Did you know that over 600 enzymatic reactions in the body need Magnesium? It is amazing what one mineral can do. Every cell needs this vital mineral to produce energy and carry out necessary bodily functions. This is why ensuring your personal Magnesium tank is full is so important. For reference, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Magnesium for adults 19-51+ years is 400-420 mg daily for men and 310-320 mg for women.
Magnesium is becoming a more common deficiency often because our soils are becoming depleted of minerals and not producing fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains that are as nutrient-dense. We are missing alot of essential nutrients neede for our health due to ultra-processed diets. For this reason, it can often be easiest to boost Magnesium levels by taking a supplement in order to efficiently meet our daily needs. Magnesium is generally absorbed at a rate of 30-40% at a given time, which means splitting up dosages can be useful. You could do this by taking half a dose in the morning and half at night to maximize absorption. Here are 10 Magnesium benefits
Benefits of Magnesium
Improve Brain Health
In addition to playing a critical role in nerve function, Magnesium also is a protective agent against oxidative stress and cell death in the brain. On a cellular level, this important mineral blocks harmful neurotransmitters in the brain that can lead to cell death and can cause neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, migraines, and anxiety. Due to its role in brain function and mood, very low levels of Magnesium have also been associated with depression. Consuming inadequate amounts of Magnesium through your diet or supplementation may increase your risk for these conditions.
There are many different forms of magnesium, however, Magnesium glycinate, in particular, is one of the most absorbable forms and is best for relaxation and improving quality of sleep. Binding to glycine is what makes Magnesium glycinate absorb so well. Glycine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that our body naturally produces it on its own. It acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, promoting relaxation and lowering cortisol in the body. Not only is it very bioavailable but it is a great option to support a good night's sleep due to its calming effects. Magnesium glycinate is typically recommended to treat a Magnesium deficiency because it's well absorbed and increases levels more efficiently than other forms. Magnesium glycinate may be worth trying if you struggle with getting a restful night sleep.
Regulate Blood Sugar
Associated with low levels of Magnesium, there is an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Vitamin D plays a key role in lowering the risk of diabetes since Magnesium needs Vitamin D to activate. It is also an essential component for glucose metabolism and to help enhance insulin sensitivity which both are involved in controlling blood sugar.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S for both men and women. One of the many functions of Magnesium is to regulate muscle contraction and that includes contraction of the heart. Therefore, adequate intake can help keep your heart healthy and strong. This study even showed that Magnesium supplementation had positive outcomes on blood markers associated with heart disease risk such as LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and systolic blood pressure.
This study also supports the importance of Potassium and Magnesium in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Focusing on incorporating more potassium- and magnesium-rich foods in the diet may be effective interventions for reducing the occurrence of CVD.
Some great heart healthy foods to include in your diet:
- Dark leafy greens (spinach) - 158g of Mg in 1 cup.
- Whole grains (buckwheat) - 86mg of Mg in 1 cup.
- Avocados - 58mg of Mg in 1 medium avocado.
- Nuts (cashews) - 83mg of Mg in 1 oz.
- Dark chocolate - 65mg of Mg in 1 oz.
Prevent Headaches and Migraines
Another benefit fo magnesium is preventing migraines! Migraines are severe headaches that can cause sensitivity to light and sound, visual disturbance, nausea and vomiting. More than 10% of people experience migraines with the majority being women. Several studies suggest that Magnesium supplementation in those with low levels can help treat and even prevent migraines from occurring.
Additionally, this large study done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggests that poor intake of Magnesium-rich foods were associated with migraines in adults between the ages of 20 and 50 years. Magnesium oxide, a particular form of Magnesium, was shown to be as effective as Valporate sodium, a drug used to treat seizures and for the prevention of migraines, at treating migraines.
Improve PMS Symptoms
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) include a variety of symptoms from fatigue, anxiety, irritability, cramps, and depression. This is a common condition for women who are menstruating. Some studies show Magnesium to help relieve PMS symptoms especially menstrual cramps. It does this by helping to relax the muscles in the body, targeting the uterus, by lowering prostaglandins that contribute period pain. Simply by ensuring you have optimal Magnesium levels can be just the thing to alleviate painful, debilitating period pain.
Stronger Bone Health
50 - 60% of our total Magnesium is found in your bones, making it crucial for strong bone health. Hypomagnesiumia (low magnesium) has been associated with greater risk for osteoporosis. Those who have low magnesium diets also shown to have lower bone mineral density and higher risk of fractures.
Nutrients such as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, lipoic acid, and yep you guessed it… Crucial metabolic pathways use Magnesium to produce energy. In order to get energy to your muscles, glucose must reach them. Because of this, optimal levels in the body may help support and enhance exercise performance. With efficient energy supply to the muscles, it may help fuel various workouts.
Studies show that T cells need optimal amounts of Magnesium in order to function properly. The eficiency of Magnesium through a low-magnesium diet was shown to accelerate the spread of cancerous growths in mice. Low levels impaire their ability to fight of certain viruses. In order to have a strong immune system, T cells destroy abnormal cells in a magnesium-rich environment.
Another benefit of magnesium is it's an anti-inflammatory. Hidden inflammation in the body is the driver behind all chronic disease such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia. Inflammation can also accelerate signs of aging. Some studies have associated magnesium supplementation to lower levels of CRP - an important blood marker of inflammation.
If you are looking for foods and other ways to boost Magnesium, we have some tips!
- Sprinkle hemp, chia, flax seeds on anything! Salads, yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, etc.
- Sprinkle raw cacao powder on yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, or make a hot cocoa/tea out of it with hot water or your favorite nut milk!
- Sneak extra dark leafy greens into smoothies, anything you sauté on the stove, into salads with less nutrient-dense lettuces, and onto toast.
- Lightly steam, sauté, or bake dark leafy greens before eating if possible. Oxalates inhibit absorbtion, which is why magnesium binds to thse compounds in raw greens. Cooking lowers the oxalate content and makes the magnesium more bioavailable
- Soak grains/legumes before cooking to help lower the phytic acid content, another compound that binds to magnesium and limits absorption
- To improve absorption of magnesium - consume probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, or a probiotic supplement. This will help to feed good bacteria to your gut and support a healthy microbiome.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and sugar which can increase magnesium loss.
Looking over the benefits of Magnesium are in the past. This essential mineral is paramount for our overall health and wellness and low levels may just be the source behind your sleepless nights or stubborn headaches. If you suspect you are low in Magnesium, try taking one of Vessel’s wellness tests. Vessel tests for Magnesium levels along with seven other insightful metrics. Additionally, high-quality, fully customized Vessel Fuel supplements are available. We include Magnesium Glycinate to help efficiently increase and support adequate Magnesium levels in the body.
Sara Chille See all the author’s articles