Magnesium is one of the essential minerals your body needs to thrive and function well. It plays over 300 vital roles, many of which focus on aiding your body’s physiological processes, such as regulating blood circulation and pressure, promoting nerve function, boosting the immune system, and improving muscle function.
According to a study, an average adult body has approximately 25 grams of magnesium. More than half is stored in the skeletal system, while the rest is in the muscles, bodily fluids, and tissues.
Unfortunately, millions of people worldwide don’t get enough magnesium based on what they eat, which may increase their chances of having a magnesium deficiency. Such a condition can be linked to multiple complications.
Complications may include heart disease, depression, weakness, and other detrimental health outcomes. Therefore, everyone is encouraged to meet their recommended magnesium levels regularly.
Here in this article, you’ll discover how magnesium affects your overall health, including its sources and potential health concerns.
Where Can You Find Magnesium?
You can get your daily magnesium in two ways: taking supplements or consuming magnesium-rich food. So, which is better between the two?
According to Medical News Today, supplements, though helpful in meeting your daily magnesium requirements, contain active components that may have severe biological effects. Such effects may cause harm or even death, especially when mixed or combined with other supplements and medications or taken excessively (overdosage).
Therefore, instead of taking supplements, it’d be better to rely on natural sources of magnesium to meet your daily recommended levels. And for that, here are the foods that provide good amounts of magnesium:
- Pumpkin Seeds – 30mg per 1oz serving
- Chia Seeds – 95 mg per 1oz serving
- Almonds – 80mg per 1oz serving
- Spinach – 78mg per ½ cup serving
- Roasted Cashews – 74mg per 1oz serving
- Soy Milk – 61mg per 1 cup serving
- Edamame Beans (cooked) – 50mg per ½ cup serving
- Avocado – 44mg per 1 cup serving
- Low-Fat Yogurt – 42mg per 8oz serving
Here’s a helpful reminder when taking supplements: Only take supplements if you can’t meet your daily requirements through your diet. But it should not replace food as much as possible. And take your doctor’s advice before you start taking magnesium supplements, especially when you’re under medications.
What Are The Effects Of Magnesium In The Body?
Magnesium is one of the most vital macrominerals in the body. They have to be taken in large amounts every day (more than 100mg per day) compared to microminerals.
In addition, it’s vital for a wide variety of bodily processes. Having adequate magnesium levels in the body may help prevent or address chronic medical conditions, such as migraine, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes.
In the following sections below, you’ll find out how magnesium affects a person’s well-being.
1. It Aids Your Body’s Chemical Reactions
Magnesium can be found across every part of your body. As a matter of fact, all cells in the body contain this essential mineral to function well. And as mentioned, more than 50% of your body’s total magnesium levels can be found in the bones. The rest occurs in soft tissues, muscles, and bodily fluids, like blood.
One of magnesium’s primary functions is to act as a cofactor that’ll help enzymes execute hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. Reactions may include:
- Nervous System Function: It regulates neurotransmitters or the messenger to the brain and nervous system.
- Muscular System: It helps muscles contract and relax.
- Energy Conversion: It helps generate energy from the food consumed.
- Genetic Repair: It helps maintain DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid).
- Protein Production: It helps produce proteins from the body’s amino acid components.
Most people don’t get enough magnesium levels to supply their needs. For that reason, you may consult your doctor to help you with how you can meet your minimum daily requirements. You may be prescribed to either consume magnesium-rich foods or take supplements.
2. It Improves Physical Performance
You will need magnesium to perform physical activities well, such as body workouts and exercise. It helps your body deliver blood sugar to your muscles and dispose of the lactate that builds up when exercising, which may cause muscle fatigue.
According to a study, taking magnesium supplements may help improve the physical performance of adults and those who are magnesium deficient.
Another study suggests that athletes with higher magnesium intake have exhibited a boost in power and improved muscle mass. In addition, those who took at least 250mg of magnesium every day have improved their jumping performance and arm strength and movements.
As far as the above studies are concerned, you can say that magnesium can significantly improve physical performance.
However, more studies are needed to conclude the effects of magnesium since some research suggests that taking magnesium doesn’t improve the physical performance of active and athletic people.
3. It Can Help Treat Depression
Magnesium is one of the vital elements that play a critical role in maintaining brain health, function, and mood. And it’s believed that low magnesium levels may increase the risk of depression.
In fact, a meta-analysis found that younger adults and people under 65 years old with reduced magnesium intake have as much as 22% more chance of depression.
On the other hand, one study published in the National Library of Medicine recommends that taking magnesium supplements (500mg per day) can significantly reduce and improve symptoms of depression.
Therefore, it’s essential to take magnesium whether or not you’re going through hardships in life. It can lessen the risk and potential symptoms of depression. But it’ll be better to consult your doctor first before taking supplements at your own discretion.
4. It Promotes Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
A study found that around 48% of people with type 2 diabetes also have insufficient magnesium levels in the blood, preventing their body from regulating blood sugar properly.
Another analysis suggests that those who consume higher amounts of magnesium have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who don’t meet their daily magnesium requirements. So, how could magnesium help prevent this chronic condition?
Magnesium improves your body’s insulin sensitivity which is crucial in controlling your blood sugar levels. In fact, taking magnesium supplements can significantly improve the insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels of those at higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
But there’s a catch. The effects of magnesium on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity may strongly depend on the amount you get from your food. For example, taking magnesium supplements may not affect the blood sugar and insulin sensitivity of those who aren’t deficient.
So, it’d be better to consult with your doctor to determine your risk level and what to do next. It’s not good to prescribe yourself anything not advised by a medical professional.
5. It Boosts Heart Health
Another vital role magnesium plays in your body is keeping your heart healthy and in perfect condition. In fact, studies indicate that taking magnesium supplements may aid in reducing high blood pressure levels, which is a crucial element in heart diseases.
Also, consistent magnesium intake may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases.
On top of that, a study found that magnesium has a good effect on a wide range of risk factors that promote heart diseases. These include reduced LDL levels, increased HDL levels, stabilizing systolic blood pressure, and improving triglyceride levels.
Bear in mind that LDL means low-density lipoprotein, the bad cholesterol, while HDL means high-density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol.
However, more studies are needed to conclude the connection between magnesium and heart health because of mixed results. Some studies suggest that magnesium has no significant effect on the triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the body.
6. It Reduces The Risk Of Inflammation
One research claim that reduced magnesium levels are associated with higher risks of inflammation, which is a factor that promotes chronic diseases and premature aging. In addition, it concluded that high magnesium intake significantly reduces an inflammation marker known as C-reactive protein (CRP).
On top of that, it’s also found that magnesium supplements may reduce not only CRP but also other inflammation markers, including interleukin-6.
Furthermore, other research indicates that increased oxidative stress due to magnesium deficiency may promote inflammation.
7. It Helps Prevent Migraine
Migraine is a severe headache that may cause other symptoms, including vomiting, nausea, and light and noise sensitivity. In addition, many experts believe that those who have migraine are more likely to experience magnesium deficiency than those who do not.
As a matter of fact, one research indicates that taking magnesium supplements may help reduce migraine symptoms and even treat them. Also, a gram of magnesium may provide more relief than standard medications.
Furthermore, consuming plenty of foods rich in magnesium may help lessen the risk of migraine and its symptoms.
8. It Improves Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common medical condition in women that can bear a child. It causes constant irritability, tiredness, abdominal cramps, and water retention.
Some studies indicate that consistently taking magnesium supplements may reduce the symptoms of PMS, particularly migraine headaches and menstrual cramps.
It is because levels of magnesium tend to fluctuate irregularly during menstruation. And the symptoms may get worse for people with magnesium deficiencies. Therefore, it is highly advisable to take magnesium supplements to prevent severe symptoms, such as menstrual migraine.
In addition, one study found that taking 250mg of magnesium every day may help lower the risk of bloating, anxiety, and depression in women with PMS. However, more research is needed to conclude the effectiveness of magnesium in managing symptoms of PMS.
9. It Promotes Bone Health
While most studies are concentrated on the effects of calcium on bone health, magnesium is also crucial in promoting healthy bones and preventing bone loss. As mentioned before, 50-60% of your body’s magnesium is in your bones.
According to a study in 2013, adequate magnesium levels promote good bone density, reduced risk of osteoporosis, and better bone formation.
In addition, insufficient magnesium levels may cause the bone to become brittle and weak, leading to osteoporosis.
On the other hand, another study found that people who receive significant amounts of magnesium suffered fewer bone fractures than those who are magnesium deficient.
10. It Promotes Better Sleep
Taking magnesium supplements is also known for promoting better sleep and combating the symptoms of insomnia and other sleep concerns. It is due to magnesium’s effect regulating neurotransmitters related to sleep, particularly GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
In addition, a study found that adults experiencing insomnia have improved their condition with the help of magnesium supplements. The mineral helps them fall asleep as fast as 17 minutes, shorter than before.
On the other hand, another study found that higher magnesium intake improves sleep quality and prolongs sleep duration.
Furthermore, taking magnesium supplements or increasing magnesium consumption may help reduce sleeping in the daytime. Sleeping in the daytime is one of the causes of sleeping issues at night, particularly insomnia.
- It Helps Reduce Anxiety Attacks
According to some studies, increasing magnesium intake may help reduce the risk of and treat anxiety. Also, the study found that taking at least 248mg of magnesium every day can significantly reduce anxiety symptoms.
On the other hand, some research indicates that lower levels of this mineral can lead to stress: an essential factor that may trigger and amplify anxiety attacks.
Therefore, it’s essential to meet daily magnesium requirements to reduce the likelihood of anxiety and its symptoms.
Is There Any Risk Of Consuming Too Much Magnesium?
Getting too much magnesium (overdose) through food consumption is unlikely because the body will drive off excess amounts through urine.
However, magnesium overdose is highly likely when taking supplements, leading to potential symptoms such as stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
In addition, large doses of magnesium may cause cardiac arrest, kidney failure, urine problems, depression, vomiting, lethargy, and even death.
That’s why it’s highly recommended to consult a doctor before taking supplements, especially for people with kidney problems.
Magnesium is one of the most vital minerals your body needs to execute hundreds of critical physiological processes. These processes include regulating blood circulation, improving nerve function, etc.
As discussed above, magnesium plays a significant role in bone, heart, and brain health. That’s why it’s crucial to meet your daily recommended intake for healthier and improved well-being.
Furthermore, don’t forget to consult your doctor to determine the necessity of taking supplements, especially if you’re under medications. It can help you prevent experiencing side effects due to the interaction between magnesium supplements and other medicines.