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6 health benefits of magnesium


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“Magnesium is one of the main minerals in your body,” says Michelle Shofro Cook, Ph.D., holistic nutritionist and author. Super-Powered Immunity, “It's essential for strong bones and teeth, and helps to relax muscles – not only when we're stressed, which helps, but also for proper muscle movement. It is relaxing and naturally anti-inflammatory in nature and is important for cardiovascular health.”

Cook says, since magnesium is a mineral that is not made in the body, you must get it from dietary sources. And if your diet is depleted, you are at a higher risk of certain health problems.

“Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a wide range of disorders, including heart disease, menstrual problems, and psychological disorders,” says Shofro Cook.

Research has confirmed the many benefits of this important mineral. Here are some things to note.

supports heart health

Making sure your diet contains the appropriate amount of magnesium helps keep your heart healthy, reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

How? High blood pressure can make your arteries less flexible, reducing the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart, potentially leading to heart disease. Magnesium helps relax blood vessels.

Several studies confirm that magnesium deficiency increases the risk of heart disease. In 2022, the Food and Drug Administration agreed that “the totality of the scientific evidence supports a qualified health claim on the association between magnesium and reduced risk of hypertension in traditional foods and dietary supplements.”

strengthens bones

Fun fact: 60% of your body's magnesium is in your bones and helps build bones.

“Bone mineral density is a measure of the amount of minerals within the bones and is generally an indicator of bone strength,” says Scofro Cook.

Studies have shown that men and women who consume high magnesium diets have higher bone mineral density. A 2021 review of studies on magnesium and bone health found that participants who took magnesium supplements had improved bone mineral density and reduced fracture risk.

Helps reduce depression and anxiety

Several studies have shown that magnesium can help regulate mood.

A 2017 study showed that participants who received 248 mg of magnesium chloride for six weeks had significant improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, participants experienced these positive effects rapidly in just two weeks.

Researchers suspect that magnesium reduces cortisol (stress hormone) in the body.

improves sleep

Wong says she adds 300 milligrams of magnesium powder to a glass of water before bed to get the relief she needs.

Studies confirm the positive effects of magnesium on sleep quality.

High cortisol levels can cause sleep problems, and magnesium's cortisol-lowering effects help counteract this. Magnesium also naturally increases melatonin, the hormone your body produces in response to darkness, helping us feel more rested and relaxed, which helps with sleep quality.

activates vitamin D

Vitamin D has many benefits, including increasing bone strength and immunity, and improving heart and brain health.

But did you know that vitamin D requires magnesium to work?

This study shows that magnesium helps activate vitamin D by aiding the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D.

Helps in relieving migraine headache

Magnesium acts as a preventive and pain reliever for migraine headaches.

Research has shown that magnesium deficiency may cause migraines. One study showed that magnesium sulfate significantly reduced migraine headache pain compared to a combination of the prescription drugs dexamethasone and metoclopramide. Magnesium also helps control chemicals that trigger pain.

Magnesium can also reduce the aura that sometimes accompanies migraines. It does this by blocking the wave of brain signaling, called cortical spreading depression, that produces visual and sensory changes in common forms of migraine aura.

You may be deficient in magnesium

Scofro Cook says most people in modern society are at risk for magnesium deficiency. “Food grown in mineral-depleted soils, which make up the majority of our current food supply, has low levels of minerals such as magnesium. With our high need for the mineral, we are vulnerable to magnesium deficiency.

Solution to the problem: Take magnesium supplements and try to eat more magnesium-rich foods.

Magnesium Rich Foods

According to Shofro Cook, some foods rich in magnesium include:

  • blackstrap molasses
  • seeds, including chia, flax, and pumpkin seeds
  • Seafood, including fatty fish such as halibut, mackerel, salmon, and tuna as well as oysters and scallops
  • grass fed meat
  • organic dairy products
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice
  • organic corn

Your daily magnesium requirement

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium is 400-420 mg for men, 310-320 mg for women, 350-360 mg for pregnant women, and 310-320 mg for lactating women.

But this may not be enough. “The RDA for magnesium was established in 1997,” says Wong. “Since then, there has been much research that suggests magnesium levels should be higher.”

So how do you know if you need more magnesium?

“The blood test only measures the amount of magnesium in the blood, which is a small percentage of the total magnesium in the body, so it's not an ideal way to determine magnesium levels in the body,” says Schoffrom Cook. “As the amount of magnesium in foods has declined by approximately 80 to 90 percent over the last century, the number of people deficient in the mineral has increased. If a person suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes or neurological disorders, they may be deficient in magnesium.

magnesium supplement

Since you may not be able to get all your magnesium from food, you may want to consider taking a supplement.

According to the 2023 annual survey of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), magnesium is the next most purchased supplement, after multivitamins, vitamin D, vitamin C and calcium.

While there are many forms of magnesium supplements to choose from, Scofro Cook generally suggests magnesium glycinate, aspartate, ascorbate, or malate. “These forms have greater bioavailability and are better absorbed by the brain and muscles,” she says.

She suggests choosing a research-backed brand that has third-party laboratory testing to verify that you're actually getting what's listed on the label and non-GMO (genetically modified organism) varieties. Choose.

Side effects

“Because magnesium is part of our bodies, it's considered fairly safe,” says Scofro Cook, “but it's best to consult your doctor if you're pregnant, breastfeeding, have kidney disease, or any other serious health condition.” Still a good idea.”

High doses can cause toxicity, she says, and since magnesium has a laxative effect, it can sometimes cause increased bowel movements or diarrhea.

Finally, she says, some medications interact with magnesium, including some statins and antibiotics. “It's best to check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if any medications you're taking interact with this essential mineral,” says Cook.

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