8 Surprising Ways Magnesium Can Benefit You
More than 300 biochemical reactions require magnesium in the body.
It is plentiful in the oceans, rivers, and lakes. Found mostly in legumes, fatty fish, nuts, and some grains and the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.
But most people are deficient in and need more of this vital mineral. But before we discuss how magnesium benefits the body we need to define it.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral and an electrolyte that is vital to our wellbeing and abundant in the body. Some of its jobs include normalizing heart rhythm and blood glucose levels, transporting blood to the vital organs, and metabolizing calcium and vitamin C.
You probably (like me) have heard about the importance of getting enough calcium but did you know that without magnesium, the body cannot process or use calcium?
That means that you could potentially eat a diet high in calcium but if you’re deficient in magnesium, your body won’t be able to assimilate the nutrient, calcium.
Most people today are deficient in magnesium.
In a 2006 National Health and Nutrition Survey, results showed 36.3% of male adults and 31% of female adults had low serum levels of magnesium. The Survey also showed 20% of the general population are deficient in this vital mineral.
This is because industrial agriculture has depleted our soil of this mineral and over-processing strips the food of its nutrients.
The modern lifestyle is also a stressful one and stress depletes the body of magnesium. Another factor is the very high amounts of sugar people take in today. Sugar depletes the body of magnesium because it needs magnesium to break the sugar molecules down.
Most people in the past were able to get adequate levels of magnesium from their diet and environment but that’s not the case today.
The Western diet offers some magnesium but nowhere near enough for optimal health.
8 ways a Magnesium supplement benefits the body
1. Magnesium may lower High Blood pressure
According to this meta-analysis of 34 studies involving over 2000 people, adults with high blood pressure experienced positive effects from oral magnesium supplementation.
In these double-blind placebo-controlled studies, adults who supplemented oral magnesium experienced lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Since magnesium is able to metabolize calcium, these adults experienced better blood flow and healthier blood vessels.
2. Improves sleep quality
One of the ways Magnesium benefits the body is that it regulates the body’s neurotransmitters. These signals help calm the mind and relax the body by sending signals throughout the nervous system.
Low levels of magnesium have been associated with troubled sleep and insomnia. This is because magnesium is also responsible for regulating melatonin which controls sleep-wake cycles.
Trouble falling asleep and anxiety could be a sign of magnesium deficiency.
3. Muscle relaxation
If you’ve ever experienced painful leg cramps you may need more magnesium. That’s because this mineral helps muscles relax.
During a cramp, calcium binds to proteins which cause a contraction. Magnesium helps prevent this by acting as a calcium blocker.
Magnesium causes muscles to relax after contracting.
4. Magnesium is used by over 300 biochemical reactions in the body
Over 300 biochemical reactions depend on magnesium like healthy immune function, healthy heart and circulation, and balanced blood glucose levels.
The human cell contains magnesium that does its job to stabilize enzymes. In other words, our cells depend on magnesium to function.
5. Helps the body maintain strong bones
Strong teeth and bones rely on magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium, and vitamin K. These nutrients work synergistically along with others to build strong bones.
For every 2 parts of calcium in the body, 1 part magnesium is needed to synthesize calcium so that it can actually be used. If there isn’t enough magnesium available calcium cannot be used.
For example, osteoporosis affects millions of people worldwide which causes low bone mass. One of the factors that contribute to this is a deficiency in magnesium. Several studies have shown a link between low levels of magnesium intake from diet and fragile bones that break easily.
6. Magnesium plays a key role in the immune system
Both nonspecific and specific immune response is related to whether or not there are enough stores of magnesium in the body. Did you know that low levels of magnesium cause inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is the root of all chronic diseases. According to this article from the National Institutes of Health, “it is estimated that at least 42% of young adults have an ongoing Magnesium deficiency.”
Magnesium helps activate vitamin D and C, two key vitamins needed for a strong immune system.
7. Helps the body produce energy and protein
To make energy, magnesium is needed. This mineral is responsible for activating ATP in the cells. ATP is a molecule in the cell that stores and transfers energy. Magnesium metabolizes nutrients that we take in into energy.
A deficiency can cause fatigue and lethargy. This study showed positive results in the energy of people who suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome who supplemented magnesium.
8. Magnesium regulates blood glucose levels
Diabetes has been largely related to low magnesium levels and is because insulin resistance results in more magnesium lost in urine than normal.
Magnesium regulates the level of glucose taken from the blood into the cell for use so a deficiency in magnesium could cause insulin resistance.
Best food sources of Magnesium
Dark leafy green vegetables, fish, and whole grains are the best food sources of magnesium, and some of the best sources include nuts like almonds, grains like quinoa, and even dark chocolate.
Magnesium is an important mineral for regulating blood pressure, improving sleep, and strengthening the immune system. But it doesn’t stop there. Magnesium is also a vital mineral for making strong bones and regulating blood glucose levels.
Most people are deficient today because of overfarming of the land and poor gut absorption of nutrients. Adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet and making a magnesium oil can help maintain optimal levels of this amazing mineral.