Antioxidants may get all the headlines, but magnesium may just be your health MVP.
The mineral magnesium supports so many functions in our body to keep us healthy. Research suggests that magnesium supports muscle and nerve function, helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and improves bone health. Many people aren’t as aware of this powerhouse because it’s overshadowed by other minerals, such as calcium or vitamin D.
Type 2 Diabetes
If you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, this may be one of the most important potential benefits of magnesium for you. A 2016 review of studies involving more than 600,000 men and women suggested that people with a higher dietary intake of magnesium had a 17% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest intake.
While many people know that calcium and vitamin D are essential for building bones, few realize that magnesium is just as important. In fact, boosting calcium levels without adding in magnesium could be less effective and could actually increase the possibility of developing heart disease. In bone health, it’s important to keep a balance of two to one of calcium to magnesium. If you are supplementing with a calcium supplement that doesn’t contain magnesium, you may be disturbing the two-to-one balance.
High Blood Pressure
After reviewing 34 double-blind randomized placebo-controlled studies involving over 2000 people with high blood pressure, researchers found that taking a magnesium supplement was associated with roughly a two-point decline in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which are the first and second numbers in a blood pressure reading. However, if you haven’t yet developed, hypertension, don’t take magnesium as a preventive. A 2009 study shows that adding the nutrient doesn’t impact blood pressure levels in people who already have a normal blood pressure.
Could magnesium help stop your migraine in its tracks? Some research indicates that people who have chronic migraines may also be magnesium deficient. In a 2016 review of 21 published studies, people having a migraine who were treated with intravenous magnesium had a resolution of symptoms. In the same review, migraine prone people who took magnesium supplements had a drop in the frequency and intensity of the painful headaches.
Athletic Performance Benefits
Professional athletes stock up on the kinds of foods that are rich in magnesium and here’s why; research done in rats suggests that magnesium plays two key roles in helping you perform better. It helps fuel your muscles by enhancing the flow of glucose to them and helps your body get rid of lactic acid (a byproduct of exercise that can lead to post-workout stiffness).
Stress Level Reduction
Several studies have found that magnesium may play a role in reducing stress and anxiety symptoms. If you crave chocolate when you’re feeling under pressure, there could be a good reason. Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium and may improve your mood. If you suffer from depression, your diet could play a role. Research has linked magnesium deficiencies with an increased likelihood of depression in people under 65, but the jury is still out whether boosting magnesium intake can help ease depressive symptoms.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to everything from an increased risk of type 2 diabetes to cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses. One small, but intriguing study looked at the role magnesium played in inflammatory markers in overweight, middle-aged women. While the women with the lowest levels of magnesium had the highest levels of inflammation, taking 250 milligram of magnesium for two months didn’t seem to affect inflammation. However, taking magnesium was associated with a decrease in the percentage of body fat, a known factor in inflammation.
Magnesium is most likely the number one mineral that we are deficient in. Getting our magnesium levels up reduces our body’s stress load and almost instantly improves our sleep quality. Research has even shown that one of the main symptoms of magnesium deficiency is chronic insomnia. Supplementing with magnesium citrate worked great for me.
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