Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for human life.  It plays a role in almost every bodily process and the key mineral needed in numerous biochemical reactions in the body including nervous and muscle function, reproduction, blood pressure regulation, protein synthesis, and cellular energy production.  We cannot survive without it, yet many individuals are at risk for deficiency due to inadequate intake in food.

How do you know you are deficient?  Some of the most common signs and symptoms are:

  • Leg cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Migraine headaches
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Muscle pain
  • Type 2 diabetes

There are a number of reasons why we are deficient in magnesium such as soil degradation which lowers magnesium content in food; the modern Western diet is loaded with processed foods that contain very little magnesium, digestive issues that hinder absorption; and medications.

Getting your nutrition needs from food is always recommended before supplements and vitamins.  Some foods that are magnesium-rich are: cooked spinach, broccoli, cashews, almonds, avocado, black beans, yogurt/kefir, bananas, dark chocolate, and brussels sprouts.  If you do not get enough magnesium from the foods above then the best forms of magnesium in supplement form are citrate and glycinate.  They are best absorbed.  You do not want to take too much magnesium because it can cause a laxative effect, which will not allow your body enough time to absorb necessary vitamins and minerals.  Everyone’s magnesium needs are different but aiming for 200-400 mg daily is a goal to aim for.  We can help educate you on how much magnesium will fill your needs.

Another favorite way to reap the benefits of magnesium is allowing yourself 20 minutes to soak in a bathtub with Epsom salt.  I recommend adding Epsom salt to warm bath water and relaxing.  This will boost magnesium levels, reduce inflammation, reduce swelling, ease stress, and ease constipation.

Health Benefits include:

  • Stress and Anxiety Relief – Magnesium has the ability to suppress the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and work to reduce the stress hormones affecting the brain.
  • Attention and Focus – Magnesium is essential for healthy brain and nervous system function. Studies have found that children diagnosed with ADHD, behavior and impulsivity issues are deficient in magnesium.  Magnesium promotes GABA transmission in the brain and balances glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter.
  • Anti-inflammatory – The Journal of Immunology found that magnesium is able to reduce inflammatory cytokine product and regulate the immune system. Adults and children who consume less magnesium are twice as likely to have elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) circulating in the blood. More magnesium means less inflammation and pain.
  • Cardiovascular health. Magnesium helps to support proper blood pressure regulation, reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, maintains healthy vascular tissue and vasodilation, and is required for normal heart function and energy production for the heart. The heart and vessels need magnesium.

By eating foods that contain magnesium and supplementing to fill the gaps you will be able to feel better and be able to get back to the things you love.  We would be happy to help you identify if you may benefit from this mineral and help you find the correct dose.  Remember supplementation should not be a one size fits all. Your heart and body will thank you!

Melanie Dockter, DC CACCP