07

May

Magnesium benefits

Magnesium has many benefits throughout all the body’s critical functions. From nerves to cells to muscles, magnesium is hard at work regulating and promoting proper function.

1. Helps Increase Energy

Magnesium is used to create “energy” in your body by activating adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. This means that without enough magnesium, you don’t have the energy you need and can suffer from fatigue more easily.

Inadequate magnesium intake also means you tire more quickly and need a higher level of oxygen during exercise. One study conducted by the ARS Community Nutrition Research Group found that when magnesium-deficient women exercised, they needed more oxygen to complete low-level activities and had a higher heart rate compared to when their magnesium levels were higher.

2. Calms Nerves and Anxiety

Magnesium is vital for GABA function, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that produces “happy hormones” like serotonin. Certain hormones regulated by magnesium are crucial for calming the brain and promoting relaxation, which is one reason why a magnesium deficiency can lead to sleeplessness or insomnia.

Magnesium deficiency caused an increase in the production of cortisolhormones in the brains of the mice, specifically by activating the para ventricular hypothalamic nucleus, a part of the brain that controls responses to stress and anxiety. 

3. Treats Insomnia and Helps You Fall Asleep

Magnesium supplements can help quiet a racing mind and make it easier to get a good night’s sleep. Our circadian rhythms shift, especially as we age because of our decreased nutrient consumption and a lower nutrient absorption, which puts many of us at risk for insomnia.

When 46 patients were either given magnesium supplements or a placebo over an eight-week period in a double-blind, randomized trial, the group taking magnesium supplements experienced a significant increase in sleep time, an easier time falling asleep, higher concentrations of melatonin (the hormone responsible for inducing sleepiness) and lower levels of cortisol, which are associated with stress.

Researchers who published the 2012 study in the Journal of Research in Medical Science concluded that magnesium supplementation is low-risk and effective for lowering insomnia symptoms; improves sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset; plus it aids in early morning awakening and lowers concentrations of cortisol. 

4. Helps with Digestion by Relieving Constipation

Magnesium helps relax muscles within the digestive tract, including the intestinal wall, which controls your ability to go to the bathroom. Because magnesium helps neutralize stomach acid and moves stool through the intestines, taking magnesium supplements is a natural way to help you go to the toilet.

When researchers from the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo studied the effects of magnesium in the diet of 3,800 women, low magnesium intakes were associated with significant increases in the prevalence of constipation

Another study found that when elderly patients experiencing constipation took magnesium supplements, they were more efficient at reducing constipation than the use of bulk-laxatives. 

Keep in mind, however, that if you experience a laxative effect when taking magnesium supplements, you may be taking too high of a dose. Taking the proper dose of magnesium should help you go to the bathroom easily on a normal schedule but shouldn’t cause discomfort or diarrhea.

5. Relieves Muscle Aches and Spasms

Magnesium has an important role in neuromuscular signals and muscle contractions. When you don’t acquire enough magnesium, your muscles can actually go into spasms. Magnesium helps muscles relax and contract and also enables you to move around. 

Additionally, magnesium balances calcium within the body, which is important because overly high doses of calcium, usually from supplements, can cause problems associated with muscle control, including controlling the heart.

While calcium is often taken in high quantities, magnesium supplements usually are not taken by most adults. This can result in the potential for intense muscle pains, cramps, contractions and weakness.

6. Regulates Levels of Calcium, Potassium and Sodium

Together with other electrolytes, magnesium regulates diverse biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes. This makes magnesium vital to nerve impulse conductions, muscle contractions and normal heart rhythms.

Magnesium, working with calcium, also contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA and the antioxidant glutathione.

7. Important for Heart Health

Magnesium is very important for heart health. The highest amount of magnesium within the whole body is in the heart, specifically within the heart’s left ventricle. Magnesium works with calcium to support proper blood pressure levels and prevent hypertension.

Without a proper balance of magnesium to other minerals like calcium, a heart attack can even occur due to severe muscle spasms.

8. Prevents Migraine Headaches

Because magnesium is involved in neurotransmitter function and blood circulation, it can help control migraine headache pain by releasing pain-reducing hormones and reducing constriction, or constriction of the blood vessels that raises blood pressure. Several studies show that when sufferers of migraines supplement with magnesium, their symptoms improve. 

9. Helps Prevent Osteoporosis

Magnesium also plays a role in balancing blood concentrations of vitamin D, which is a major regulator of bone homeostasis. A higher magnesium intake correlates with increased bone mineral density in both men and women, according to several studies. Research also shows that women can help prevent or reverse osteoporosis by increasing their magnesium consumption and preventing magnesium deficiency.

Other Benefits

Other benefits of magnesium supplementation include its ability to improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetics. In a randomized, double-blind, controlled study, diabetic “subjects who received magnesium supplementation showed significant higher serum magnesium concentration and lower HOMA-IR index, fasting glucose levels, and HbA1c than control subjects.” This led researchers to conclude that “oral supplementation with MgCl2 solution restores serum magnesium levels, improving insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic patients with decreased serum magnesium levels.” 

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