From someone suffering from heart disease to an athlete competing in sports to those suffering from depression to diabetics, regardless of age, the importance of magnesium for good health is undeniable. And you need more than you’re probably getting.
Roughly two-thirds of grown-ups don’t even absorb an adequate measure of magnesium – the least suggested sum being 400-420 mg for males and 310-320 mg for females. This puts it second on the list of micronutrient deficiencies after vitamin D.
Magnesium is one of the six major minerals the body needs and makes up 99% of the body’s mineral content. Magnesium plays a role in forming bones, permits nerves to work correctly, and is necessary for producing energy from food.
Studies have demonstrated that magnesium can reduce the severity of headaches, alleviate chronic pain, improve breathing in asthma patients, and aid those struggling with sleep issues. A recent significant investigation found an association between lower occurrences of illnesses like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes with the intake of magnesium.
Many studies have come out backing up the advantages of magnesium for one’s wellbeing.
Magnesium and Preventive Health
Without magnesium, the production and use of energy within the cells would not be possible, and muscles would not be able to constrict and loosen, and essential hormones wouldn’t be generated to regulate essential bodily processes.
It is no shock. Therefore, that magnesium has been demonstrated to be part of the guard against regular ailments and issues.
According to the National Institutes of Health:
Magnesium aids in keeping normal muscle and nerve operations, keeping the heart’s beat steady, supporting a strong immune system, and preserving robust bones. Magnesium aids in the stabilization of glucose levels, keeps blood pressure normal, and is involved in the metabolism of energy and the production of protein.
A report by the American College of Nutrition examining the connection between food and bone health declared that of four specific research projects, each one exhibited an association between magnesium levels and bone mineral density.
These studies are backed up by research demonstrating that magnesium deficiency results in:
- Decreased bone strength.
- Decreased bone volume.
- Poor bone development.
Too much calcium being let out of the bones into the bloodstream without any new bone growth.
Experts from the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging situated in Tufts University inspected the bone mineral density of those in the initial Framingham Heart Study group, which was a long-term exploration started in 1948.
The statistical findings of bone mineral density and diet in the study imply that continuing a diet rich in magnesium may stop diminishing bone mineral density.
Research has indicated a potential link between a lack of magnesium and depression. A joint research by Dr. Richard Cox and Dr. Norman Shealy, neuroscientists, in 1996 discovered a link between low magnesium levels and depression. Their study of 475 individuals suffering from chronic depression found that all of them tested low in magnesium tolerance tests.
A study from 2009, released in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, which was much larger and more up to date than its predecessors, affirmed these discoveries. Researchers studied the dietary information of 5700 adults in the Hordaland Health Study in Norway and discovered a clear connection between magnesium intake and depression. People who ate diets that were not high in magnesium were more probably to get a positive score on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale when tested for depression. When variations in age, gender, blood pressure, and socioeconomic status were taken into account, the findings stayed consistent.
A team of scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health found an important connection between how much magnesium people consumed and the likelihood of them developing Type II diabetes in January 2004. The studies, spanning for multiple years and that included 170,000 medical professionals, concluded the health report. These studies, the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study, assessed the relationship between what one eats and the potential risks of sickness.
Consuming a lot of magnesium has been demonstrated to decrease the potential for becoming hypertensive. Harvard School of Public Health undertook an analysis of thirty thousand male healthcare workers who did not have hypertension. There was a reduced probability of high blood pressure associated with diets that had a higher content of magnesium and dietary fiber.
The intake of dietary fiber, magnesium, and potassium was shown to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure for those in the study who did not develop hypertension over the four years. Conversely, a lower intake of magnesium and similar nutrients was associated with higher systolic and diastolic figures.
Results of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study indicated that a greater concentration of magnesium in the blood was linked to a decreased likelihood of cardiac issues. Researchers followed 14,000 individuals without any history of coronary heart disease for 4 to 7 years, checking their blood magnesium levels during that period of time and comparing those who got heart disease against those who did not.
For thirty years the Honolulu Heart Study tracked 7,000 men and contrasted those who had a magnesium intake lower than 186 mg a day with those with an intake higher than 340 mg a day. The study discovered that those with the least amount of dietary magnesium had twice the rate of heart disease; thus, they surmised that consuming additional magnesium was associated with a decreased danger of coronary heart disease.
Magnesium aids in energy generation, helping to get energy from food. It facilitates the correct use of amino acids, fats, or carbohydrates. It further assists in making adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which acts as the energy that all cells in your body rely on.
Nerve impulse conduction requires magnesium. You cannot move a single muscle, maintain a steady heart beat, or think clearly without a nerve impulse.
Magnesium is essential for the proper use of other trace nutrients, including B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Magnesium and Exercise
Research conducted on animals has revealed that a lack of magnesium can lead to the creation of excess free radicals when exercising. Competitive sports and fitness training can deplete magnesium levels, so athletes and those who choose to exercise regularly should consider supplementing magnesium to reduce the risk of insufficiency.
Athletes need to have sufficient magnesium in order for their muscles to contract optimally. The ingestion of water has a fundamental function in the immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems.
In conclusion, there does not appear to be any advantages to over-consuming. Once you get to the maximal level, having an excessive amount will not provide any advantage.
Learning and Memory
I am not astonished that there is a relationship between deficient magnesium levels and the advancement of neurological deteriorative illnesses, since it is so strongly associated with depression. Magnesium controls synaptic plasticity, which affects learning and memory.
Aging adults worry about the possibility of contracting Alzheimer’s, Lewy body dementia, or other varieties of dementia. At this time, there is no way to thwart or reverse the degeneration of mental capacity, though some data implies adequate magnesium intake could impede the progression.
Health Effects of Magnesium on Existing Conditions
Investigations have been conducted to determine if magnesium can be a viable alternative in managing both severe and preventive headache issues. It is known to be inexpensive, safe, and well-tolerated among people. It has been discovered that taking magnesium orally as a preventative measure and administering magnesium intravenously for sudden pain in the head may be useful, especially for certain types of people.
The connection between having a magnesium deficiency and depression has motivated scientists to look into the possibility that taking magnesium supplements could be a helpful approach for dealing with recurrent and severe depression.
Researchers looking into the potential for magnesium to treat depression bring up the side-effects that accompany the current prescriptions for the condition, including an alarming rate of suicide and attempts, in particular among children and adolescents. Taking magnesium as an added supplement will not produce any negative neurological impacts, making it an attractive solution, especially when tests show that there could be a magnesium deficiency.
Researchers are looking into how taking magnesium supplements could help people with late-onset diabetes, and many studies have suggested that this kind of supplementation can help manage the glucose levels of individuals with diabetes mellitus.
A research paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition uncovered that daily supplements of magnesium will activate the transfer of glucose, modify the action of endocrine regulators, and advance universal oxidative glucose metabolism.
What Causes Low Magnesium Levels?
Not taking in enough magnesium, or getting rid of too much, can lead to having a low amount of magnesium.
Increased Excretion or Use of Magnesium
Sugar consumption increases the use of magnesium. So does excessive physical or mental stress.
Proton pump inhibitors and antacids reduce how much magnesium is taken in, while loop and thiazide diuretics cause more of the mineral to be excreted.
Tap water often contains fluoride, and taking too much zinc, over 142 mg/day, may hinder the body’s ability to absorb magnesium.
Elevated fiber consumption is usually thought to be beneficial, however, certain fibers like hemicellulose that partially ferment, as well as fibers like cellulose and lignin that don’t ferment, can impede magnesium absorption.
Exercise can also boost the amount of substances that the body will need to expel, which could increase daily requirements by 10-20%.
It is challenging to get an adequate amount of magnesium through dietary sources.
Grains that have been processed lose most of their mineral content, and products that are “fortified” only contain insignificant amounts of magnesium that is hard to take in.
Even the best multivitamins rarely contain enough magnesium. You would have to consume 2-4 extra pills daily to obtain an optimal dose of the mineral due to the chelates occupying a lot of room.
Lastly, the RDA is hardly an ideal amount. It is an approximative figure of the amount needed to prevent conspicuous symptoms of insufficiency, but it is based on doubtful studies.
How to Increase Levels
You do find magnesium in certain foods:
- Unprocessed whole grains
- Dark leafy greens
- Certain types of nuts
Furthermore, consuming proteins, medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s), and carbohydrates that are difficult for the body to break down such as resistant starch, oligosaccharides, and inulin, can assist with the absorption of magnesium.
Although eating a healthy diet, it is unlikely you will get all the nutrients needed only from food.
Supplementing With Magnesium
Selecting the proper form of magnesium supplement can be perplexing due to the range of options accessible. I’ll quickly discuss the choices you have, then give you the three we think are best.
Organic vs Inorganic
In the context of minerals, the term “organic” does not refer to food or anything related to food as some may be accustomed to.
Magnesium isn’t found on its own in supplements. The molecule or compound is linked to something else (such as magnesium glycinate or magnesium malate).
When a compound binds to a molecule composed of carbon, it is considered to be organic, whilst compounds that don’t have carbon atoms are seen as inorganic.
Regardless of its label, organic magnesium does not differ in safety from other types, so don’t be taken in by a product that promotes the use of “Organic Chelate.” All forms of magnesium, if consumed in sufficient amount, will increase the levels of blood, tissue, and brain, although some forms may be better suited to certain types of tissue than others.
Nevertheless, some of the organic chelates have the highest absorption. If you consume an excessive amount of certain types of magnesium, it can result in diarrhea. It’s wonderful if you’re suffering from constipation, but it’s not so wonderful if you need to urgently use the restroom and can’t find anywhere to go.
In my opinion, it is better to take fewer superior absorption and quality forms of magnesium than to consume an abundance of inferior quality magnesium pills that might result in adverse reactions.
That’s where magnesium glycinate and magnesium malate come in.
Magnesium glycinate is one of best-absorbed form of magnesium. It boosts the amount of blood, bone, and tissue present in the body without causing diarrhea or irritating the digestive tract. You get the advantages of both magnesium and glycine because the two elements are linked together.
Glycine is an amino acid that helps with the digestion process, and can maintain the health of joints, while also having an effect on the mind that may lead to increased calmness, and even more restful sleep.
Like magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate is absorbed very well. In this form, magnesium is bound to malic acid. Certain fruits contain malic acid naturally.
This supplement affects the creation of energy at the cellular level, causing some individuals who are feeling low on energy to have a bit more enthusiasm when they use it.
Assistance from malic acid is also beneficial for physically removing heavy metals, such as aluminum, which makes it a fundamental element of cleansing.
Magnesium Threonate (Notable Mention)
The brain has reduced amounts of magnesium, which results in a decrease of its capacity to adjust and modify leading to a degeneration of thinking processes. Nevertheless, the majority of types of magnesium do not tend to significantly increase brain concentrations.
Researchers at MIT have developed Magnesium-L-threonate, which gets absorbed by the brain and results in higher quantities of the element. Studies involving animals suggest that cognitive abilities such as learning, working memory, and both short and long-term memory can all be enhanced.
In a test using mice that simulated Alzheimer’s, giving them magnesium threonate was proven to stop or even reverse the loss of synaptic connections in the brain and memory loss.
In elders with already existing intellectual issues, utilizing magnesium threonate raised the brain’s magnesium levels. The participants also saw progress in their decision making skills, recall, and ability to solve issues.
Magnesium is Good for Your Health!
Magnesium is necessary for a healthy diet and plays a significant role in upholding good health, as a lack of it can be a reason for physical illness.
Medical researchers are still uncovering the exact details about the biochemical pathways that can be adversely affected when there is a lack of magnesium. It has been widely acknowledged by scientists for decades that magnesium is a critical element for maintaining good health. For centuries, magnesium obtained from natural sources has been highly valued for its healthful benefits.
There is continuous evidence demonstrating that magnesium can help with numerous health issues. At the same time, we have a population that is lacking in this critical nutrient. It is not necessary to provide more evidence to appreciate and capitalize on the advantages of magnesium for optimal health and happiness.