When most people think of important electrolytes to replace after a hard workout, sodium and potassium are usually the first things that come to mind. While these are indeed critical electrolytes that are lost in sweat, there is another major player that is often overlooked – magnesium. Magnesium is an electrolyte and an essential mineral involved in more than 300 different enzymatic reactions in the body, and its functions range from regulating blood sugar and blood pressure to manufacturing proteins and conducting nerve and muscle impulses. As an electrolyte, magnesium helps transport calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, which is essential for maintaining heart contractions, nerve impulses, and other contractions of skeletal and smooth muscles.
Since there are many vital functions of magnesium in the body, there are many benefits associated with taking magnesium supplements or eating magnesium-rich foods to ensure an adequate intake. Keep reading for a list of magnesium benefits and to make sure you don’t miss out on this essential nutrient for your health.
The health benefits of magnesium in the body are related to the many physiological functions of this mineral. The primary benefits of magnesium include:
Magnesium can strengthen your bones
Adequate magnesium intake can prevent osteoporosis and protect your bone health because it plays a major role in bone formation. Magnesium levels affect levels of parathyroid hormone and vitamin D, which are also involved in maintaining bone health by increasing calcium absorption to improve bone mineralization and prevent osteoporosis. Research has consistently demonstrated that low levels of magnesium are associated with increased rates of osteoporosis and that taking magnesium supplements in women with osteoporosis can mitigate additional bone loss.
Magnesium can boost your workouts
If you are looking to boost your exercise performance and recovery, go with magnesium. This mineral helps move glucose into your muscles and release lactate, which can help reduce muscle fatigue.
Magnesium can reduce inflammation
We often think of inflammation as just the acute swelling that occurs after a bad ankle sprain or bruise, but chronic low-grade inflammation is actually the root cause of many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and obesity. It can result from damage to the gut barrier, poor diet, and stress, among others. It has also been shown that lower levels of magnesium are associated with higher levels of inflammation. Getting enough magnesium is one way to reduce inflammation in your body and reduce the risk of chronic diseases associated with it.
Magnesium can prevent migraines
Research shows that low levels of magnesium can trigger migraines because the lack of magnesium causes the blood vessels in the brain to constrict, which can lead to severe headaches or even migraines. Studies have found that for migraine sufferers, ensuring an adequate intake of magnesium can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by more than 40%. However, you should speak with your doctor if you regularly suffer from migraines and would like to specifically take magnesium supplements to treat your condition. Even if you don’t regularly suffer from full-blown debilitating migraines, you may find that increasing your magnesium intake keeps annoying tension headaches at bay.
Magnesium may improve your mood
One of the benefits of magnesium is that it can reduce anxiety and depression. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to depression, while higher concentrations in serum appear to help elevate mood and reduce anxiety.
Magnesium may help you sleep better
Magnesium promotes muscle relaxation and calms the nervous system, helping to put your body into a relaxed state for optimal sleep. Many people find that eating a bedtime snack that is high in magnesium can support a good night’s sleep.
Magnesium may regulate blood sugar and prevent type 2 diabetes
Magnesium plays an important role in aiding insulin, the hormone that helps your body regulate blood sugar levels in your body. Those with low levels of magnesium have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Moreover, once you have type 2 diabetes, your risk of magnesium deficiency increases even more because your kidneys excrete more magnesium, thus depleting your stores.
Magnesium may lower blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. Research has shown that magnesium supplementation can lower blood pressure somewhat. For example, widely dimensional analysis Of 22 studies found that magnesium supplementation led to a small but clinically significant reduction in blood pressure (3-4 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and 2-3 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure).
Furthermore, a study examining the protective effects of magnesium on heart disease found that compared to subjects in the lower quartile of the normal physiological range for serum magnesium (0.75 mmol/L or less), subjects in the higher quartile (0.88 mmol/L) decreased Risk of sudden cardiac death by 38%. High levels of magnesium are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke.
Magnesium may reduce the risk of certain diseases
Magnesium deficiency is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, and migraine headaches. Therefore, ensuring an adequate intake of magnesium can reduce the risk of developing these conditions. The risk of magnesium deficiency is greater in those with malabsorption disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, as well as those with alcoholism and type 2 diabetes, both of which can impair magnesium absorption or deplete stores. Older adults are also vulnerable to magnesium deficiency because absorption rates decrease as we age and more magnesium is excreted in the urine.
How much magnesium do you need?
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium for most men is between 400-420 mg for men, depending on your age. Your needs increase as you age, as absorption rates decrease and excretion rates increase. Endurance athletes are also particularly vulnerable to magnesium deficiency due to excessive loss of magnesium in sweat, so if you exercise a lot, your magnesium needs may be higher. Unfortunately, national data shows that nearly 50% of adults in the United States do not meet the RDA. However, the good news is that there are plenty of healthy foods that are high in magnesium, such as green leafy vegetables, tuna, almonds, avocados, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate. Eating these foods regularly or taking a magnesium supplement can help ensure that your body gets an ample amount of this vital mineral.