After oxygen, water and food, magnesium may be one of the most important elements needed by our bodies – yet 80% or more of us are deficient in this vital mineral. And the benefits of magnesium are vast.
This vital mineral plays an important role in over 1,300 different biochemical reactions!
Contrary to popular misconceptions, it is magnesium – not calcium – that is most important in building strong bones and preventing bone loss.
Low magnesium intake is linked to chronic inflammation, which is one of the drivers of aging, obesity and chronic disease.
Magnesium – not calcium – is most important in building strong bones and preventing bone loss.
So, if this mineral is so important for our bodies, why are so many people deficient? How can we up our intake and vitality in our daily life? Let’s start with the basics.
What Is Magnesium and What Does It Do?
Like calcium and potassium, this mineral is a macro-mineral which is needed by the body in large amounts. It’s actually the second most abundant element inside human cells and within the body’s cells, and it serves literally hundreds of functions.
To name just a few functions, this mineral supports:
- Enzyme activity
- Energy the body’s cells use for muscle fiber contraction
- Protein synthesis
- Cell reproduction
- Protects DNA
It is crucial to glucose and fat breakdown, creation of DNA and RNA and regulation of cholesterol production. It is also the captain of mineral balance, which is necessary to maintain cell life.
So, basically, what all that science mumbo-jumbo means is that magnesium is vital to nearly every bodily function.
Without it we could not produce energy, our muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction, and our body wouldn’t be able to regulate itself.
Magnesium is vital to nearly every bodily function.
Now that we learned what this mineral does in the body, we know that it is vital to most bodily functions. But how does that translate in our everyday life? How does more of this mineral help us outside a science textbook?
Benefits of Magnesium
Here’s a quick list of some of the main benefits of magnesium, followed by an explanation and supporting studies of these benefits:
- Prevent headaches and migraine
- Reduce anxiety
- Lower blood pressure
- Fight depression
- Reduce PMS symptoms
- Improved sleep
Magnesium has been shown to help prevent osteoporosis, depression, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. It can also help with anxiety, PMS, sleep problems, asthma and relieve migraines.
In fact, in one study, supplementing with one gram of magnesium provided relief from a migraine more quickly and effectively than a common medication.
And another study found this mineral lowers blood pressure for people with high blood pressure and has no effect on those with normal levels.
Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?
On average, men should consume around 400 mg per day, and women 310 mg per day, according to the National Institute of Health. It’s advised that if you take a magnesium supplement, do not exceed 350mg daily.
Our bodies do not naturally make this mineral, so we need to make sure we’re getting enough of it in our diet. It’s important to note that during exercise, you may actually need 10–20% more magnesium than when you’re resting.
Reap the Benefits of Magnesium – Here’s 3 Ways to Make Sure You Get Enough
Here are our favorite three methods for upping your magnesium intake.
The most natural way to get this mineral is by eating more of the following foods: black or white beans, pine nuts, quinoa, spinach, halibut, oat bran and pumpkin seeds.
You can also take a tablespoon of molasses daily for a nice dose of magnesium and many other minerals.
Unfortunately, refined oils, sugars and grains remove most of this mineral in what could be magnesium-rich foods. In fact, even the quality of the soil that the magnesium-rich foods grow in affect the overall outcome and has decreased magnesium content in the 20th century.
Due to the issue with magnesium content in foods, it might be necessary to get this mineral in supplement form.
If you want to take a vitamin in addition to your magnesium friendly meal choices, it is believed that the best forms of supplemental magnesium are the ones chelated to an amino acid or krebs cycle intermediate.
Translation – look for these in the vitamin aisle:
- magnesium glycinate
- magnesium taurate
- magnesium malate
- magnesium citrate
- or magnesium fumarate
You can also find supplements in powder form. These you can mix into drinks or smoothies and come in both flavored and unflavored varieties.
You can receive the benefits of this mineral transdermally through oils and creams and mineral salt baths.
You can find these oils, creams, and salt in stores or find a recipe online to DIY some yourself!
Final Important Details About Magnesium
Magnesium overdose is rare because the kidneys work to get rid of excess. However, if you have kidney disease or any kidney issues, heart disease or gastrointestinal issues, this is important to be aware of and consult your healthcare provider with any questions.
Magnesium is vital for heart and bone health, mental function and overall body maintenance. When you get enough of it, your muscles are relaxed and you get great sleep.
You can also use this mineral for diabetes prevention and migraine, depression, anxiety and PMS relief. Your body doesn’t make it, so you have to make sure to get it on your own.
This article and all included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. Please consult your healthcare provider for all health-related questions and concerns.
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