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Do magnesium supplements treat any health conditions?


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key takeaways

  • Magnesium plays a role in a variety of bodily functions, including blood pressure regulation, muscle and nerve function, and protein synthesis.
  • Not getting enough magnesium can cause health problems.
  • Experts say that taking magnesium supplements may help with certain health problems such as high blood pressure, headaches or anxiety, if these problems are caused by low magnesium.

Magnesium has recently been touted as a potential treatment for a wide range of health conditions, with TikTok users claiming it can help with everything from high blood pressure to migraines to mental health problems. Videos on the benefits of magnesium supplements have garnered thousands of views and have inspired many people to try them for a variety of ailments.

Magnesium is a mineral that affects our health in many ways. “Magnesium has a big role to play,” dietitian Amber Core, MDN, RD, of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Verywell. “It helps maintain brain and heart function, regulate blood pressure, keep muscles and nerves functioning, form bones and teeth, and [it] Supports the immune system.”

Many people don't get enough of the mineral, partly because much of the food we eat is processed, Mary van der Merwe, PhD, coordinator of the applied physiology and nutrition doctoral program at the University of Memphis, tells Verywell. Is. Research shows that 80% of the magnesium found in some foods is lost when the food is processed – which is why 79% of Americans don't get enough from their diets.

While magnesium is an essential nutrient, you should check with a healthcare provider before adding a supplement to your diet to treat any new symptoms you are experiencing.

“Supplements may be helpful, although it is best to review [your options] First with a provider,'' Julia Zampano, RD, a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, tells Verywell. This is partly because magnesium supplements may interact with some medications – or they may not be appropriate to treat the symptoms you are experiencing.

What does magnesium do for the body—and how much should you take each day?

“Magnesium is a co-factor for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body,” Core said. These include protein synthesis, blood pressure and blood glucose regulation, muscle and nerve function, and DNA and RNA synthesis. The core said it also supports the structural component of the bones.

That said, if you're deficient in magnesium, you may start to feel less than your best for a number of reasons. “It's like a domino effect,” van der Merwe said. “Having low magnesium creates a negative feedback loop in the body”.

“We can see this in people who are under a lot of stress,” he said. “Normally magnesium is inside your cells, but what happens when you're under stress is that magnesium moves from inside the cell to outside the cell in your bloodstream, and it's too much to be excreted through your kidneys. Is easy,” which makes you sad on magnesium. When this happens, you may experience symptoms such as headaches or muscle cramps due to your magnesium levels. This can make your stress worse and create a vicious cycle.

Women need 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) of magnesium a day, while men need 400 to 420 mg. For reference, one ounce of dry roasted almonds contains 80 milligrams of magnesium; Half a cup of steamed spinach contains 78 milligrams; And two tablespoons of smooth peanut butter contains 49 milligrams.

If you are experiencing symptoms of low magnesium, you should try to increase your magnesium through food. “I approach nutrition with a 'food first' mentality, in which we should get as many nutrients as possible from our food before adding supplements as needed,” Core said. “Nutrients in foods are easier for our bodies to use and absorb, unlike their elemental form in supplements.”

The following are the best dietary sources of magnesium:

  • beans
  • crazy
  • Seed
  • Whole grains
  • Green leafy vegetables (like spinach)
  • heavy foods (including breakfast cereals)
  • Milk
  • Curd

Many people may benefit from adding a magnesium supplement to their daily routine, van der Merwe said, given how prevalent deficiencies are and how important the mineral is.

“But you should always seek advice [a healthcare provider], especially if you are taking any other medications,” she added. Some medications may interact with magnesium supplements.

What magnesium can help with and what it can't do

Van der Merwe said, because magnesium is involved in many bodily processes, if you start getting enough magnesium after a deficiency, you may start to notice that you feel better. Some symptoms that have been bothering you, such as low energy, headaches, anxiety, or feeling tired, may subside.

But that's only if your magnesium levels actually cause them, not because of something else going on in your body — which is why it's important to tell your provider about any new health problems you're experiencing. It is necessary to talk to, experts said.

blood pressure

Some of the claims on TikTok about magnesium's ability to help with certain health conditions aren't necessarily false. “Some studies have shown that magnesium supplementation may modestly reduce blood pressure,” Zampano said. However, more research is needed on the topic.

mental health

Magnesium may also reduce anxiety symptoms by balancing cortisol levels, a hormone that affects your stress levels, Zampano said. Limited research also suggests that magnesium may help people with mild depression, although more research is needed to determine whether this is true, he explained.

Migraine prevention

There is no evidence to suggest that daily magnesium supplementation affects some of the health conditions discussed on TikTok. Research on magnesium supplements for migraine prevention is inconclusive: “Some studies show benefit, and some don't,” Zampano said.

physical performance

While animal studies have shown that magnesium can affect physical performance – by increasing glucose availability in the brain, muscles, and blood – we do not know whether magnesium affects humans in this way.

When to Try a Different Approach to Managing Symptoms

Although magnesium may help with some health conditions, experts stress that it should not be used as a treatment in place of healthy lifestyle habits. He acknowledged that there are many health conditions people claim that magnesium can help with healthy habits.

,[You should] Make sure you pay attention to the lifestyle factors that may be influencing the symptoms you're experiencing,” Zampano said. He further said, it could look like the following:

  • reduce screen time
  • eat nutritious food
  • Manage your stress levels
  • give priority to movement
  • prioritize sleep
  • reduce or eliminate alcohol
  • reduce or eliminate caffeine
  • reduce or eliminate processed foods

“If you've covered all these bases but are still experiencing anxiety [symptoms]That's where supplements can help,” Zampano said.

If you're struggling with any of the health conditions above — like anxiety, high blood pressure, or migraines — a healthcare provider may suggest medication in addition to or in place of supplements, experts said.

“Although proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are important for preventing a myriad of conditions, [you may] Medicine is needed as treatment,'' Kor said. “Supplements can help improve health, but are not meant to cure any condition.”

Your healthcare provider can also help you choose the right supplement if advised. “Therefore, supplements are not regulated [you have to] Choose supplements that have been third-party tested,” explained Zampano.

Ultimately, it's worth talking to the provider before making any changes, no matter how harmless they may seem. “Always discuss your concerns with your doctor,” Core said.

What does it mean to you

Magnesium is important for many bodily processes, and not getting enough of the mineral can have negative effects on your health. But taking magnesium supplements is not a guaranteed way to treat any health condition or worrisome symptoms. Before taking a magnesium supplement, you should talk to a healthcare provider to make sure it is the best option for you.

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