Magnesium is an essential nutrient that plays many important roles in our health. It is involved in over 3,700 enzymatic reactions in the body. (1) Unfortunately, magnesium is also a mineral that many people are deficient in. In this article, we are going to discuss the important health benefits of magnesium.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral that the body needs to stay healthy and function properly. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, supporting healthy blood sugar levels, regulating blood pressure, and making protein, bone, and DNA. (2)
Magnesium is found in many foods, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, dairy, and leafy green vegetables. Most people today, however, do not get enough magnesium in their diet. This is largely because the standard diet for many people today is lacking in foods like leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Furthermore, as a result of modern industrial agriculture, magnesium and other important minerals have been stripped from the soil. This has led to low levels of magnesium in many foods, even those that used to be good sources of this important mineral. (3)
Because magnesium is such an important mineral, and because it is lacking in much of the food today, it is recommended to supplement with a high-quality magnesium chloride supplement to make up for any deficiencies and to ensure adequate magnesium levels in the body. Many people find that this is the one nutrient that really makes the difference once they start supplementing with a good ionic magnesium tonic.
How Much Magnesium Do I Need?
According to the Harvard School of Public Health:
"The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults 19-51+ years is 400-420 mg daily for men and 310-320 mg for women. Pregnancy requires about 350-360 mg daily, and lactation, 310-320 mg." (4)
What Are the Health Benefits of Magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential nutrient involved in many body processes and has a wide range of health benefits for the body. Some of the top magnesium health benefits include:
1. Magnesium is Involved in Many Biochemical Reactions
From moment to moment your body is involved in thousands of different biochemical processes. Magnesium is necessary for an astounding amount of these processes—over 3,700! From protein synthesis, to the production of DNA, to bone health, to muscle and nerve function and so much more, magnesium is essential for the optimal health and function of your body.
2. Magnesium May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Magnesium plays an important role in maintaining blood pressure and many people supplement with magnesium for high blood pressure. (5) High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, so by lowering blood pressure, you can reduce your risk of heart disease significantly.
Magnesium supplements come in many forms, and each type of magnesium supplement offers unique benefits. Because of this, people often wonder what type of magnesium is best for high blood pressure. While all forms of magnesium will be good for high blood pressure because of magnesium's role in regulating blood pressure, people tend to either use magnesium citrate for high blood pressure or magnesium taurate for high blood pressure.
Magnesium citrate is a magnesium salt preparation that increases fluid in the small intestine and often has a laxative effect. Magnesium taurate is a type of magnesium that contains the amino acid taurine and is often used for energy production, muscle function and nervous system health. So, what is the best magnesium for high blood pressure?
While both magnesium citrate and magnesium taurate will have benefits on blood pressure, researchers have found that magnesium taurate, in particular, has the most benefits. Studies have shown that magnesium taurate helps to "lower elevated blood pressure, slow down the progress of cholesterol-induced atherogenesis, prevent heart arrhythmias as well as stabilize platelets." (6)
The recommended magnesium taurate dosage for high blood pressure, according to one research study, is about 1000 mg to 2000 mg per day. (7) Keep in mind this is specifically for high blood pressure. For general magnesium supplementation to balance magnesium levels in the body, magnesium chloride is the recommended form.
3. Magnesium May Benefit Heart Health
Because of magnesium's benefits on blood pressure, it is known to play a beneficial role in heart health. Lowering blood pressure is not the only risk factor for heart disease that magnesium reduces, however. Studies have found that magnesium improves multiple risk factors for heart disease. Magnesium has been found to lower triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol, improve HDL (good) cholesterol, and lower systolic blood pressure levels. (8) Furthermore, magnesium may play a helpful role in lowering blood sugar, which can also affect cardiovascular health and is a huge risk factor for diabetes. (9)
4. Magnesium Supports Muscle and Nerve Function
One of the important functions of magnesium is aiding in muscle contraction and relaxation and regulating neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters send messages throughout your brain and nervous system, helping your body function efficiently. Without sufficient magnesium, your body's muscles and nerves cannot function as well, which can lead to a variety of related health issues. For this reason (among many others) it is essential to make sure you are getting enough magnesium in your diet.
5. Magnesium May Support Mental Health
Another one of the great magnesium benefits is supporting mood and mental health. Research on magnesium suggests that it can play a beneficial role in a variety of mood disorders—including both anxiety and depression. One study involving over 3,000 participants found that increased magnesium levels were linked to a reduced risk of anxiety and depression. (10)
Other studies have found that magnesium supplementation helped to reduce anxiety symptoms and that magnesium deficiency increased symptoms of anxiety and stress. (11)
In addition to these great benefits, magnesium is also known to support a good night's rest, which can also have a positive impact on mood and mental health.
6. Magnesium May Support Bone Health
Another one of magnesium's many roles in the body is maintaining bone health and preventing bone loss. The majority of your body's magnesium is actually located inside your bones. Not only has magnesium supplementation been associated with improved bone health, but magnesium deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis, a type of bone disease that makes your bones weak and fragile. (12)
7. Magnesium May Help Lower Inflammation
Magnesium also plays a role in moderating inflammation levels in the body. Research shows that low magnesium levels are associated with higher levels of inflammation in the body, while magnesium supplementation has been found to reduce several inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6. (13)
Additionally, magnesium deficiency has been found to increase oxidative stress, which further contributes to inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is considered to be the root cause of many major diseases. By keeping your magnesium at healthy levels, you may be able to lower inflammation in the body and reduce your risk of developing inflammation-related illnesses.
8. Magnesium May Reduce PMS Symptoms
There are also some magnesium benefits for women's health, particularly in reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS is one of the most common conditions that women experience and often causes uncomfortable symptoms such as irritability, abdominal cramps, fatigue and headaches. Research on magnesium's benefits for women's health has revealed that this important nutrient may help alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of PMS. This is largely due to the fact that magnesium levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle, so supplementing with magnesium may help to keep magnesium levels regular and may therefore prevent PMS symptoms associated with fluctuating magnesium levels. (14)
What Is the Best Type of Magnesium Supplement?
There are many health benefits of magnesium supplements, but there are also many different types of magnesium supplements. So, how do you know which magnesium supplement is the best for you?
Knowing the best magnesium supplement for you will depend on your reason for taking magnesium. Some magnesium supplements are better for muscle and nerve health; some are best for supporting bowel health and regularity, some for energy production, and others for heart health and high blood pressure.
The best type of magnesium supplement to take for general purposes of ensuring adequate magnesium levels in magnesium chloride. This is the type of magnesium that is administered in people with low magnesium levels. Because magnesium plays a role in so many body functions, a magnesium chloride supplement will offer all the benefits magnesium has to offer—including the above-mentioned benefits of supporting energy, bone, nerve, muscle, heart, and digestive health.
Magnesium is an important nutrient for health. It is also a nutrient that many people are deficient in. While you don't want to be lacking in any essential mineral, this is especially true for magnesium, as it is involved in over 3,700 different enzymatic reactions in the body.
While you can get magnesium from certain foods, many foods do not have as much magnesium as they used to due to the degradation of soil health from modern agricultural practices. For this reason, it is often recommended to supplement with a good magnesium supplement to ensure healthy magnesium levels.