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June 28, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Vegan Magnesium Supplements

It is certainly possible to get enough of this essential mineral through diet alone.

However, in some cases, such as in those with gastrointestinal problems or type 2 diabetes, this may not be the case.

Using a supplement may be helpful for those who struggle with getting enough of this mineral.

Read on to discover why vegans need magnesium and what's the best vegan magnesium supplement that we recommend.

Why Do Vegans Need Magnesium?

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Magnesium needs for vegans are the same as someone who eats meat, however, there are plenty of reasons why many people need magnesium.

For a start, it is an essential mineral that performs several important bodily functions, so your healthcare provider may advise you to keep adequate levels of this mineral to support your mental and physical health.

Additionally, magnesium also helps regulate zinc absorption, thus may aid in alleviating health problems related to low zinc levels.

Health professionals recommend supplementing with magnesium to help:

  • Reduce blood pressure [1]
  • Improve mood [2]
  • Control blood sugar levels [3]
  • Improved heart health [4]
  • Treat migraines [5]

Preserves the health of the nervous system [6]

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral found in your body, where it helps in over 300 biochemical reactions. Unfortunately, your body cannot produce this mineral naturally, so you must get it either through your whole foods diet or from supplements. And with a vegan, animal products free diet, it may be more challenging to obtain the recommended amount.

More on our recommended magnesium below.

Low magnesium levels resulting from any health condition may cause muscle weakness, cramps, unhealthy thyroid function, and even irregularity in your heart rhythm.

How Much Magnesium Do Vegans Need?

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Whether you are vegan or not, the recommended daily magnesium intake remains the same.

According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements [7], healthy men should be consuming between 400 to 420 milligrams of magnesium each day.

Healthy adult women should be consuming between 310 to 320 milligrams daily. Pregnant women should be consuming a higher dosage, between 350 to 400 milligrams daily, depending on age. A good vegan prenatal vitamin supplement typically fall within this range.

For magnesium supplements, it is recommended that you consume no more than 350 milligrams daily. This is because the magnesium found in these supplements differs from the magnesium found naturally in the food we eat.

Too much magnesium from food does not pose a health risk in healthy individuals because the kidneys eliminate excess amounts in the urine.

- US Office of Dietary Supplements

Consuming more than the recommended dosage may result in side effects being experienced, such as diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps.

Vegan Foods Rich In Magnesium

Magnesium can be found in many different whole foods and dark leafy greens, so make sure you are eating the following food sources:

  • Dark Chocolate. This is rich in magnesium, with 64 mg in a 28-gram serving [8]. That's 16% of your RDI. It is also a good source of iron, copper, manganese and various antioxidants that help fight off the free radicals that damage your cells [9]. Dark chocolates typically don’t contain any dairy products, hence, are staples in a vegan menu.
  • Avocados. A medium avocado contains 58 mg of magnesium or 15% of your RDI [10]. They are also high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin C. Because of how nutrient-dense avocados are, your healthcare practitioner or dietitian may recommend having them regularly to support your overall health and immune function.
  • Nuts. The types of nuts that are rich in magnesium are almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts, with cashews containing an impressive 82 mg in a 28-gram serving (20% of your RDI) [11]. Nuts are a good source of fiber and monounsaturated fats that can help to improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels [12]. Peanut butter is also a great way to get your magnesium fix.
  • Legumes. They are a source of various nutrients, including magnesium, with a single cup containing an incredible 120 mg of this mineral. That is an impressive 30% of your RDI [13].
  • Tofu. This is a popular food choice in many vegan diets due to its protein content. It contains 53 mg in a 100-gram serving (13% RDI).

Types of Vegan Magnesium Supplements

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There are various types available, including the following:

  • Magnesium Chloride. This is one of the most popular varieties and is extracted from brine or ocean water. It is claimed to be one of the most effective types, helping to encourage sleep and better digestion.
  • Magnesium Sulfate. Otherwise known as Epsom salts, this has long been used by athletes to ease sore muscles.
  • Magnesium Citrate. Derived from citrus acid, magnesium citrate is one of the most highly recommended varieties and has been shown to naturally support your digestive system.
  • Magnesium Oxide. Magnesium oxide has the lowest bioavailability of all varieties and is found in Milk of Magnesia.
  • Magnesium Glycinate. It also contains the amino acid glycine, which is known for its ability to calm both your mind and body.
  • Magnesium Orotate. It helps to encourage better heart health, plus contain orotic acid that has been used by athletes to aid the repair of damaged muscle fibers.
  • Magnesium L-Threonate. A recent discovery that has shown to provide good bioavailability and may potentially improve cognitive function.

Magnesium Absorption Factors

Magnesium absorption may be slowed down by several factors, including:

  • The presence of other minerals. Other trace minerals use the same transport mechanism, so consuming them alongside each other may reduce the overall amount absorbed. Iron, in particular, has been shown to have a negative impact on absorbability [14].
  • Non-fermentable fiber and phytic acid in your diet. This is particularly relevant for vegans, as you will tend to consume more fiber-rich foods than other diet groups. The problem is that certain fibrous foods contain non-fermentable fiber and phytic acid then reduces absorption [15].
  • Unabsorbed fatty acids. This won’t apply for most of you reading this, however, for those of you with gastrointestinal disorders, you may find that magnesium binds with the fatty acids in your GI tract, creating a soap that is excreted from your body without being absorbed [16].

On the other hand, here are the factors that improve absorption of magnesium in the body:

  • The consumption of protein. There is a link that higher protein intake results in better absorption of this essential mineral [17].
  • Eating fermentable fibers. Certain carbohydrates, specifically those that contain fructose and oligosaccharides, may increase absorbability [18].
  • Vitamin D levels. To improve absorption, it is worthwhile getting a little sun exposure. When your skin is exposed to the sun, your body will produce vitamin D, which has been shown to improve magnesium absorption [19].
  • Using effervescent tablets. Using these tablets instead of capsules may help as they are dissolved in water prior to being ingested [20].
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There are various types of supplements available, such as vegan capsules. However, the only consideration you need when choosing a vegan appropriate variety is to ensure it is free of gelatin.

Gelatin is an animal protein, so for obvious reasons should be avoided.

Of all the varieties available, our most highly recommended type is magnesium chelate, which is in a form that is easily absorbed by your body. Ensuring as much of this important mineral is absorbed and not lost during the digestive process.

FAQs

How Much Magnesium Do Vegans Need?

Vegans need to consume between 400 to 420 milligrams of magnesium per day if they are a healthy adult male, and between 310 to 320 milligrams daily if they are a healthy adult female.

Are Vegans Magnesium Deficient?

No, vegans are not generally magnesium deficient due to the plant foods they eat.

People who are usually deficient in magnesium are those with gastrointestinal diseases, those with type 2 diabetes, older people, and those who are dependent on alcohol.

How Long Does It Take To Correct A Magnesium Deficiency?

It will take 30-60 days to correct a magnesium deficiency in the majority of cases.

When a severe deficiency is experienced, the mineral will be administered intravenously to ensure a quick recovery.

future kind Vegan Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium deficiency can lead to a cascade of physiological problems, which may include irregular cardiac rhythm, neuromuscular disorder, and pH imbalance.

People with gastrointestinal diseases, type 2 diabetes, alcohol dependency, and the elderly are prone to such risks the most.

Out of all the vegan magnesium supplements in the market, my top pick would be Future Kind’s Vegan Magnesium Glycinate. The reason I prefer this product above every other is that it is made of chelated magnesium, meaning that it is easily absorbable and doesn’t cause that unpleasant laxative effect.

The secret to Future Kind’s appeal is in the bonding of the magnesium mineral to the amino acid glycine, ensuring that it immediately goes to work in your body.

This potent supplement relies on organic rice bran to ensure proper digestion, and also contains antioxidants.

Another thing I like about this product is the capsules are made of the bark of pine tree specifically formulated to control the release of magnesium.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016150/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27910808
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549665/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5852744/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25916335/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024559/
  7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
  8. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/10638/2
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21299842
  10. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1843/2
  11. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3095/2
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21715526
  13. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4284/2
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16711472
  15. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/133/1/1/4687577
  16. https://www.jle.com/en/revues/mrh/e-docs/magnesium_and_depression_308520/article.phtml?tab=references
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/5774244
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10682873
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1496118
  20. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/46404497_Bioavailability_of_magnesium_from_different_pharmaceutical_formulations