Evidence-Based Health Benefits Of Magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body.

Why is magnesium important?

Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA.

Here are a few evidence-based health benefits of magnesium.

1. Magnesium Is Involved in Hundreds of Biochemical Reactions in Your Body

Magnesium is a mineral found in the earth, sea, plants, animals and humans.

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About 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in bone, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood.

In fact, every cell in your body contains it and needs it to function.

It’s involved in more than 600 reactions in your body, including:

  • Energy creation: Helps convert food into energy.

  • Protein formation: Helps create new proteins from amino acids.

  • Gene maintenance: Helps create and repair DNA and RNA.

  • Muscle movements: Is part of the contraction and relaxation of muscles.

  • Nervous system regulation: Helps regulate neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system.

Unfortunately, studies suggest that about 50% of people in the US and Europe get less than the recommended daily amount of magnesium.

2. It May Boost Exercise Performance

Magnesium supplements have been shown to enhance exercise performance in several studies, but research results are mixed.

Here is a list of different studies:

  • During exercise, you may need 10–20% more magnesium than when you're resting, depending on the activity. (study)

  • Magnesium helps move blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactic acid, which can build up in muscles during exercise and cause pain. (study)

  • Studies have shown that supplementing with it can boost exercise performance for athletes, the elderly and people with chronic disease. (study1, Study2, study3)

  • In another study, athletes who supplemented with magnesium for four weeks had faster running, cycling and swimming times during a triathlon. They also experienced reductions in insulin and stress hormone levels. (study)

  • Other studies have found no benefit of magnesium supplements in athletes with low or normal levels of the mineral. (study1, study2)

3. Magnesium Fights Depression

There may be a link between depression and magnesium deficiency. Supplementing with it can reduce symptoms of depression in some people.

Magnesium plays a critical role in brain function and mood, and low levels are linked to an increased risk of depression. (study)

4. It Has Benefits Against Type 2 Diabetes

One study which followed more than 4,000 people for 20 years found that those with the highest magnesium intake were 47% less likely to develop diabetes.

People who get the most magnesium have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, supplements have been shown to lower blood sugar in some people.

5. It Has Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

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Magnesium supplements can reduce CRP and other markers of inflammation in older adults, overweight people and those with prediabetes.

In the same way, high-magnesium foods — such as fatty fish and dark chocolate — can reduce inflammation.

Magnesium has been shown to help fight inflammation. It reduces the inflammatory marker CRP and provides several other benefits.

7. Magnesium Can Help Prevent Migraines

I know about migraines and I can tell you migraine headaches are painful and debilitating. Nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise often occur.

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Some researchers believe that people who suffer from migraines are more likely than others to be magnesium deficient .

In fact, a few encouraging studies suggest that magnesium can prevent and even help treat migraines.

People with frequent migraines may have low magnesium levels. Some studies show that supplementing with this mineral can provide relief from migraines.




8. Magnesium Is Safe and Widely Available

Magnesium is absolutely essential for good health. The recommended daily intake is 400–420 mg per day for men and 310–320 mg per day for women.

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You can get it from both food and supplements.

Food Sources

The following foods are good to excellent sources of magnesium.

  • Pumpkin seeds: 46% of the RDI in a quarter cup (16 grams)

  • Spinach, boiled: 39% of the RDI in a cup (180 grams)

  • Swiss chard, boiled: 38% of the RDI in a cup (175 grams)

  • Dark chocolate (70–85% cocoa): 33% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)

  • Black beans: 30% of the RDI in a cup (172 grams)

  • Quinoa, cooked: 33% of the RDI the in a cup (185 grams)

  • Halibut: 27% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)

  • Almonds: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (24 grams)

  • Cashews: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (30 grams)

  • Mackerel: 19% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)

  • Avocado: 15% of the RDI in one medium avocado (200 grams)

  • Salmon: 9% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)

Supplements

If you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements.

Though these are generally well-tolerated, they may not be safe for people who take certain diuretics, heart medications or antibiotics.

Supplement forms that are absorbed well include magnesium citrate, glycinate, orotate and carbonate.


Getting enough magnesium is vital. Many foods contain it, and many high-quality supplements are available.

Without enough of this important mineral, your body can't function optimally.