Essential Ingredients

Meet Lorenzo Ligabue from Alesco, our Magnesium Producer

7 min read

Meet magnesium and learn how it multitasks in the body.
Meet magnesium and learn how it multitasks in the body.

Essential Takeaways

  • Magnesium regulates over 300 biochemical reactions.
  • Magnesium can hinder calcium absorption, but Alesco's encapsulation ensures that the magnesium doesn’t interact negatively with other minerals.

Can you tell us a little about your company?

We are a privately owned company, and quality is paramount. We really self-screen the products, and we have criteria that each ingredient needs to meet in order to get in our portfolio. We also only use human clinical data. A lot of companies rely on animal studies, but we want to make sure that the dosage being used to get effects in the labs can translate directly to our supplements.

What’s the importance of magnesium in the body?

Magnesium regulates over 300 biochemical reactions. Without magnesium, we wouldn’t be able to produce energy and our muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction. It’s particularly important for women—we see huge deficiencies in those over 50, and for pregnant women it helps ensure healthy fetal growth. Interestingly, magnesium has become more essential than ever because the processed foods we eat today are so low in it. A full eighty percent of us are deficient, which (because it works on the nervous system) leads to noticeable symptoms such as anxiety, trouble sleeping, and muscle aches.

What makes your product unique?

Our product has two important aspects. First, availability. Generally, magnesium is not well-absorbed. Second, magnesium can be tough on your stomach. Our product overcomes both of those side effects because the magnesium is covered. We use special coating that makes the body absorb magnesium as it would lipid, easily and directly through the cells. In that way we circumvent upset stomach and poor absorption in one swoop.

Magnesium can hinder calcium absorption. Is there anything in your product to counteract that?

Here again, it all comes down to encapsulation. Our magnesium doesn’t interact negatively with other minerals because of the way it’s encapsulated. This means it increases the availability of those other minerals in the body.

Can you tell us a little about your sourcing and why you chose magnesium oxide?

Our suppliers are in Italy and our magnesium is sourced from Germany. We decided to use magnesium oxide because it has such a high concentration of elemental magnesium. We reasoned that once we turned it from an inorganic compound to an organic one, the body would absorb it much better than anything on the market—including magnesium citrate, which is currently the gold standard. When we ran the tests, we were right.

It seems like magnesium is having a moment right now. What do you think is behind that?

I really believe it starts with the side effects of deficiency. We’re much more concerned with solving stress and mood problems these days, and adding magnesium to your diet is an easy way to start correcting any imbalances (because it calms you down, it’s also an excellent sleep aid). Additionally there’s a big interest in sports health now; exercise depletes magnesium, and replenishing supplies can increase performance. Lastly, people are caring more and more about brain health; there’s some evidence that in addition to mood, it can improve cognitive function.

What’s next?

One of our products was just named ingredient of the year for the 2016 NutraIngredient Awards, so we’re feeling like what we’re doing is really resonating. We’re investing more and more into research so we can continue to set the highest possible bar for quality and effectiveness.