Magnesium deficiency is common in the United States. Before you go for a supplement, keep in mind that a few servings of magnesium-rich meals each day might enough to satisfy your daily requirements.
Sources include nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, green vegetables, milk, yogurt, and fortified meals. One ounce of almonds provides 20% of an adult’s daily magnesium requirement. Magnesium can be found in water (tap, mineral, or bottled). Magnesium is also included in several laxatives and antacids.
What is the significance of magnesium? Magnesium is required for a variety of bodily functions, including muscle and neuron function, as well as energy generation.
Magnesium deficiency is seldom accompanied with symptoms. Chronically low levels, on the other hand, can raise the risk of hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.
For healthy individuals, too much magnesium from meals isn’t a problem. Supplements, on the other hand, are a different story. Magnesium supplements or drugs in high dosages can produce nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
Furthermore, magnesium supplements may interfere with some antibiotics and other medications. If you’re thinking about taking magnesium supplements, talk to your doctor or pharmacist first, especially if you regularly use magnesium-containing antacids or laxatives.
However, according to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium plays a top role in the following conditions:
1. Relieves Insomnia
Lacking time with the Sandman? Many of us don’t sleep well. In fact, nearly 50% of older adults have insomnia, with difficulty getting to sleep, early awakening, or not feeling refreshed when you wake because you didn’t sleep soundly. This is partly due to changes in your circadian rhythms, and lifestyle factors, but also from decreased nutrients. You may have heard that magnesium helps you sleep. In fact, it’s a key nutrient for sleep that must be eaten or taken in supplements and properly absorbed to get a good night’s shut-eye.
Magnesium prepares your body for sleep by relaxing your muscles. It also helps to “shut your mind off,” and calms your nerves by regulating two of your brain’s messengers called neurotransmitters that tend to keep you awake. Magnesium is also essential to maintain a healthy “biological clock” and sleep cycle. Getting enough of this mineral helps reduce and prevent sleep disorders.
Research from 2012 found out that magnesium supplements were very effective to improve sleep efficiency, sleep time, and reduce early morning awakening, especially in older adults.
Restless? Magnesium may also prevent restless leg syndrome that contributes to sleep loss in some people. Magnesium is thought to do this not only by relaxing muscles but by lowering inflammation and helping to make your main sleep-enhancing chemicals called melatonin and glutathione. Magnesium and melatonin supplements make good partners. A 2011 study showed that elderly patients with insomnia taking both magnesium and melatonin got to sleep easier, had better quality sleep, had longer sleep time, and were more alert the following morning.
2. Protects Your Heart
If you’re an athlete, you know that magnesium is important for muscles. So what about the most important muscle in your body? Lower magnesium in your diet equates with higher risks of heart disease. That’s because magnesium fuels the heart, protects your heart’s pump, prevents heart attacks, and provides elasticity for heart and blood vessels.
Research from 2016 found that magnesium reduces calcium build up in your heart and arteries (called coronary artery calcification). This is a marker of atherosclerosis and a predictor of cardiovascular death. People with the highest magnesium had 42% lower odds of coronary artery calcification compared to those with the lowest serum magnesium. They also had 48% lower odds of hypertension, and 69% lower odds of myotonic dystrophy (muscle wasting disease that affects many muscles including the heart).
Comparing how small your heart is to the size of the rest of your body, for which it pumps blood throughout, you’ll appreciate how hard your heart must work every second of every day to keep you alive. To accomplish this, it requires huge amounts of energy. The energy that fuels your heart is called ATP: adenosine triphosphate. It is made from the food you eat (especially glucose from carbs). But you can’t make ATP without magnesium. Magnesium is needed for all three stages necessary to convert glucose into ATP. Once made, ATP must attach itself to a magnesium ion in order for it to be used by the body; magnesium is in every ATP molecule.
Find out more about how to tell if your heart is healthy!
3. Combats Asthma
Shortness of breath, chest tightness, trouble sleeping because you’re coughing or wheezing — you know it when you have symptoms of asthma. Magnesium is often used as therapy in hospitals for life-threatening asthma. If you head to the ER with a severe attack, you might receive magnesium because of its potential to stop the spasms of your bronchial muscle (that create narrowing in the tubes carrying air to lungs), and help your lungs breathe easier. This is done to relieve the symptoms, but it also makes sense that low magnesium may relate to the cause of the condition.
There is evidence that people who eat foods higher in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, flavonoids, selenium, and magnesium have lower rates of asthma, all being nutrients which protect cells from damage. Magnesium supplements also help to manage non-extreme cases of the disease on a daily basis in both children and adults. Magnesium relaxes the bronchial muscles (bronchodilation) even when you are not having an attack. Studies show magnesium does this either because it blocks calcium (which can reduce dilation) or due to its vital connection to the enzyme responsible for cell function called adenylyl cyclase.
4. Reduces High Blood Pressure
You might think that high blood pressure is caused by stress or lack of exercise or being overweight or too much salt. But these may just exacerbate the condition that is already lurking in your arteries, caused in part by a mineral deficiency.
Magnesium plays an important role in regulating your blood pressure. It relaxes “smooth muscle” cells, meaning those in your veins and arteries, so they don’t constrict the flow of blood. It also regulates other minerals vital to blood pressure; it maintains the delicate balance between sodium and potassium; it helps the body absorb calcium (and not be deposited in arteries). So magnesium has direct and indirect impacts on high blood pressure risks.
A 2013 study tested not just how much magnesium people ate in their diet, but how much was actually absorbed by their body to qualify whether it indeed reduces risks. Researchers examined over 5,500 people aged 28 to 75 and found that “absorbed magnesium” was associated with a 21% lower risk of hypertension even after considering other aspects of their lifestyle and diet.
A 2017 clinical review involving 20,119 cases of hypertension (and 180,566 people) also found magnesium reduced risk of high blood pressure. Just taking 100 mg per day of a magnesium supplement was associated with a 5% reduction.
Improves Digestion and Relieves Constipation Symptoms of Constipation
Pay attention to your instincts. Resolve a digestive issue before it becomes a chronic one. The food you eat isn’t being correctly digested, whether you have acid reflux, constipation, gas, bloating, or indigestion. This lowers your body’s capacity to absorb nutrients from food, which might lead to long-term health problems.
Did you know that food cannot be digested without the presence of magnesium? Your digestive problems are caused by a lack.
Your body can’t accomplish the “mechanics” of digestion, generate hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), make carbohydrate, protein, and fat digesting enzymes, or repair and preserve your digestive organs without magnesium (esophagus, stomach, intestines, pancreas, colon).
Magnesium is activated as soon as you put food in your mouth. It aids the digestive process by promoting the production of enzymes in your saliva that break down food into smaller pieces. Magnesium is required for the hormones that signal your stomach to make digestive acid; without it, you won’t be able to digest food. Food passes through your stomach and into your intestines, where additional pancreatic enzymes break it down into small enough pieces to be absorbed as nutrients. Magnesium is required for the pancreas to produce these important enzymes. Magnesium also helps to maintain the health of the pancreas, reducing the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.
Many people believe that acid reflux (heartburn) and GERD are caused by too much stomach acid, however they are really caused by too little stomach acid. Magnesium shortage has an impact on these illnesses as well. How? A faulty esophageal sphincter causes GERD and acid reflux. This can arise as a result of bacterial overgrowth caused by a lack of stomach acid. Magnesium helps to produce stomach acid, which helps to decrease harmful bacteria in the gut.
Is it possible to have a slow flow? Poor elimination (constipation) is the most prevalent end effect of poor digestion of all of these problems. Constipation is one indication of magnesium insufficiency. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, 16% of individuals are chronically constipated, which means they have three or fewer bowel movements each week. Discover the most frequent causes of constipation and what you can do to avoid them!
5. Helps to Prevent Diabetes
Are you on the verge of a nervous breakdown? When you’re pre-diabetic, you may question what precautions you should take to avoid becoming type 2 diabetes. Getting adequate magnesium is, once again, a natural way to stay healthy. Magnesium has a crucial role in insulin sensitivity. It’s no surprise that metabolic illnesses like type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance are linked to magnesium deficiency.
According to 2014 research, magnesium shortage is linked to the “acute phase response,” which contributes to type 2 diabetes. Supplements were provided to persons who appeared to be in good health but had low magnesium levels due to prediabetes. Magnesium supplementation reduced their C-reactive protein levels. Diabetics have a high level of C-reactive protein.
Magnesium insufficiency has also been associated to poor glycemic control, diabetic retinopathy (eye damage leading to blindness), nephropathy (kidney damage leading to renal failure), neuropathy (nerve damage), and foot ulcers in those who already have type 2 diabetes. As a result of the rise in these illnesses among type 2 diabetics, scientists strongly advise supplementing with magnesium.
Have you been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? Magnesium supplementation, according to the American Diabetes Association, can help people with insulin-dependent diabetes live healthier lives. It cites studies that demonstrate people with type 1 diabetes who took magnesium had better metabolic control, higher good (HDL) cholesterol, and lower triglycerides, all of which lessen the risk of heart disease.
6. Aids in Bone Health
You’re well aware that calcium is required for bone development. Calcium, however, is only one of numerous elements necessary for strong and pliable bones. Magnesium, its companion, is equally important (and is aided by minerals like boron, copper, nickel, phosphorus, silicon, and zinc). Magnesium is a metal that is abundant in bones, allowing them to be as strong and bendable as metal! About 25 grams of magnesium are found in an adult’s body, with over half of that being in the bones.
Magnesium has been shown to slow down the deterioration of bones. Magnesium shortage can also lead to brittle bones. According to a 2013 study, a healthy amount of magnesium in the bones is essential for bone health; too little magnesium causes bone loss by:
Affecting the production of “crystals” in bone cells.
Having an effect on how much parathyroid hormone is produced. (Parathyroid hormone regulates the amount of calcium your body absorbs.)
Creating inflammation in your bones.