Magnesium is a mineral that the body needs in order to be able to thrive and grow. It is actually involved in over 300 different biochemical reactions that occur naturally in the body, and it helps us with a number of essential functions, including those of our nerves, muscles, immune systems, bones and heart. Magnesium makes sure our heart rhythm remains steady, our bones develop normally and we’re able to produce the energy we need to get through the day suggests the Office of Dietary Supplements.

The Traditional Benefits of Magnesium

In addition, magnesium helps us control and break down glucose and synthesize DNA and RNA. It also helps to transport potassium and calcium across the membranes of our cells. Magnesium does so much for our bodies, but we hardly ever talk about it.

What is Magnesium Used For?

Magnesium may have numerous benefits to the mind and body, including the following: Helps Remedy Heart Problems, Lowers High Blood Pressure, Treats Osteoporosis, Helps the Body Process Glucose, Helps Treat Migraines, Insomnia, Anxiety and Depression.

Benefits of Magnesium

It’s important to always talk to a medical professional before taking a supplement, but many individuals are advised by their doctors to take a daily dose of magnesium in order to benefit their overall health. In fact, magnesium can reduce the risk of developing a number of serious and incredibly common conditions1. If you are at risk of any of the conditions below — or if you already have them and are looking for a possible supplemental treatment option — magnesium could be exactly what you need.Heart Problems and High Blood PressureHigh blood pressure is one of the possible factors associated with other, more severe health problems. It is also one of the earliest warning signs of these issues. Fortunately, magnesium can help lower blood pressure in some individuals but usually only by a little bit (ODS). However, Harvard Medical School suggests that magnesium’s effect on the heart is has more to do with maintaining its electrical properties, which can still help prevent cardiac problems — like sudden heart attacks — and death associated with them.OsteoporosisBetween men and women, women are more likely to develop osteoporosis, a condition that affects bone density and strength, usually later in life. Taking magnesium supplements could be a possible way to stave off issues with osteoporosis2.DiabetesMagnesium helps the body to better process glucose, which is part of the reason why those who have higher levels of magnesium in their bodies are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.Other Benefits of MagnesiumNot only can magnesium possibly prevent and treat these serious and common health conditions, but increasing magnesium intakes may also help treat migraines3, insomnia4, depression5 and anxiety6. It can also help those who have chronic inflammation issues (as a sign of magnesium deficiency is chronic inflammation), and it can be a possible treatment for PMS7. Finally, those who are looking for a sports performance supplement may also benefit from increasing magnesium intakes, as the mineral has been found to be effective for helping even the healthiest individuals improve their energy metabolism and performance8.

How to Use Magnesium

Magnesium is often present in a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement, and many people use this as an option for covering all their bases. Still, those who want to take magnesium on its own may do so by taking a pill that contains magnesium, magnesium aspartate, magnesium chloride, magnesium citrate or magnesium lactate (ODS 3).Magnesium, like any supplement, should not be taken without a healthcare professional’s formal approval. If used incorrectly, it could potentially affect the use of other medications or cause health problems, which is why it’s always important to check with your doctor before you start using magnesium and to get their express medical advice on the subject. Different people have different daily recommended amounts of magnesium. For men, 400 mg is the main amount, although they can be advised to allow up to 420 mg (ODS). Women are recommended to have between 310 and 360 mg per day, and children’s daily recommended amount increases as they grow older, from about 30 mg per day at infancy to 360 mg for girls and 410 for boys during their teen years. Pregnant and breastfeeding individuals may often see an increased daily recommended amount as well.Men: 400 mg dailyWomen: 310-360 mg dailyTeen boys: 410 mgTeen girls: 360 mg

Symptoms of a Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiency on its own is not a common occurrence, but many people deal with low magnesium levels (also known as hypomagnesemia). Sometimes, this is because they are not getting their necessary dietary magnesium intakes while other times it could be the product of a behavior or condition (but more on that later).The National Library of Medicine and the ODS list the common symptoms of hypomagnesemia as Nystagmus (or strange, rapid eye movements), Numbness in the body, Nausea, Vomiting, Loss of appetite, Weak muscles, Facial tics or spasms, Cramps, Fatigue, Seizures, Arrhythmic heartbeat, Changes in personality, Some of these are associated with more severe magnesium deficiency than others. For example, seizures, numbness, heart rhythm changes and personality changes are all associated with a severe case of hypomagnesemia. Many individuals, especially in the United States, aren’t getting the amount of magnesium they should be getting in their diets. Usually, the signs of magnesium deficiency are not as pronounced when this occurs, however, because the body is able to store the mineral for long periods of time without replenishment (University of Florida).Still, there are some behaviors and conditions that can make an individual more likely to experience losses of magnesium. These include: Frequent alcohol abuse, Kidney disease, Vomiting or diarrhea that lasts for long periods of time, Diuretic drug use, Hypercalcemia (or having a high level of blood calcium), IBS or celiac disease, Metabolic syndrome, And Old age.

Foods that Contain Magnesium

Magnesium can be found naturally in a number of healthy foods. Most people know that green, leafy vegetables are a source for magnesium. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center lists a large number of magnesium rich foods, which surprisingly include raw shrimp, cooked, egg-enriched noodles, and bananas.

Citations and Sources

1. Schwalfenberg G, Genuis S. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo). 2017;2017:4179326. [PMC] 2. Castiglioni S, Cazzaniga A, Albisetti W, Maier J. Magnesium and Osteoporosis: Current State of Knowledge and Future Research Directions. Nutrients. 2013;5(8):3022-3033. [PMC] 3. Mauskop A, Varughese J. Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2012;119(5):575-579. [PubMed] 4. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi M, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012;17(12):1161-1169. [PubMed] 5. Tarleton E, Littenberg B, MacLean C, Kennedy A, Daley C. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2017;12(6):e0180067. [PMC] 6. Boyle N, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. [PMC] 7. Fathizadeh N, Ebrahimi E, Valiani M, Tavakoli N, Yar M. Evaluating the effect of magnesium and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplement on the severity of premenstrual syndrome. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010;15(Suppl1):401-405. [PMC] 8. Zhang Y, Xun P, Wang R, Mao L, He K. Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance? Nutrients. 2017;9(9):946. [PMC]

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