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9 Best Health Benefits of Magnesium

The best synergistic Vitamins and Mineralshealth benefits of magnesiumMagnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body. Magnesium plays several important roles in the health of your body and brain. It is also essential for general well-being. However, you may not be getting enough of it in y daily diet.

Magnesium is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, maintains heartbeat, and helps keep bones strong. It also helps to adjust blood glucose levels. It contributes to the production of energy and protein.

The insufficient presence of magnesium in the diet has been linked to a number of major health problems. A magnesium deficiency causes all kinds of damage to your cells, and the damage gets worse with age. After bones, the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body are found in the heart and brain, which is why a deficiency can even be fatal.

How much magnesium do I need?

The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health recommends 400 to 420 mg per day for men between 19 and 50 years of age, and 310 to 320 mg for women in the same age group, with higher recommended amounts for pregnant and breastfeeding women. For children and adolescents, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) ranges from 80 mg to 410 mg depending on age and gender.

Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Magnesium
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 30 mg 30 mg
7–12 months 75 mg 75 mg
1–3 years 80 mg 80 mg
4–8 years 130 mg 130 mg
9–13 years 240 mg 240 mg
14–18 years 410 mg 360 mg 400 mg 360 mg
19–30 years 400 mg 310 mg 350 mg 310 mg
31–50 years 420 mg 320 mg 360 mg 320 mg
51+ years 420 mg 320 mg

Health Benefits of Magnesium

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Magnesium reduces fatigue and regulates sleep

Magnesium is an essential sleep nutrient that must be eaten or taken as a supplement and properly absorbed to get a good night’s sleep.

Magnesium prepares your body for sleep by relaxing your muscles. It also helps calm your nerves by regulating two of the messengers in your brain called neurotransmitters that tend to keep you awake. Magnesium is also essential for maintaining a healthy “biological clock” and sleep cycle. An adequate supply of this mineral can reduce and prevent sleep disturbances.

A 2012 study showed that magnesium supplementation improves subjective and objective measures of insomnia in the elderly and could become a useful tool in the management of sleep disorders in the elderly, which could also be extended as a useful aid to the general population.[1]

Research suggests that some cases of restless legs syndrome may be caused by magnesium deficiency, and magnesium supplements may reduce RLS symptoms which contributes to sleep loss in some people. [2]

Magnesium is thought to do this not only by relaxing muscles but also by reducing inflammation and helping to produce the main sleep-enhancing chemicals, melatonin, and glutathione.

Supplementing both the mineral magnesium and melatonin together promotes a deeper, longer, more restful sleep. Magnesium glycinate nourishes at least 300 essential metabolic activities in the body, including the relaxation of nerves and muscles, doing so with a low risk of unpleasant side effects or drug interactions.

Protect your heart health

Your heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle, it needs magnesium to function normally and healthily. Magnesium is essential for a healthy heart rhythm because it helps transport other electrolytes, such as calcium and potassium, into the cells.[4]

Electrolytes are very important for the nerve signals and muscle contractions of normal heart rhythm. Research shows that a magnesium deficiency, or a limited intake of magnesium, increases irregular heartbeats, called arrhythmias.

A 2018 research showed that magnesium plays an important role in cardiovascular health. It is essential for the proper maintenance of cell membrane potential and mitochondrial function and plays a key role in the body’s antioxidant pathways. As a result, magnesium deficiency can lead to serious morbidity and mortality and has been implicated in multiple cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, dyslipidemia, and diabetes.[3]

Studies have suggested that early diagnosis and timely magnesium supplementation may be beneficial in patients with certain heart diseases.

 Asthma control

Magnesium is often used as a therapy for asthma, which can be fatal. low magnesium levels may be linked to the cause of the condition.

Magnesium sulfate is a bronchodilator. It relaxes the bronchial muscles and dilates the airways, allowing more air to flow into and out of the lungs. This can relieve asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath. Doctors mainly use magnesium sulfate to treat people who have severe asthma attacks.

Magnesium regulates blood pressure

Experts at Harvard Medical School cite magnesium as one of the key minerals for healthy blood pressure. Magnesium helps blood vessels relax, which is an important factor in regulating blood pressure. Magnesium promotes healthy blood pressure, already in the normal range.

Magnesium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. Magnesium, therefore, has a direct and indirect impact on the risk of high blood pressure.

According to clinical studies[4], magnesium supplementation is recommended in hypertensive patients who are receiving diuretics, who suffer from resistant or secondary hypertension or who are frankly magnesium deficient. A magnesium-rich diet should be encouraged in the prevention of hypertension, particularly in susceptible communities because of the other benefits of such a diet in prevention.

Improves digestion and relieves intestinal regularity

Some people may have slow digestion, which can lead to occasional constipation. Magnesium is involved in the relaxation of muscles, including those in the intestinal wall. Some magnesium salts attract water into the intestinal tract and make it easier to have a bowel movement. Magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are more bioavailable and help improve magnesium levels.

Magnesium deficiency contributes to digestive disorders. Without magnesium, your body cannot mechanically digest food, produce hydrochloric acid (stomach acid), make digestive enzymes for carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, and repair and protect your digestive organs (esophagus, stomach, intestines, pancreas, colon).

Magnesium also helps make enzymes in your saliva that break down food into smaller parts, helping the entire digestive process. The hormones that make your stomach produce digestive acid need magnesium to be made. In the intestines, other enzymes made by the pancreas break them down enough to be absorbed as nutrients.

Un early research showed that magnesium deficiency is frequently observed in cases of steatorrhea or severe chronic diarrhea such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, Whipple’s disease, and short bowel syndrome.  Magnesium malabsorption is secondary to the formation of insoluble magnesium soaps, and a low-fat diet improves magnesium balance in these patients.[5] One of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency is constipation.

Diabetes protection

Magnesium is an important cofactor for enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism.  Research has shown that there is a close relationship between magnesium and the action of insulin.  Magnesium deficiency is common in metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.

A 2019 study has shown that maintaining serum magnesium concentrations within the reference range is essential for normal insulin secretion and activity, as well as for the optimal functioning of many enzymes involved in glucose and energy metabolism. Magnesium deficiency may be associated with beta-cell dysfunction, insulin resistance (IR), reduced glucose tolerance, and ultimately clinical manifestations of type 2 diabetes. Oral magnesium supplementation and appropriate dietary habits improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.[6]

 Magnesium  contributes to bone health

Magnesium is actually a metal, and is found in abundance in bones! The body of an adult contains about 25 grams of magnesium, 50-60% of which is present in the bones.

Magnesium is known to reduce the rate at which bones break down or decompose. A magnesium deficiency can lead to brittle bones.

According to American Bone Health, magnesium is important for bone health. People who consume a lot of magnesium have higher bone mineral density, which is important in reducing the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. A higher intake of magnesium from food or supplements may help older women improve their bone mineral density.

Improve muscle function

Magnesium is an electrolyte, essential for muscle contraction and relaxation. Magnesium also plays a role in energy metabolism, while maintaining normal muscle function.[7]  physically active people may be vulnerable to lower magnesium levels or magnesium deficiency, which can impact their performance. Studies have shown that serum magnesium concentration is an independent correlate of muscle performance in the elderly. [8]

Adequate dietary magnesium intake or magnesium supplementation helps to restore healthy magnesium levels.

 Magnesium is an excellent anti-stress

Magnesium is vitally important for the proper functioning of the brain. The fourth most abundant mineral in your body, magnesium is essential for hundreds of enzymatic reactions that affect everything from bones to blood sugar to nerves and brain cells. A lack of dietary magnesium can contribute to increased stress, which in turn can have an impact on magnesium levels. Low levels of magnesium in the blood – due to stress, diet, genetics, or other medical conditions – can contribute to inflammation, which could lead to chronic migraines.

Food sources of magnesium

Magnesium is found in abundance in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and legumes,  avocado, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds,  tuna. However, if you don’t get enough of these healthy foods in your diet, a daily magnesium supplement can help.

Most research agrees that if your body is already in deficit, it is rarely possible to get a therapeutic dose of any nutrient from meals alone. Supplementation is the only way to make up the shortfall.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency can include:

  • Muscle Twitches and Cramps
  • Mental Disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Fatigue and Muscle Weakness
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Asthma
  • Irregular Heartbeat

 

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How to take a magnesium supplement

A magnesium supplement can’t work by itself. Calcium must be in the right balance or ratio; the absorption and metabolism of calcium and magnesium depend on each other. Most calcium and magnesium supplements contain a ratio of two parts calcium to one-part magnesium. The logic behind this ratio is based on the relative amounts of these nutrients used in the body.

Too much magnesium without calcium can lead to unpleasant side effects, including diarrhea, nausea, muscle weakness, and irregular heartbeat.

Magnesium and calcium also need co-factors, called “co-factors”, to benefit bones, muscles, heart and other processes. They must contain sufficient vitamin D3, vitamin K2, boron, and trace elements.

The types of magnesium that are better absorbed are as follows:

Magnesium citrate: Magnesium citrate is a form of magnesium that is bound to citric acid. Magnesium citrate is a saline laxative that is thought to work by increasing fluid in the small intestine. It usually results in a bowel movement within 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Magnesium lactate: Magnesium lactate is a natural mineral that the body needs to support the functioning of the heart, nervous system, and digestive system. Magnesium lactate is used as a mineral supplement to treat magnesium deficiency. Magnesium lactate is an excellent organic magnesium enhancer, widely used in foods, beverages, dairy products, flour, nutritious liquids, and medicines, etc.

Magnesium aspartate: This medicine is a mineral supplement used to prevent and treat low amounts of magnesium in the blood. Some brands are also used to treat symptoms of excess stomach acid such as upset stomach, heartburn, and acid indigestion.

Magnesium chloride: is a type of salt used as a dietary supplement. It is found naturally in seawater but is more easily collected in the brine of salt lakes. Magnesium chloride is thought to improve health, in part by increasing magnesium levels in people with known deficiencies.

Magnesium oxide:  is a salt that combines magnesium and oxygen. It naturally forms a white, powdery substance and can be sold in powder or capsule form. It is also the main active ingredient in milk of magnesia, a popular over-the-counter medication for the relief of constipation.

Magnesium malate: is a compound obtained by combining magnesium and malic acid. Malic acid is present in many fruits and is responsible for their tart taste. It is believed that magnesium malate is better absorbed than other forms of magnesium supplements.

Magnesium taurate:  contains the amino acid taurine. Research suggests that an adequate intake of taurine and magnesium plays a role in the regulation of blood sugar. Thus, this particular form can promote healthy blood sugar levels.  Magnesium and taurine also promote healthy blood pressure.

Magnesium L-threonate : is the salt formed by the mixture of magnesium and threonic acid, a water-soluble substance derived from the metabolic degradation of vitamin C. Magnesium L-threonate  is often used for its potential benefits on the brain and may help manage certain brain disorders, such as depression and age-related memory loss. However, more research is needed. This form is easily absorbed. Animal research shows that it may be the most effective type for increasing magnesium concentrations in brain cells.

Magnesium sulfate: is formed by the combination of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It is commonly called Epsom salt. It is white and has a texture similar to table salt. It can be consumed as a treatment for constipation, but its unpleasant taste leads many people to choose another form of digestive support. Magnesium sulfate is frequently dissolved in bath water to soothe sore and painful muscles and to relieve stress. It is also sometimes included in skincare products such as lotions or body oils.

Magnesium glycinate: is formed from elemental magnesium and the amino acid glycine. Your body uses this amino acid in the construction of proteins. It is also found in many protein-rich foods, such as fish, meat, dairy products, and legumes. Glycine is often used as an independent dietary supplement to improve sleep and treat a variety of inflammatory conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Magnesium glycinate is easily absorbed and may have calming properties. It can help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, and insomnia.

Magnesium Orotate: includes orotic acid, a natural substance that helps build your body’s genetic material, including DNA. It is easily absorbed and does not have the strong laxative effects characteristic of other forms. Research suggests that it may promote heart health because of orotic acid’s unique role in the energy production pathways in your heart and blood vessel tissues. As such, it is popular among competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts, but it can also help people with heart disease.

 

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References: 

[1] Behnood Abbasi, Masud Kimiagar, Khosro Sadeghniiat, Minoo M. Shirazi, Mehdi Hedayati, and Bahram Rashidkhani,  The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, 2012 Dec; 17(12): 1161–1169, PMCID: PMC3703169, PMID: 23853635

[2] L Popoviciu, B Aşgian, D Delist-Popoviciu, A Alexandrescu, S Petruţiu, I Bagathal Clinical, EEG, electromyographic and polysomnographic studies in restless legs syndrome caused by magnesium deficiency,  Jan-Mar 1993;31(1):55-61, PMID: 8363978

[3] James J DiNicolantonio, Jing Liu and James H O’Keefe  Magnesium for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3376-5822, doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2018-000775

[4] R.M.Touyz, Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis of hypertension, Molecular Aspects of Medicine

Volume 24, Issues 1–3, 6 February 2003, Pages 107-136https://doi.org/10.1016/S0098-2997(02)00094-8

[5] R Swaminathan, Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders  2003 May; 24(2): 47–66., PMCID: PMC1855626, PMID: 18568054

[6]Krasimir Kostov, Effects of Magnesium Deficiency on Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance in Type 2 Diabetes: Focusing on the Processes of Insulin Secretion and Signaling, published online 2019 Mar 18. doi : 10.3390/ijms20061351

[7] Yijia Zhang, Pengcheng Xun, Ru Wang, Lijuan Mao, and Ka He Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance?,  2017 Aug 28. DOI: 10.3390/nu9090946, PMID: 28846654

[8] Ligia J Dominguez, Mario Barbagallo, Fulvio Lauretani, Stefania Bandinelli, Angelo Bos, Anna Maria Corsi, Eleanor M Simonsick, and Luigi Ferrucci Magnesium and muscle performance in older persons: the InCHIANTI study, 2006 Aug; 84(2): 419–426.,  DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/84.1.419

 

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