Everything You Need to Know About Magnesium
What is Magnesium?
re you struggling with poor sleep, muscle aches, or low mood? If so, your diet may be low in magnesium-rich foods. Interestingly, research suggests more than half of adults in America and Europe don't consume enough of this important mineral.
Magnesium is a mineral found abundantly on earth. In humans, it's required by every cell in your body to ensure over 300 biochemical reactions and physiological processes function optimally. This mineral plays a key role in energy production, cell growth, muscle and nerve function, heart health, and more!
Dietary Sources of Magnesium
As an essential nutrient, magnesium needs to be consumed daily. Some of the best dietary sources include meat, fish, green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. However, as a macromineral, magnesium is required in fairly large amounts, and it's tricky to consume enough through diet alone.
The good news is, magnesium supplements are a convenient way to support optimal health.
How Magnesium Works
One of magnesium's most important functions is its role in cellular energy production. Magnesium is found in the mitochondria – the energy powerhouse of the cell – where it's needed for the metabolism of food into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules (1). As the body's main energy currency, ATP is needed for optimal cellular function, healthy energy levels, and better physical recovery.
Magnesium is also a vital mineral for muscle function and nerve transmission. It acts as a calcium blocker in muscle cells, regulating the process of muscle contraction and relaxation. Additionally, it balances levels of neurotransmitters that allow nerve impulses to move smoothly between the synapses in your nervous system.
Chronically low magnesium levels are a global problem. Mineral-depleted soil and increased access to processed food mean that many adults struggle to meet the recommended daily intake of magnesium – roughly 310-320 mg for women and 420 mg for men (2). Plus, aging, intense exercise, stress, excess alcohol consumption, and certain medications increase magnesium excretion.
If you don't meet your body's magnesium demands, you are at risk for headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, anxiety, insomnia, an irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure.
Health Benefits of Magnesium
Here are some of the evidence-based benefits of supplementing with magnesium
Supports Bone Health
Magnesium is vital for a strong skeletal system – about 60% of the body's magnesium is stored in bone tissue! It's also essential for the activation of vitamin D, a nutrient that regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus for strong bones and teeth (3).
Enhances Exercise Performance
Its role in energy production and muscle function makes this mineral great for enhancing exercise performance! Research has shown magnesium supplementation has a positive impact on physical performance in both elite athletes as well as elderly people who want to stay active (4, 5)..
Regulates Mood and Reduces Depression
Magnesium is a key mineral for healthy brain biochemistry. Low magnesium intake is linked to a higher incidence of depression, particularly in people under 65 years of age (6).
A 2017 study on adults with mild-to-moderate depression found that taking 248 mg of elemental magnesium improved mood within two weeks and even alleviated anxiety symptoms in some participants (7).
Promotes Restful Sleep
Taking magnesium before bed encourages relaxation, making it easier to fall into a restful sleep.
A study on elderly people with insomnia found that taking 500 mg of magnesium daily for 2 months positively influenced melatonin levels, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle (8). Promisingly, the results showed an improvement in the ability to fall asleep, sleep time, and sleep efficiency. This has knock-on effects, improving daytime energy and overall health!
Supports Cardiovascular Health
Magnesium is a powerful heart-supportive nutrient. It is vital for the whole cardiovascular system due to its role in energy production, nerve transmission, and muscle function.
A 2018 review in Nutrients concluded that greater magnesium consumption and higher circulating levels of the mineral are linked to a reduction in major cardiovascular risk factors (9).
Low magnesium levels could be behind debilitating tension headaches and migraines. Upping your magnesium intake is one of the best natural interventions to prevent or reduce these painful episodes! It may help by reducing muscle tension and relaxing blood vessels, therefore improving circulation to the brain.
Make Magnesium Part of Your Daily Diet
Okay you knew it was coming... time for a shameless plug. Do you think the benefits of adding magnesium to your daily diet could help? Create a personalized daily vitamin pack that includes magnesium and any other vitamins, minerals or supplements you think could help. Start by adding magnesium to your Kit here!