I was deficient of magnesium, but not anymore. I take my supplements religiously every night just before bed – 400 mg of magnesium citrate for me.

It took me years, but this may be the most important supplement for my body. For me, it cured my sleeplessness and problems with an inability to poop regularly.

Of course, everyone’s body is different, but, I hope that my story encourages you to discuss the potential benefits of magnesium with your own doctor.

Different Types of Magnesium

I tried taking magnesium years and years ago, but it didn’t seem to be working. That’s because it wasn’t. When we are young, our bodies absorb nutrients more easily, but as we age our bodies lose that ability. Turns out I was taking magnesium oxide, a type of magnesium that is hard for my body to absorb.

What I needed was a magnesium that absorbs more easily. A few years back, I had trouble sleeping. My doctor, Dr. Leslie Emhoff, suggested three supplements, one of which was magnesium citrate. It turns out that it was the magnesium rather than the other two supplements that helped me return to sleeping regularly. Big problem solved. You can read more here.

But still I skipped taking it – I hate taking pills – sometimes several days in a row until I couldn’t sleep at night. Then I would begin taking it again.

Magnesium for Regularity

So on to problem number two, which was a problem with going number two. Frankly, I just couldn’t figure it out. I watched my fiber intake, but it was hit and miss. I tried to make sure I got whole foods, including whole grains – and plenty of them – but still I found myself constipated from time to time. I couldn’t figure it out.

Then a couple of months ago I was at an elderly friend’s home, and Dr. Oz came on her caretaker’s TV; he was talking about constipation. All of a sudden, all three of us, my friend, her caretaker and I were glued to the set. Seems all three of us, all over 60, have trouble in this department.

Somewhere during his presentation, Dr. Oz said that taking a magnesium supplement can help with constipation. So, I started making sure I took it every night and have had no problems ever since. Voila!

An Underappreciated Supplement

So, what are the potential benefits of magnesium? Well, it turns out magnesium helps with all kinds of problems and is vastly underappreciated when it comes to our health. Magnesium deficiency can be related to all kinds of problems such as muscle cramps and spasms, tics, anxiety, and even seizures. It may also be related to chronic fatigue and depression.

Magnesium is vital for bone health, helping with bone density. For example, did you know that more than half the magnesium stored in our bodies is stored in our bones? And when magnesium is low, our bodies strip it from our bones, where it is needed to work with vitamin D and calcium. For example, magnesium helps vitamin D do its job, which I just found I’m deficient in, even though I was already taking it. (Dr. Emhoff just increased my Vitamin D.)

Magnesium is also important for heart health. It seems that magnesium relaxes our muscles, and our heart is just that – a muscle. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels, and this in turn lowers blood pressure.

Deficiency in magnesium may be linked to the growing number of problems with insulin resistance and type II diabetes. There seems to be a correlation between type II diabetes and lower magnesium stores.

Magnesium deficiency may be linked to inflammation as well. One study showed a correlation between higher magnesium stores and fewer markers for inflammation.

But back to the bathroom problem for a moment. I remember my Grandmother taking Milk of Magnesia. I didn’t know why she took it, but I now know it was a laxative.

It seems that constipation is not caused by magnesium deficiency, but that taking magnesium citrate simply helps relax your bowels and draws water into the intestines. You can read about it here. The article also talks about those of us who should not take magnesium citrate. If you fall in one of these categories, you should speak to your doctor before taking it.

Sources of Magnesium

I take my magnesium as a supplement, but many people may be able to get it from the foods they eat. I’m a meat eater and love beef, chicken, pork, fish, etc., but you need leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and legumes to get enough magnesium.

Also, there are foods that take magnesium out of our bodies, such as sodas and caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea. I drink a lot of tea, so I probably need to take the supplement. A very good article about magnesium deficiency can be found here.

Magnesium is involved in more than 300 reactions in our bodies. So, magnesium needs to be elevated to a super supplement in my book – especially since it helps with problems in both my bedroom and my bathroom. All I know, though, is that magnificent magnesium has made my life so much easier.

Did you understand the difference between the two types of magnesium? Do you take supplements to ensure healthy aging? Are there any that you feel have contributed to good health in your 60s? Please share in the comments section below.

Cindy Roe LittlejohnNative Floridian Cindy Roe Littlejohn blogs at the Old Age Is Not For Sissies, where life is good and every day is an adventure. At 62 she is healthy, married, a mother to three, and grandmother of six. She is an author and writer, a tree farmer, and a retired lobbyist. She loves to travel on old trails, garden, do genealogy, spend time in the outdoors, and spend time with her family. You can reach her at oldageisnotforsissies@yahoo.com

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