Magnesium is not probably the first thing that jumps into your mind when discussing healthy essential minerals. Yet several research studies showed that magnesium is necessary to the body's most vital functions, including sleep regulation, healthy bones, robust immune system, and steady blood pressure.

For the last decade, magnesium supplements have gained acceptance as a treatment of various disorders, which led to a drastic increase in their consumption. Physicians prescribe magnesium supplements to positively impact the treatment of common conditions such as diabetes, insomnia, and heart disorders.

Although this mineral is naturally present in a variety of foods, most people are deficient in magnesium, and unaware of their deficiency as well.

Persistent fatigue, poor appetite, muscle cramps, and sleep disturbances, if you recognize these symptoms, then you have a problem, the kind of problem that we will be answering in this article.

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Biological Function

Magnesium is a key factor in many biological functions, such as the production of energy and proteins, maintenance of healthy bones and muscles, and the protection of nerves. It is an essential element that takes part in more than 300 chemical reactions inside the body.

Many epidemiological results demonstrated that people who eat balanced diets with a plentiful intake of magnesium were less likely to develop chronic diseases such as high blood pressure. However, clinical trial results are mixed. Magnesium-rich foods tend to cover green leafy vegetables and fruits, which are also rich in other essential nutrients that collectively work together to prevent diseases.

Most Crucial Functions In Which Magnesium (Mg) Is Involved:

  • regulation of heartbeat and blood pressure: Mg is an essential element needed for dilating blood vessels, by modulating the tone of the muscular coat surrounding the walls of arteries, it is also necessary for the maintaining of regular heart rhythm. Aside from that, Mg helps move blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactate, which can build up during exercise and cause fatigue.
  • nerves function: neurons need this mineral to conduct electrical signals. It has a fundamental role for sending and receiving of neuronal messages. Moreover, Mg has a protective function, as it prevents excessive neuronal irritability and excitation.
  • bones health: nearly half of the body's minerals are stored in the bone, Mg influences not only the activity of bone cells but also the hormones and vitamins responsible for bone density build-up.
  • immune system health: Mg is an important co-factor for most of the immune system reactions. It is fundamental for the proper functioning of the immunity cells.

What Are The Dietary Sources Of Magnesium?

Magnesium is readily available in many natural foods. However, most people are short on Mg intake, mostly because of unbalanced nutrition that is filled with processed food.

Epidemiological data states that most adults' daily intake of this mineral covers only 60% of the daily recommendation.

The Following Foods Are The Richest Sources Of This Mineral:
  • green leafy vegetables such as spinach are abundant in chlorophyll molecules, which contain high amounts of essential mineral ions.
  • seeds and nuts: almonds, cashew, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds are all healthy snacks packed with good fats and essential minerals.
  • whole grain: unlike white flour, whole wheat flour is full of minerals and nutrients.
  • dark chocolate: not only a good source of antioxidants but dark chocolate is also filled with minerals.

Because all minerals readily dissolve in water, refined food loses all its Mg contents when cooked with water or oil. Thus, processed food is a poor choice to consider as a source of minerals.

What Are The Benefits Of Taking Magnesium Supplements?

Even with a balanced diet, people are in shortage of this element. If you are struggling to meet Mg's needs, supplements will provide you with adequate amounts of this mineral.

  • Muscle relaxation: muscle cramps are a well-known symptom of hypomagnesemia; the mineral helps in muscle relaxation by blocking calcium channels responsible for muscle contractions.
  • Lower blood pressure: reviews of several studies revealed that taking Mg supplements reduces blood pressure. The improvement in blood pressure was even more significant than that given with low salt dieting. A 350 mg daily intake for three months resulted in a considerable drop of systolic pressure by 2 mm hg.
  • Correct sleep disturbances: the protective and tranquilizing effect on neurons account for this mineral's ability to treat insomnia. It also regulates hormones and neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of sleep.
  • Better control of blood sugar levels: magnesium is implicated in the metabolism of insulin and blood sugar, diabetic patients tend to be deficient in this mineral, partly because insulin prevents Mg losses through urine. Reversely the mineral enhances insulin resistance, thus positively influences the course of type two diabetes.
  • Improves mood and anxiety: several studies showed a link between depression and hypomagnesemia. Even more, research reviews revealed that magnesium supplementation had a similar effect to antidepressants in improving symptoms of anxiety.

Other health benefits of these supplements are regulation of calcium levels, the building of strong bones, the enhancement of immune system activity, relief of migraine headaches, and the lowering of the risk of heart diseases.

Who Should Take Magnesium Supplements?

These supplements are necessary for people whose digestive tract cannot absorb adequate amounts of this mineral or people who suffer permanent losses of nutrients due to chronic conditions, Such as:

  • poorly controlled type two diabetes, chronic heart or kidney conditions: patients with these disorders have to take special medications, the diuretics which interfere with mineral excretion in urine.
  • digestive tract disorders: crohn's disease and celiac disease are associated with decreased ability to absorb most nutrients. Heartburn medications also interfere with the absorption of most minerals.

How Much Magnesium Do You Need?

Daily intake should not exceed 450 mg per day. The recommended daily allowance is 400 mg for men and 310 mg for women. For pregnant women, a higher intake is required (360 mg per day). Symptoms of toxicity are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension, and flushing of the face.

Bottom line

Despite its broad bioavailability in natural foods, most people are deficient in magnesium. The world health organization recommends an intake of five servings of vegetables and fruits per day to cover the essential needs of minerals. However, if you find yourself struggling to meet these recommendations, you should consider taking magnesium supplements. Discuss it with your doctor before purchasing any supplements.