Everything You Need To Know About Magnesium
By Jayton Miller
Some supplements are flashy; you hear about them all the time and about how they can be extremely helpful to your overall health. Magnesium usually isn’t one of these supplements, instead, most people don’t even know the role magnesium plays in their bodies (and trust us, it has a lot!). However, magnesium supplements can be helpful to take, especially if your body isn’t already getting enough of it.
- Details About Magnesium
- Benefits Of Taking Magnesium
- How To Use Magnesium
- Symptoms Of Magnesium Deficiency
- Foods That Contain Magnesium
Details About Magnesium:
Magnesium is a mineral that the body needs in order to be able to thrive and grow. It is involved in well 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.
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 (if you still believe the membrane hypothesis). Magnesium does so much for our bodies, but we hardly ever talk about it.
Magnesium Is Also Known As …
Magnesium is a chemical element that goes by the abbreviation Mg. Its atomic number is 12, and its mass is 23.305. It is the eighth most abundant element in the world, and it can be found inside the earth’s crust. When we discuss magnesium as a supplement, we mostly will be focused on how it affects the body, but magnesium is a mineral that can be found almost anywhere.
Benefits of Taking 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 conditions. If you are at risk of any of the conditions below — or if you already have them and are looking for a possible supplemental aid — magnesium could be exactly what you need.
May Help With Heart Problems and High Blood Pressure
High 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 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.
Could Help With Osteoporosis
Between 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 osteoporosis.
May Help With Diabetes
Magnesium 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. Magnesium has been shown to help increase glycemic control in type 2 diabetic individuals.
Other Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium has a nearly endless amount of benefits when you really begin to take a deep dive into what it can do. Not only can magnesium possibly prevent and treat these serious and common health conditions, but increasing magnesium intakes may also help treat migraines, insomnia, depression and anxiety. 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 PMS. 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 performance.
How to Use Magnesium:
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 daily
- Women: 310-360 mg daily
- Teen boys: 410 mg
- Teen girls: 360 mg
Magnesium is often present in mineral supplements, and many people use this as an option for covering all their mineral bases. Still, those who want to take magnesium on its own may do so by taking a pill that contains magnesium in the following forms:
You can also use epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) as well as magnesium bath flakes (magnesium chloride).
In General I would avoid magnesium citrate or magnesium lactate as they tend to be less favorable sources of this crucial mineral.
Magnesium, like any supplement, should not be taken without a healthcare professional’s formal approval, especially if you are already on medications.
Symptoms of 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).
- Nystagmus (or strange, rapid eye movements)
- Numbness in the body
- Loss of appetite
- Weak muscles
- Facial tics or spasms
- 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.
Read More: The Importance Of Micronutrients
Who Is at Risk of a Magnesium Deficiency?:
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 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
- Old age
Foods that Contain Magnesium:
Magnesium can be found naturally in a number of healthy foods. Some of the most notable ones are:
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If we really wanted to, we could sit and talk about magnesium and the role it has in the body for hours upon hours, but for now I think this gives a good overview of what this wonder mineral can do for your body.