Types of Magnesium for Vitamin D Supplementation

by Bruce H.

I am interested in your take on vitamin D3 and how it needed magnesium in order to work. I believe you recommend a topical application of magnesium but I'm not clear on how much to take. You indicated my body would know, but that could be anywhere from applying a whole bottle to just a brief spray or splash. Could you be a little more specific on this?

Also, can you recommend a brand of topical magnesium or at least what we should look for?




Hi Bruce,

Magnesium is vitamin D's most important co-factor. All of the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium. Simply put, magnesium deficiency substantially reduces vitamin D's effectiveness.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and every organ depends on it (especially the heart and kidneys).

Yet deficiency in this critical mineral is incredibly common considering the average American's diet of processed and sugary foods.

Granted, you might not need to supplement if your diet is filled with magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens, wheatgrass juice, fresh vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Most of us can't say that that's the case though.

Optimal daily intake is around 500-700 mg. Most Americans are consuming about half that amount.

Common signs of magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps, muscle spasms, tics, trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, anxiety, hyperactivity, migraines, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, PMS, osteoporosis, and much more.

And fair enough point on magnesium dosing. :) Let me clarify.

Oral forms of magnesium are generally not well absorbed by our bodies. The most common form of oral magnesium is magnesium oxide. You'll see it in most store brands because it is cheap and readily available. But magnesium oxide has been shown to be about 4% bioavailable. That means the other 96% of what you thought you were taking ends up being flushed down the toilet.

Other forms vary up to about 40% bioavailability - which still is not very good, especially when you consider their other big problem... They can cause diarrhea when you try to take as much as you need every day. This would be for general maintenance, mind you, not dosages required to rectify a deficiency.

Topical forms of magnesium are highly absorbed and do not cause digestive distress (since you are bypassing the digestive system altogether).

Another key point with the topical magnesium forms is that your skin soaks in as much as it needs and no more.

There are two forms of topical magnesium:

  • Magnesium chloride (also called magnesium oil even though it is not an oil)

  • Magnesium sulfate (also called Epsom salts)

I mainly recommend magnesium chloride because it is highly absorbed and it is easier to use. People are busy and might not have the time to soak in an Epsom salt bath a few times a week.

With the magnesium oil, you just spray it on your skin and rub it in. You might experience a little itching with the first few applications, or if you spray it on sensitive areas. Diluting the spray 1:1 with water will help - and this irritation generally goes away with continued use.

You should rotate the places you apply it for maximum absorption, especially if you notice a light salt buildup on your skin.

I currently use Life-Flo Pure Magnesium Oil. I've tried the more expensive brands, but haven't noticed a difference. I might have just been paying for marketing hype. :)

Hope this answers your questions.

Wishing you the best of health,

Approach Wellness

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