The Many Benefits that Magnesium Gives the Body
Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in many processes in the normal muscle contraction, the building of healthy bones, and human body including nerve signaling. About 350 enzymes are known to depend on magnesium and it is responsible for more than 300 metabolic processes in the body. For this reason, it has been dubbed the ‘master mineral.
Deficiencies of this nutrient are known to cause a vast assortment of problems. Some of these problems are subtle while others can cause serious health problems that cannot be ignored. These deficiencies can be caused by several things such as a difficulty with absorption, poor diet, certain medications, and consumption of alcohol.
What is Magnesium and what does it do?
Magnesium is a nutrient – specifically a mineral – that plays an integral role in your body’s ability to keep your heart, kidneys, and muscles healthy. It also regulates the levels of other nutrients in your body and keeps your bones strong.
There are several health benefits of magnesium. Here are the most commonly repeated benefits of magnesium that were assembled here from several sources.
It can help with asthma.
Since magnesium contributes to the relaxing of bronchial muscles, it can be helpful to prevent the onset of an asthma attack or even to help stop one. In fact, magnesium is sometimes given to patients who are in the hospital due to respiratory distress. It is available intravenously and / or nebulized form for these purposes.
It can help to build healthy bones.
Magnesium is essential for bone formation. It is known to regulate the calcium levels in your body and to activate vitamin D synthesis in the kidneys. The bones are where more than 50 percent of a body’s magnesium is stored.
Studies have shown that a higher magnesium intake leads to a greater their bone mineral density. Further, they show that a healthy magnesium intake and magnesium levels throughout one’s life can put you at a lower risk of developing osteoporosis.
It can help to ease muscle cramps.
Magnesium works as a muscle relaxant. As such, it can speed the recovery from muscle spasms and cramps. This holds true for those that are caused by disease or external trauma alike. If you increase your intake of this important mineral, it can help bones injured in a traumatic injury and take the pressure off a compensating muscle. This in turn can ease the likelihood of muscle cramping and trauma.
It can help to lower blood pressure.
In a study published within the American Journal of Cardiovascular Health, the benefits of magnesium on blood pressure for hypertensive people. The results showed that magnesium supplements work to reduce the subjects’ blood pressures when the subject had existing blood pressure issues. However, there has been no evidence that healthy magnesium levels can prevent blood pressure problems from starting.
It can help to improve cardiovascular health.
The heart is – after all – a muscle. We have already established that magnesium is a muscle relaxant. Magnesium helps further by regulating the heartbeat and protect the heart from muscle stress. Issues such as muscle cramps, pain, and / or indigestion are all stressors, which can put undue pressure on the cardiovascular system. Magnesium helps to ease these ailments and thus, takes pressure off the heart.
Furthermore, magnesium can lower cholesterol and blood pressure – as was stated above. These are the two leading causes of heart attacks. Medical professionals know that the rapid administration of magnesium after a heart attack can reduce the risk of death. It is even used to treat congestive heart failure by reducing the risk of arrhythmia.
It can help to improve digestive health.
Magnesium can help to relieve and prevent constipation. As a muscle relaxant, it relaxes the intestinal muscles, which allows for a smoother peristalsis rhythm. This is the rhythmic tightening in the walls of tubular organs that pushes the contents forward. Further, magnesium attracts water to the intestines. This softens stool and eases constipation.
People with chronic constipation are often prescribed water-soluble magnesium supplements for their laxative effect. Many over the counter (OTC) laxatives include magnesium in their ingredients.
It can help to prevent the onset or worsening of diabetes.
Magnesium helps to regulate insulin’s reaction to blood sugar levels by reducing insulin resistance. Magnesium deficiency is common among those with type II diabetes.
It helps to fight anxiety and depression.
Magnesium plays a major role in mood and brain function. In fact, lowered levels can cause mild anxiety or depression. Research has shown that during times of significant stress the magnesium supply within ones’ body is used up more quickly. This, in turn, leads to more stress which leads to using up more magnesium which leads to more stress which continues on into infinity … unless you stop it by adding more magnesium. This only works though if the anxiety, depression, and stress are caused by a magnesium deficiency.
It can help to boost exercise performance.
One of the important roles of magnesium is to dispose of lactic acid. Lactic acid can build up in the muscles and cause a person pain. In one study, twenty-five professional volleyball players were split into two groups. The first group was the experimental group. They were given magnesium supplements over four weeks. These subjects showed a reduced production of lactic acid and improved arm movements and jumping over the control group. The second group – the aforementioned control group – is given nothing.
During an athletic workout, magnesium and calcium can help to strengthen contractions by sending stronger signals to the muscles from the brain. This may boost your workout and it will strengthen bones, tendons, and ligaments. Magnesium can even help to relax your muscles after a workout.
It can help to reduce inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is the root cause behind many diseases including fibromyalgia, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s, and many autoimmune diseases. Adequate magnesium intake may reduce the inflammation marker C – reactive protein (CPR) among others.
It can help men prevent or avoid the dreaded Low T.
Magnesium is a crucial ingredient in the formation of the leading male hormone, testosterone. Raising your levels of magnesium can help to increase fertility, virility, and sexual performance.
It can increase brain plasticity.
Brain plasticity is the ability of the brain to grow and change its shape in response to its experiences and learning. This occurs through the growth of new neurons and the formation of new connections between those neurons. Getting adequate levels of magnesium can help to improve your ability to learn new skills quickly and can help to prevent age related cognitive decline.
It can help to prevent and relieve headaches.
Nobody likes the pounding, stabbing pain of a headache, or worse yet, a migraine. Magnesium can help with that. By improving the body’s circulation and relaxing the muscles, magnesium can help to ease headaches caused by tension and stress. Stress is, after all, the leading cause of headaches. If you have a magnesium deficiency, then you are at greater risk of getting that agonizing pain in your head.
In one study that was published in the American Journal of Neurological Discover, patients who regularly suffered from migraines were given magnesium supplements for twelve weeks. Within nine to twelve weeks, all of the patients reported a reduction in migraine attack frequency with the average total reduction being estimated at 41.6 percent.
There are many more benefits of magnesium including increased vitamin and mineral absorption, aiding with sleep, sleep assistance, and more. Explore some of them on your own to further your understanding
What are the symptoms of a magnesium deficiency?
Magnesium deficiency is referred to as hypomagnesemia within the medical community. It causes noticeably negative symptoms that include anxiety, trouble sleeping, and muscle spasms, among others. It is caused by not consuming enough or by a difficulty with absorbing the mineral. It is often overlooked as a source of a symptom and rarely tested.
This is one of the earliest and most common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency. However, it is also a symptom of several other conditions and is often overlooked by doctors during diagnosis. It often takes quite some time before a doctor will think to check your magnesium levels.
Magnesium helps produce and transport energy throughout the body. If your levels are not sufficient, it will leave you feeling weak and tired. If it is indeed caused by a magnesium deficiency, then it will not go away until your magnesium levels are right again.
Muscle Spasms and Cramps
These can be uncomfortable and sometimes even extremely painful. They are often unpredictable and uncontrollable. Like fatigue, muscle spasms and cramps can be caused by a wide variety of conditions and triggers.
If you are suffering from these due to low levels of magnesium, then you will get regular cramping and spasms. Athletes often suffer from low levels of magnesium that lead to muscle spasms and cramps due to dehydration, lack of a proper diet, over exertion, and/or inadequate stretching.
The heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm in this condition.
Magnesium plays an essential role in your overall heart health as well since it is vital for proper muscle contraction.
Studies have shown that maintaining a regular level of magnesium may prevent some heart diseases. In fact, it is often used in medical settings for managing arrhythmia problems. It helps you maintain a normal heart rhythm.
There have been several studies focusing on how magnesium affects the heart. The vast majority of those studies confirms the above findings and also found that magnesium can lower the risk of heart attacks.
As with most of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency, dizziness is a symptom of several conditions and ailments. Therefore, it is also predictably overlooked as a cause during diagnosis.
When dizziness is caused by a magnesium deficiency then it will not simply ‘go away’ as it does with most other conditions. It can last all day or for several days without relief. If left untreated it can become more severe.
In that case, the magnesium deficiency can give you feelings mimicking those of vertigo. Vertigo is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “a sensation of whirling and loss of balance.” As the magnesium deficiency worsens so, do the symptoms.
These symptoms of a magnesium deficiency can deeply affect your life. It can leave you unable to do daily tasks including going to work. That is why if you are experiencing dizziness it is in your best interest to suggest your doctor test your magnesium levels.
Nausea and Vomiting
Two more symptoms that have a plethora of causes, nausea and vomiting are considered an early symptom of a magnesium deficiency. As usual, magnesium deficiency is often overlooked by doctors as a cause for these symptoms. Luckily, it is not often considered a severe symptom of a magnesium deficiency.
Whether it is considered to be a severe symptom or not, this can have an enormous impact on your routine day-to-day life. It is hard to drive to work, let alone do your job once there, when you are throwing up or feeling like you are going to at any moment.
Nausea and vomiting are also signs that your magnesium levels are too high. This rarely happens from dietary consumption of magnesium. Rather it occurs mostly from supplement use.
Numbness and Tingling
Magnesium deficiency impacts the nervous system often leading to tingling and numbness. This is an early warning sign that you need more magnesium. If your deficiency continues to worsen, so will these symptoms.
Without the sufficient amount of magnesium, nerve and muscle functions will not act and react properly. It can also prevent your body form sending the proper signals to your face, hands, and feet. This will result in those areas experiencing numbness and tingling.
Severe symptoms like this are rare and they are understandably scary. It is also not a symptom that you should take lightly. It is important to see a doctor and find the cause.
Personality Changes and Moodiness
A magnesium deficiency can result in abnormal amounts of irritability and confusion. It can seem like it ambushed you out of nowhere. Even simple tasks can seem overwhelming when your magnesium levels are low.
Again, this is a symptom that is often misdiagnosed or at the very least magnesium, deficiency is simply overlooked. The lack of sleep mentioned in symptom one can make this symptom worse.
Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Although there can again be many causes for this symptom, if you experience these with regularity then it could possibly be due to a magnesium deficiency. With this severe of a symptom it behooves you to request your doctor check every possible cause including your magnesium levels.
Unfortunately, the stress of an anxiety or panic attack can lower your magnesium levels further and begin a vicious cycle. Lower magnesium causes anxiety with then depletes the magnesium reserves during the attack and around and around we go!
The symptoms of a panic attack include chest pains, tingling in your limbs, difficulty breathing, trembling, racing heart, an intense rush of fear and/or dread, and more. They generally only last a few minutes. To the person experiencing the panic attack however, it can feel like an eternity and leave them entirely emotionally drained.
Your body needs the proper amount of magnesium in order to control the electrical conduction of neurons in your muscles. This then leads to the prolonged opening of your calcium channels and increased muscular activity. This can cause conditions such as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). RLS is a condition that causes your legs to move involuntarily during the night.
This unproductive and unintentional activity can keep you awake and add to the fatigue caused by your magnesium deficiency. That deficiency can also be tied directly to keeping you awake as well.
High Blood Pressure
A study that was published in the American Journal of Hypertension was conducted to show the correlation between the level of your blood pressure and the level of your magnesium. The results showed that the individuals with the healthiest blood pressure also had the highest magnesium levels.
Further, a study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that eating magnesium rich foods and absorbing roughly 100 milligrams of magnesium a day would decrease the risk of having a stroke by 8 percent. This was accomplished through the lowering of one’s blood pressure through magnesium intake.
Type II Diabetes
While this might sound strange initially as we all know diabetes has to do with sugar and insulin levels. However, once the correlation is explained it actually makes quite a bit of sense.
The Journal of Internal Medicine published a study that found that magnesium plays a significant role in the metabolism of sugar. Type II diabetes develops based on diet and therefore is at the mercy of a proper balance of nutrients within your body.
The study found that low levels of magnesium were found in ten times more subjects who had been recently diagnosed with type II diabetes than healthy levels were. A magnesium rich diet or supplement can help.
How do you get more magnesium?
Green leafy vegetables like whole grains, spinach, seeds, nuts, and legumes, are all adequate sources of magnesium. On the whole, foods containing dietary fiber provide magnesium. Magnesium is also added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods.
Further, there is the option to add magnesium supplements to your routine. As with anything else, you should always consult your doctor before you take any dietary supplement. However, if your doctor okays you to take extra magnesium this way, make sure you do not overdo it as the effects of too much magnesium can be as bad as the effects of too little magnesium.
Wrapping It All Up
Magnesium is an essential yet often overlooked mineral that everyone needs in his or her bodies. It helps dozens of your body’s functions to operate properly and efficiently. This ‘Master Mineral’ has several benefits for everyone and should be taken seriously even though it is not one of the most well-known nutrients in the body.
Whether it is helping hearth, bone, or muscle health, relieving muscle spasms, or preventing the onset of diabetes, magnesium is on helpful mineral.