8 Evidence-based Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium is essential for your body to function, playing an important role in the health of your body and brain In fact, it is involved in more than 600 reactions in your body including protein formation, muscle movements, energy creation, and nervous system regulation.1 It is a mineral that can be found in many natural foods and also taken as a supplement.
Without magnesium, your body would shut down so it actually stores large reserves in the bone, muscles and soft tissue. Magnesium is so important, that it can be found in the skeletal system, muscles, soft tissues and fluids in your body. Here are eight benefits of having enough magnesium.
Improve exercise performance
Magnesium plays a role in exercise performance as its responsible for fueling your muscles by moving blood sugar into your muscles and removing lactic acid.2 This improves your athletic performance as well as regular muscle movement. Studies have confirmed supplemental magnesium can boost exercise performance for the elderly, athletes and those with chronic diseases. 3 4 5
Magnesium also plays an important role in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. During exercise your body may need 10-20% more magnesium than compared to resting.6 One study showed athletes who took magnesium for four weeks had faster running, cycling and swimming times during a triathlon. These athletes also experienced a reduction in insulin and stress hormone levels.
Can Improve Sleep
Magnesium can help you get more sleep by improving your ability to relax. it does this by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for getting you calm and relaxed. 7 Magnesium helps your muscles release tension as well as working with neurotransmitters that tell your brain it is time to calm down and rest.8 It also regulates the sleep hormone, melatonin, which controls sleep cycles.9 By helping to settle the nervous system and muscles, magnesium can help put the body into a better state for sleep.
Magnesium can also help improve sleep quality, getting you into a deep restful sleep. One study using 500mg magnesium doses showed the magnesium group experienced better sleep than the control. 10
Can Lower Blood Pressure
Magnesium plays an important role in general heart health. There is significant evidence to show it can reduce blood pressure, decreasing your chances for heart attack or stroke. 11 12 13 These reductions or normalising of blood pressure only occurred in those people who had high blood pressure to start with. Normal blood pressure levels were not decreased in healthy individuals. 14
Magnesium can also help keep your heart rate rhythm normal, improve cholesterol profile and is used to help treat patients who have suffered a heart attack.
Can help against type 2 diabetes
Magnesium plays an important role in metabolizing both carbohydrates and glucose. High glucose levels in the blood are what leads to type 2 diabetes. Magnesium also increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin, which is essential for proper blood sugar management.
Studies have shown about 48% of people with type 2 diabetes have low levels of magnesium which can impair their natural insulins ability to keep blood sugar down. 15 16 Not only that, but those people with low magnesium actually have a higher risk of developing diabetes.17 18 One study of more than 4000 people for 20 years showed those with the higher magnesium intake were 47% less likely to develop diabetes compared to the lower magnesium people. 19
If you are magnesium deficient, then you are more likely to experience anxiety. Since magnesium plays a big role in how neurons in your brain work, a depletion of it can change how you react to stress. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to an increased risk of depression with an analysis showing people with the lowest magnesium intake had a 22% greater risk of depression. 20 21 Low magnesium can also change your gut bacteria, which play a big role in anxiety as well.
Supplementing with this mineral may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety with potentially significant results, with one trial showing 450mg of daily magnesium improving mood as effectively as an antidepressant drug. 22 23
Can Relieve Migraines
Migraines are incredibly painful headaches that can last for days. Magnesium has been shown to help prevent and even relieve migraines. 24 25 Research indicates those who suffer from migraines are more likely than others to be magnesium deficient. 26
In one study, subjects given 1 gram of magnesium experienced migraine relief more quickly and effectively than common medication. 27
Can Improve PMS Symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome is a common disorder among women of childbearing age. They can suffer from water retention, cramps, tiredness and irritability but magnesium can help. Magnesium has been shown to improve mood, reduce water retention and other symptoms in women with PMS. 28 29
Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation isn’t necessarily a bad thing to be going on in your body as it can act as a signal for healing and recovery. However chronic inflammation is one of the main drivers of aging, obesity and disease. The problems occur when the inflammation doesn’t go away. Low magnesium intake is associated with chronic inflammation with one study showing those with the lowest blood magnesium levels were found to have the highest levels of an inflammatory marker, CRP.
Magnesium is essential for a healthy, happy life. Make sure you are eating plenty of foods that are high in magnesium. If you think your magnesium intake is still too low, then consider a supplement. Once you correct the magnesium deficiency in your body, you will feel much better and be able to live a fuller life.
Our understanding of how the body uses magnesium and how important it is, has developed largely over the last few decades, turning magnesium into a mainstream supplement. Researchers suggest current daily recommendations should be doubled as magnesium is now considered to be a key to overall wellness.
For more everything you need to know about magnesium and magnesium supplements, check out our comprehensive information page here.
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Ron Goedeke MD, BSc Hons MBChB, FNZCAM
Dr Ron Goedeke, specialises in alternative and functional medicine. He is a foundation member of the New Zealand college of Appearance medicine and has been a member of the American Academy of Anti-aging medicine since 1999. With over 20 years of experience in the anti-aging field, Dr Ron Goedeke is recognized as one of New Zealand’s leaders in this new and growing field of medicine.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have heard or read on this website.