Magnesium is a crucial macro-mineral that plays an important part in nearly every human enzymatic reaction in your body. Yet, nearly 68% of Americans are not getting the recommended daily allowance of Magnesium, through their dietary intake. Insufficient amounts of Magnesium are directly related to poor health outcomes, including hypertension, anxiety, and chronic illness such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Since the majority of the population is getting inadequate levels of Magnesium, supplementation is critical, to help prevent disease and fight the aging process.
What Does Magnesium Do?
What does Magnesium actually do? It’s a fair question. While, the biological functions of Magnesium are relatively broad, which include the production of nucleic acids, involvement in adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and helping muscle contraction magnesium’s most imperative function is to help regulate proper bone structure through mediating and coordinating calcium concentration
What Is Magnesium Glycinate?
The National Institutes of Health’s definition of magnesium is “an abundant mineral in the body that is is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products and available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids and laxatives).”
Magnesium is both an essential mineral and electrolyte. It’s involved in the regulation of cellular stress and activity, which means people experiencing lots of stress may benefit from getting more.
Magnesium glycinate is one type of magnesium supplement that is available to increase levels in people who can use more magnesium, including those with anxiety, diabetes, heart issues and pain. It consists of the mineral magnesium bound to the amino acid glycine. It’s considered to be one of the most effective types of magnesium supplements due to its bioavailability — plus it’s also fast-acting, generally well-tolerated and unlikely to cause loose stools (diarrhea).
The absorption rate and bioavailability of magnesium supplements differ depending on the kind. Usually types that are chelated and those that dissolve in liquid are better absorbed in the gut than less soluble forms. Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form. This means it tends to be better utilized by the body than other forms that are excreted more easily.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that’s very important for many aspects of health, since it’s involved in hundreds of bodily functions, including:
- Blood pressure regulation
- Protein synthesis
- Energy production
- Blood sugar control
- Digestive processes like moving stools through the intestine
- Regulation of heartbeat rhythms
- Neurotransmitter functions, including those involved in sleep and mood stabilization
- Balance of nitric oxide in the body
- Growth and development in babies and children
- Functions of nerves, muscles and tissue
- Production of stomach acid
1. Can Improve Sleep Quality
Magnesium seems to play a key role in the regulation of sleep. How can magnesium glycinate help you sleep? Studies have found that magnesium supplements can help promote muscle relaxation, decrease leg cramps and muscle spasms, reduce tension and anxiety, and fight pain — all of which can keep you up at night.
Because it may help improve the quality and amount of sleep you get, magnesium glycinate may also help decrease daytime fatigue and enhance focus, learning and even information retention/memory.
Studies show that magnesium can help improve sleep quality. Poor quality and quantity of sleep, not only affects the way you feel, productivity, and mental processing, but it can also adversely affect your metabolic function and cardiovascular system. Ever wonder why you can’t lose weight despite eating healthy and fitnessing daily? Your sleep plays a huge role.
Sleep and wake cycle is regulated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain, which also coordinates the circadian rhythms in other tissues through the body. Studies suggest that Magnesium supplementation can help improve insomnia symptoms, sleep duration and improve sleep quality. If you don’t get adequate levels of sleep, it can be detrimental to your entire quality of life. Personally, if I don’t get good a good nights rest with high-quality sleep, my entire next day, is literally ruined.
2. May Help Reduce Anxiety and Depression
All of us have some sort of anxiety and stress. It’s a well-known fact of life. We’re all stressed, whether it’s a deadline at work, making your kids baseball games, or keeping your significant other happy, our lives are filled with constant stressors. Magnesium modulates activity of the of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPAA) which is a central part of the stress response system [R]. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to attenuate the activity of the HPAA, including a reduction in cortisol from the central and peripheral responses of this system [R,R]. Therefore, including a magnesium supplement may benefit anxiety through moderating the stress response [R].
3. Benefits Athletic Performance
Magnesium is the most investigated mineral involved with muscle function. Studies have shown that Magnesium has benefits on skeletal muscle and physical performance, directly from improved muscle contraction [R]. Research also indicates that Magnesium can benefit oxygen uptake and total work output, from improved endurance [R]. By improving endurance, you can increase work output and workout volume. More volume translates into greater gains in strength, faster time trials, quicker sprints, and improved athletic performance.
Similarly, a study conducted on division I collegiate athletes showed that magnesium supplementation significantly improved endurance performance and oxygen utilization [R]. If you want to replicate the athletic benefits associated with Magnesium supplementation, then it’s recommended to take 400mg per day, which is the recommended daily allowance.
4. Benefits Bone Health
As we age, your bones progressively lose density and become frail. Studies have shown that greater intakes of magnesium can increase bone density through conserving skeletal muscle mass, which helps prevent bone frailty and age-related diseases such as sacropenia and osteoporosis. Taking a high-quality magnesium supplement, that has 100% of your recommended daily intake, is crucial for preventing bone frailty and potential fractures, especially in high impact endurance sports, such as CrossFit.
5. Improves Heart Health
Maintaining optimal heart health is critical in preventing the aging process. Magnesium plays a pivotal role in several mechanisms involving human pathologies and metabolic processes, including ATP-dependent biochemical reactions, synthesis of DNA, RNA expression, cell signaling at muscle and nerve levels, and glucose and blood pressure (BP) control, among others things.
Current evidence suggests, that Magnesium supplementation can help prevent cardiovascular risk factors, including hypertension, heart failure, and stroke. If you want to take preventive action and ensure a long healthy heart taking a daily Magnesium supplement, can help reduce the chance of an adverse cardiovascular event.
6. Can Help Decrease PMS Symptoms
If you struggle with PMS symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, cramps and headaches, then consider trying magnesium glycinate. It has been shown in some studies to help decrease release of prostaglandins, which can trigger inflammation, cramps and pain.
One double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial found that a combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium taken over the course of two menstrual cycles had the greatest effect on reducing the severity of PMS symptoms. The women who experienced the most improvements took 250 milligrams of magnesium plus 40 milligrams of vitamin B6 daily from the first day of their menstrual cycles to the start of the next cycle.
Researchers believe that magnesium deficiency may be one underlying cause as well as the aggravation factor of PMS symptoms. Magnesium seems to offer relief for women with PMS due to its relaxing effects and ability to control neuromuscular stimulations and inflammation.
7. Reduces Migraines
Migraines are the most debilitating form of headache and affect 12% of the Western population. If you’ve had one, then you know, they’re not fun. Magnesium is believed to be involved in a number of pathologies directly related to migraines, specifically in the mechanism to block NMDA receptors, which are responsible for the nociceptive pain conducted along the trigeminal nerve, resulting in severe migraines [R]. Furthermore, in a systematic review, two level one randomized controlled trials showed a significant reduction of the number of migraine attacks compared with placebo.
8. Beneficial for Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Magnesium works with calcium to support proper blood pressure levels and prevent hypertension. Magnesium deficiency can increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, dyslipidaemia and diabetes.
Magnesium also has an anti-inflammatory role and can help to keep arteries clear. Additionally, use of magnesium glycinate may help normalize irregular heartbeats (or “heart flutters”) that cause chest pains and feelings of anxiety.
9. Helps Reverse Magnesium Deficiency
Considering that magnesium glycinate is one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium, it’s a smart way to reverse a deficiency in this mineral. Treating magnesium deficiency is critical because this mineral is connected to other essential nutrients within the body, including calcium, vitamin K and vitamin D.
Experts believe that one of the reasons magnesium supplements are so beneficial is because they help counterbalance high levels of calcium that can accumulate in the body when people take calcium supplements regularly. Similarly, taking vitamin D in high levels, or being deficient in vitamin K2, can lower magnesium stores in the body and contribute to a deficiency.
Being deficient in a combination of magnesium, calcium, vitamin K and vitamin D increases your risk for health problems like bone loss, heart problems, lowered immune function and more. Emerging research also shows that being low in magnesium may contribute to neurological problems, such as migraines, chronic pain, epilepsy, and possibly Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke.
Other benefits of magnesium glycinate may include:
- Reduced leg cramps during pregnancy
- Less muscle spasms and cramps among athletes
- Improved athletic performance and recovery from workouts
- Improved quality of life, flexibility and functionality among people with chronic pain
- Help controlling blood sugar among those with diabetes/insulin resistance
- Improved bone health among those susceptible to bone fractures
Magnesium glycinate comes in several forms, including liquid and capsule form. Capsules are the most common type of magnesium glycinate supplement. Magnesium glycinate is typically available in capsules containing 120 milligrams or 125 milligrams, which means most people need to take several doses per day to meet their needs (usually between 250 and 420 milligrams for adults).
Magnesium Glycinate vs. Citrate
Magnesium citrate is a popular, widely available and inexpensive form of magnesium that’s combined with citric acid. This form is more likely to have a laxative effect when taken in high doses but is otherwise safe to use for improving digestion and preventing constipation. It’s highly recommended for people looking for help with digestive issues like constipation and acid indigestion, but taking too much can cause loose stools.
While magnesium supplements can be helpful, of course it’s ideal to also consume plenty of magnesium from natural, whole food sources, especially nutrient-dense foods, such as dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, avocado, nuts, bananas and sweet potatoes. Ideally you want to eat magnesium-rich foods that have been grown in organic soil, which may result in higher levels of this mineral.
Can you take magnesium citrate and glycinate together?
Yes, just be sure not to take a high dose of both types, which may cause some side effects. Different forms of magnesium supplements are better suited to treat different symptoms, based on how they are absorbed and distributed throughout the body. For example, if you suffer from both headaches and constipation, taking magnesium citrate and glycinate together may be beneficial.
Magnesium is a power-packed macro mineral. Considering Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzymatic and reactions in the human body, getting an adequate amount of Magnesium in your diet could in fact positively alter the way you feel and perform. Most Americans are Magnesium deficient and don’t get enough Magnesium through dietary sources, resulting in poor bodily function, higher risk for cardiovascular events and bone fracture, and sub-optimal health.
Foods like seeds, nuts, legumes, and bananas are high in Magnesium and can help you achieve higher Magnesium levels. However, supplementation is an easy and convenient way to ensure you bridge the gaps in your micronutrients and maintain adequate Magnesium levels to achieve optimal health and wellness.
Naturally increasing Magnesium levels can help improve bone health to avoid injury, help you get better quality sleep, reduce migraines and headaches, reduce your stress levels, improve heart health, and even enhance your athletic performance.