Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps maintain healthy muscle and bones. Sometimes it can be difficult determining how magnesium can help. Following are some of the many benefits magnesium provide for your health.
This post may contain affiliate links. Here’s the Disclosure page for more information.
What health benefits does magnesium have?
Magnesium is a nutrient necessary for healthy muscles, such as the heart. It is also an essential part of transmitting electrical signals throughout the body.
If you want to decrease the likelihood of developing serious heart-related conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, and atherosclerosis, ask your medical provider if considering taking a general magnesium supplement is worthwhile.
Research has shown that higher levels of magnesium are related to a lower risk of ischemic heart disease and cardiovascular disease. Both of these heart diseases are in part a result of a decreased supply of blood to the heart.
Migraine prevention vitamins
If you have ever experienced a migraine, you know how completely debilitating one can be. Many experience:
- severe pain
- light and sound sensitivity.
The impact goes beyond the sufferer as migraines can result in missed work days and lost wages. Research into the use of magnesium supplements is reporting encouraging results.
For instance, researchers are have found decreased levels of magnesium are related to migraines. In fact, research suggests magnesium can help treat migraines and prevent them. By extension, foods rich in magnesium may help decrease symptoms experienced by migraine sufferers.
Please note: consulting a health professional is required. Research shows that high doses of magnesium are needed, so a physician must monitor the process.
Women can benefit from magnesium with calcium citrate. During the second half of the menstrual cycle, levels of magnesium drop, worsening the discomfort associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
From breast tenderness to bloating to weight gain to insomnia to leg swelling, PMS is an extremely uncomfortable and often emotionally and physically exhausting, monthly occurrence.
Fortunately, taking a magnesium supplement can help. Additionally, supplementing the magnesium with vitamin B6 has been shown to provide added relief.
Finally, magnesium research has been effective in reducing the retention of water and improving mood.
Magnesium and depression
Research has shown if you are younger than 65 years old and you have a low level of magnesium, you may have as much as a 22-percent higher risk of developing depression. This is because magnesium is critical for mood and brain function.
However, magnesium can help. In fact, one study showed a daily dose of 450 mg improved the moods of adult research participants suffering from depression. A general magnesium supplement helped as much as those in the control group who received prescription anti-depressant drugs.
Supplements to fight inflammation
Low levels of magnesium have been shown to contribute to chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is linked to obesity, chronic disease, and aging-related disorders.
Magnesium supplements have been shown to reduce markers of inflammation in individuals with pre-diabetes, primarily overweight older adults.
What are the Functions of Magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral that performs a host of necessary functions. It helps your body utilize other minerals and vitamins and is vital for the right functioning of muscles and nerves, including the heart.
Studies show that people who live in areas with hard water have less cardiovascular disease, and hard water is the result of high levels of magnesium and calcium.
It helps the body turn glucose into energy and helps regulate body temperature. Magnesium is used as a laxative, a sleep aid, and an antacid.
About 50 percent of the magnesium people get in your diet is absorbed by the small intestine, and the rate goes up if you’re deficient in the mineral.
Another good thing about magnesium is that it is found in a variety of foods. Here are some:
Green Leafy Vegetables
Nearly all green vegetables have a good amount of magnesium because magnesium is an essential component of chlorophyll. This is the green pigment that lets a plant convert sunlight into energy.
Beet greens are especially rich in magnesium, and a cup has 106 milligrams of the mineral. Other vegetables that are good sources of magnesium are steamed collards and steamed mustard greens.
Sunflower seeds have a good amount of magnesium, and sesame seeds have even more. Other seeds that provide good amounts of magnesium are pumpkin seeds and chia seeds.
Wheat germ is the embryonic form of the wheat plant, and it is full of nutrients besides magnesium. Two tablespoons of wheat germ deliver a little over 11 percent of the daily value of magnesium.
Some fruits also bring a lot of magnesium, including dried apricots, avocados, dried, pitted dates, raisins, prunes and a good-sized wedge of watermelon.
Types of seafood that are good sources of magnesium include:
- cooked crabmeat
- baked flounder
- canned salmon
- cooked shrimp
- canned shrimp
- canned tuna.
But few things beat seaweed when comes to magnesium. A cup of kelp has 1670 mg of magnesium.
Almonds and Brazil nuts have whopping amounts of magnesium. A cup of almonds has 378 mg of magnesium, while a cup of unsalted Brazil nuts has 558. Other nuts that have high levels of magnesium are pistachios and roasted peanuts.
Whole milk is a good source of magnesium, though dry skim milk has over twice as much per cup. Canned, evaporated milk is also high in magnesium.
Among meats, fried beef and calf liver have a lot of magnesium, as does oven roasted rump roast and pot roast. Beef steaks are good sources of the mineral, as are roasted leg of lamb, lamb shoulder, bacon, pork chops, and cured roasted ham.
The light meat of a roasted turkey has a good percentage of magnesium.
Tofu is soybean curd pressed into forms. Depending on how much liquid is taken away, it can be silken, soft, firm or extra firm. Some types of tofu are dehydrated. An extra firm, 122-gram block of tofu has 65 mg of magnesium.
Choosing the Right Type of Magnesium for You
The human body requires specific vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to not only function but to survive: one particular mineral is magnesium.
Magnesium is needed to help muscles, such as the heart, relax and contract. It is also needed to decrease instances of headaches, build strong bones, improve an individual’s blood pressure and improve brain health and mood.
Magnesium supplements may be needed if there is a magnesium deficiency.
Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include:
- numbness in the extremities
- muscle cramps.
Those most at risk for developing a magnesium deficiency are women over 40 years of age, persons of African descent and those with alcoholism.
There are over eight different types of magnesium and out of the various types of magnesium, there are three that prove most beneficial for the human body to function at its best: magnesium oxide, magnesium malate, and magnesium threonate.
Magnesium oxide is available over the counter and is effective for those with constipation, high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, and asthma. Magnesium oxide supplements can be found in most over the counter multivitamins and as a stand-alone supplement.
Magnesium threonate enables the availability of magnesium on a biological level, which means that it enables the brain to make sufficient use of the mineral and reaches the cells of the brain.
Magnesium threonate is used to improve brain health.
It is used to help persons with learning disabilities and those who have suffered from short term and long term memory loss. It is also taken to help individuals improve their energy levels when awake and their ability to adapt to comfortable sleeping patterns.
Magnesium malate is combined with malic acid and malic acid is found in many fruits that include apricots, blackberries, grapes, lychees, nectarines, oranges. This form of magnesium is used to improve energy levels, decrease muscular pain from diseases that affect the nervous system (ex: fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis). Magnesium malate is also available without a prescription from a doctor.
Lastly, there is magnesium citrate, which is actually a type of laxative that is usually in a liquid or powder form, combined with citric acid. This might be recommended by your doctor if you struggle with constipation, or if you need to empty your bowels before a procedure. For example, if you need help with digestive issues or constipation, you can take brands like Natural Calm, which is magnesium citrate with citric acid.
How can you get more magnesium in your diet?
Magnesium is responsible for helping with over 300 processes within the body. Magnesium helps the body in the following ways:
- helps muscles and nerves work efficiently
- helps to regulate blood sugar levels
- assists in keeping bones strong
- helps your body maintain a steady heart rate
- known for having a calming and relaxing effect on body systems.
You can get magnesium through eating foods rich in the nutrient or dietary supplements.
Foods rich in magnesium include:
- green leafy vegetables
- pumpkin seeds
- grass-fed dairy
- dark chocolate
Below are some common signs that your body needs more magnesium.
Problems with Cognition
A deficiency in magnesium can result in a number of cognitive difficulties, such as brain fog, memory problems and difficulty concentrating.
This is because magnesium plays a vital role in helping your mitochondria function. Mitochondria are structures within the body as cells that are responsible for producing energy.
Without enough magnesium, the mitochondria in brain cells have difficulty producing enough energy to power thinking processes.
Headaches and Migraines
If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, low magnesium may be playing a role in keeping your head pounding. Some studies have shown that people who get migraines tend to have lower levels of magnesium in their bodies.
Low magnesium is thought to contribute to headaches and migraines because of its role in supporting healthy never function and neurotransmitter production.
Low magnesium can often lead to bouts of constipation. Magnesium works to keep you regular in a couple of ways.
By helping to draw water into the intestines, magnesium plays a role in keeping stools soft for more efficient elimination. It also helps by keeping the muscle contractions of the intestinal track regulated and working optimally.
Muscle Cramps and Spasms
Because of the important role it plays in supporting your muscles, not having enough magnesium can lead to painful muscle cramps and spasms.
Your muscles work by contracting and relaxing. Without enough magnesium, these contractions and relaxations can become difficult and uncoordinated.
Muscle spasms and cramps are often early signs of magnesium deficiency. If these spasms are due to low magnesium they are often felt in the feet and legs.
Anxiety and Stress
Because of its important role in the production of neurotransmitters, low magnesium can leave you feeling anxious, stressed and irritable.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals found in the brain that help your nerves communicate with each other. They help your body regulate a variety of behaviors, such as sleep, thought patterns, moods and more.
Low magnesium can result in a variety of mood disorders, including anxiety, depression, irritability, and confusion.
If you suffer from sleepless nights, you may be low in magnesium. The neurotransmitter GABA plays a role in helping the body to relax.
Magnesium plays an important role in helping GABA production in the brain. Being low in magnesium can lead to low GABA production.
How are you feeling? Do you think you might benefit from this supplement?