Magnesium is one of the most important essential minerals in the human body. It is required for hundreds of biochemical reactions, and it facilitates the functioning of all of the body’s systems. Every cell contains magnesium and uses it to carry out tasks. Yet, magnesium deficiency is more common than you’d like to believe. So much so that it’s possible that up to 75 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium in their diet.
Magnesium’s health benefits are boundless, and so are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Keep reading to find out what you can gain from taking magnesium, what you can lose by not getting enough of it, and how to supplement with magnesium correctly so you get the most out of it.
Health Benefits of Magnesium
1. Fights Depression.
Experts believe magnesium deficiency may cause depression and mental illness.
2. Reduces the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Magnesium helps stabilize glucose levels in the blood, reducing the risk of diabetes and reducing symptoms in those who already have it.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure.
Studies show that when people with high blood pressure take magnesium supplements, they may benefit from a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
4. Improves PMS Symptoms.
Experts agree that magnesium supplements can relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including mood changes, migraines, and fluid retention, among others.
5. Prevents Migraines.
At least one study has shown magnesium is an effective treatment for migraines. When taken daily, it can reduce the duration and intensity of attacks in people who experience them regularly.
6. Improves Exercise Performance.
Magnesium is necessary for strong bones and muscles. In fact, 60 percent of the magnesium in our bodies is stored in our bones. During exercise, our bodies use 10-20 percent more magnesium than during rest. One study showed that athletes who take magnesium experience improved performance.
7. Prevents Osteoporosis.
Post-menopausal women are at risk of bone deterioration. Weak, brittle bones lead to easily broken ones. Not only is magnesium used to build bones, but it also regulates other minerals important to bone health, including calcium, potassium, and sodium. A nutrition study suggested that magnesium supplementation in post-menopausal women significantly reduced the occurrence of fractures, and increased bone density.
8. Improves Heart Health.
It turns out magnesium doesn’t only benefit the heart by reducing blood pressure. We also see many negative effects on the heart with magnesium deficiency, possibly causing artery spasms. It also may increase the risk of atherosclerosis, but supplementation with magnesium can help protect against arrhythmia.
9. Treats Pre-Eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia is a dangerous condition in pregnancy, marked by high blood pressure and a high concentration of protein in the urine. Magnesium sometimes is given intravenously to women with pre-eclampsia. It works by lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of seizure.
Magnesium Deficiency: Causes and Symptoms
Because magnesium is essential for so many functions in the body, a deficiency can result in a whole host of symptoms, ranging from mildly uncomfortable to downright dangerous. Let’s explore why someone might experience magnesium deficiency in the first place.
Magnesium deficiency causes may include:
- A Diet Low in Magnesium. In the United States, a diet low in magnesium is the norm, not the exception. Since magnesium is found in legumes, whole grains, and fresh produce, diets high in processed foods and soft drinks instead may result in magnesium deficiency.
- Soft Water. If you live in an area with soft water, or your home has a water softener, you are drinking water with a very low concentration of ions, particularly calcium and magnesium. Thus, the benefit of getting magnesium from water is lost on those residents.
- Calcium Supplements. The body needs magnesium to absorb calcium. People who take calcium supplements may be using up their magnesium supply to maintain proper calcium absorption. Therefore, women who take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis also should be taking magnesium supplements.
- Prescription Medications. Certain prescription medications — including diuretics, antibiotics, painkillers, and cortisone — can deplete the body’s magnesium supply.
- Alcohol Addiction. Excessive alcohol consumption causes magnesium deficiency because the addiction results in complications such as liver disease. Vomiting caused by some cases of addiction also depletes the body’s magnesium supply.
- Illness, Aging, and Stress. Stressful conditions can affect magnesium levels.
How can you know if you have a magnesium deficiency? It may be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so general. Magnesium deficiency affects all systems in the body. Some of the most common magnesium-deficiency symptoms are:
- Muscle cramps
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mental disorders: delirium, depression, apathy
- Fatigue, muscle weakness
- High blood pressure
- Joint pain
- Acid reflux
- Hormonal imbalance
Best Way To Supplement With Magnesium
Do you think you can benefit from taking a magnesium supplement? It’s very much possible the answer is yes. Regular use of our favorite Magnesium Supplement, EASE by Activation Products, not only restores healthy magnesium levels but also improves sleep, eases aches and pains, promotes calcium absorption.
Adults need 320 mg of magnesium a day, pregnant women about 360 mg. That includes the magnesium you get from your diet and supplements.
If you eat a lot of green leafy vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, it’s possible you’re getting enough magnesium from your diet. If you take magnesium supplements and experience nausea, cramps, and diarrhea, the dose may be too high.
To keep magnesium levels high, avoid consuming these things in excess:
- Non-organic foods that contain pesticides
- Refined sugar
- Common table salt (opt for Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt)
- Refined and processed food products
- Cooked foods (eat a variety of raw foods for optimal magnesium intake)
- Coffee and black tea
Instead, you should eat foods that promote magnesium absorption, such as:
- Protein (except for unfermented soy products)
- Fructose and complex carbohydrates
- Medium chain triglycerides, such as coconut oil and palm oil
- Fermentable and soluble fibers (fruits and vegetables)
If you take medication, talk to your doctor before taking a magnesium supplement; it may cause interactions.