Magnesium is a cofactor responsible for regulating biochemical reactions in the body. These include blood pressure control, glucose regulation, protein synthesis, and muscle and nerve functioning. Magnesium also provides support to the immune system. An adult human body contains approximately 25 grams of magnesium, about 50-60% of which is stored in the skeletal system.
Some rich food sources of magnesium include avocado, spinach, almonds, cashew nuts, dark chocolate, fish, peanuts, and more. If you cannot provide enough magnesium to your body through diet, your doctor may recommend you take supplements. It is because the deficiency of magnesium has been linked to a range of health complications, such as weakness, headaches, nausea, irritability, abnormal heart rhythms, and more. Therefore, you should meet your daily magnesium requirement to avoid such issues.
Here are the most important things you should know about the role of magnesium in the human body:
1. Brain health and functions
Magnesium is a multipurpose mineral that performs vital roles in the brain. Studies suggest that adequate magnesium levels in the brain profoundly affect different forms of learning and memory. It has also been linked with depression and anxiety. People with depression and anxiety usually have low levels of magnesium. Therefore, magnesium supplementation may result in symptom improvement.
If you have lately experienced a diminished memory and symptoms of anxiety and depression have started to become apparent, you should start taking magnesium supplements after consultation with your doctor. For example, NCP NEURO Magnesium Blend (formerly known as NeuroMAG) is a cognitive magnesium supplement that helps improve memory and the brain’s cognitive function. It also helps reduce the potent symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Moreover, many people diagnosed with migraine usually have a magnesium deficiency. So magnesium can be used in the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches.
2. Cardiovascular Health
Magnesium is important for maintaining muscles in the body, including the heart. It is surprising to see that magnesium has vasodilatory, anti-arhythmic, and anti-ischemic properties. Therefore, it is central to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, including coronary heart disease, hypertension, heart failure, atherosclerosis, and other heart diseases.
Magnesium can be a preventive measure and a treatment for cardiovascular diseases. It can reverse heart disease risk factors that are mostly treated with medication. Magnesium promotes healthy heart rhythms as it has a role in transporting other electrolytes (calcium and potassium) into cells. Magnesium also helps in the pumping and contraction of the heart. Therefore, people with low magnesium levels have an increased risk of irregular heartbeats, arterial fibrillation, skipped beats, and similar heart complications.
3. Bone health
When speaking of bone health, the main focus has always been on the role of calcium. However, magnesium plays a pivotal role in bone health. Sufficient magnesium intake has been linked with healthy bone formation, higher bone density, increased bone strength, improved bone crystal formation, and a lower risk of females developing osteoporosis after menopause. Magnesium stimulates the release of a hormone called calcitonin, which draws the mineral out of the blood and returns it to the bones. It results in enhanced bone mass and strength.
If your magnesium intake is insufficient, it will result in low bone mass. Moreover, Mg affects bone health by increasing osteoclasts and decreasing osteoblasts. Therefore, keep track of your magnesium intake if you want healthy bones.
4. Type 2 diabetes
Proper magnesium intake is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Magnesium is a cofactor for enzymatic activities involved in glycolysis and insulin regulation. Therefore, it mainly regulates insulin action and metabolism, glucose control, and more. People with diabetes also have low magnesium levels, indicating magnesium’s role in diabetes management. A 12-week study conducted on 54 people with type 2 diabetes found that a 300mg intake of magnesium every day significantly lowered the fasting blood glucose levels and post-meal blood glucose levels.
Insulin resistance, a condition that usually develops before type 2 diabetes, is directly linked to magnesium deficiency. Meanwhile, insulin resistance also causes low magnesium levels. Remember, keep your magnesium intake sufficient but do not consume more than the recommended daily intake. Excessive magnesium can also have harmful effects.
5. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome is the combination of symptoms women experience about 1 or 2 weeks before their period. The symptoms of PMS include mood swings, irritability, headaches, cramps, tender breasts, and more. There is an evidence-based connection between magnesium intake and PMS. Research has shown that magnesium helps reduce period cramps by lowering the levels of prostaglandins. It also helps in calming the nervous system.
Additionally, magnesium is also helpful in providing relief from bloating, mood swings, breast tenderness, etc. After consulting a doctor, taking 360mg of magnesium daily can relieve these symptoms. Studies also suggest that taking magnesium with vitamin B-6 improves PMS symptoms.
6. Better sleep
Magnesium is involved in relaxing the central nervous system by causing chemical reactions. It supports regulating neurotransmitters that are directly linked with sleep, e.g., gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Low levels of magnesium are a risk factor for depression, which is the main reason why people experience insomnia. Sufficient magnesium intake will reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, making it easy to fall asleep.
Therefore, magnesium can be a natural remedy for sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia. People with sleeping problems should consume magnesium either through diet or supplements for improved duration and quality of sleep. However, taking magnesium supplements 1 or 2 hours before bedtime is recommended for best results.
Magnesium performs vital roles in the human body. The benefits of adequate magnesium intake cannot be overlooked. It benefits blood sugar level regulation, heart health, depression, stress, and much more. Magnesium deficiency is linked to many serious health complications. Therefore, remember to provide your body with enough magnesium through diet or supplementation to stay healthy and free from chronic diseases.
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