their nutritional demands. I’m still working on a video for magnesium’s role specifically, but my overview video may help paint a picture of why it’s so important to the system.

Watch my new videos here

  1. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial –
  2. Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease –
  3. Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance? – Nutrients. 2017 Sep; 9(9): 946. Published online 2017 Aug 28. doi: 10.3390/nu9090946 –
  4. Magnesium deficit in a sample of the Belgian population presenting with chronic fatigue –
  5. Selenium and magnesium status in fibromyalgia –
  6. Treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome with Super Malic: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, crossover pilot study –
  7. Magnesium and major depression – Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. –
  8. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial –
  9. Magnesium and type 2 diabetes – World J Diabetes. 2015 Aug 25; 6(10): 1152–1157.
  10. The role of magnesium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease – Review J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011 Nov;13(11):843-7. –
  11. Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives – J Inflamm Res. 2018; 11: 25–34.Published online 2018 Jan 18. –
  12. Magnesium in headache – Magnesium in the Central Nervous System [Internet]. –
  13. Association of Serum Magnesium Deficiency with Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus – J Lab Physicians. 2015 Jul-Dec; 7(2): 75–78. –
  14. Effects of Magnesium Deficiency on Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes: Focusing on the Processes of Insulin Secretion and Signaling – Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Mar; 20(6): 1351.Published online 2019 Mar 18. –
  15. Magnesium Intake and Sleep Disorder Symptoms: Findings from the Jiangsu Nutrition Study of Chinese Adults at Five-Year Follow-Up –
  16. Magnesium and Osteoporosis: Current State of Knowledge and Future Research Directions –
  17. Clinical, EEG, electromyographic and polysomnographic studies in restless legs syndrome caused by magnesium deficiency –
  18. Magnesium metabolism in health and disease –
  19. High fructose consumption combined with low dietary magnesium intake may increase the incidence of the metabolic syndrome by inducing inflammation –
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February 6, 2023

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