Magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, and yet studies show that 75% of the population does not get enough of it! Why might that be a problem? Join us and we’ll go over some of the problems associated with a deficiency.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral found in foods like seeds, nuts, fish, and certain vegetables. It is important in making proteins, muscle function, nerve function, blood sugar control, and blood pressure control. It is also required for making energy, building DNA, activating vitamin D, muscle contraction, nerve impulses, normal heart rhythm, and much more.
It is recommended for men to get 400-420 mg/day and for women to get 310-320 mg/day.
Magnesium Reduces Risk of Disease
Magnesium plays a big role in lowering the risk of many diseases, including:
It does this by lowering blood pressure & increasing the flexibility of arteries.
It can help lower blood sugar levels.
Magnesium concentration affects serotonin receptors, nitric oxide production and release, NMDA receptors and other factors affecting migraines. Studies show that up to 50% of patients during an acute migraine attack have low levels of magnesium. Infusion of magnesium does result in quick and sustained relief in these patients! Regular supplementation may reduce the frequency of migraines.
Magnesium is an effective treatment for Major Depression. Magnesium deficiency causes NMDA-coupled calcium channels to be biased towards opening, which causes neuronal injury and neurological dysfunction believed to result in Major Depression. Magnesium is found to be low in those with treatment-resistant depression (2).
Magnesium plays a role in regulating neurotransmitters, which is how it is thought to play a role in mental health. Many studies have shown that magnesium reduces anxiety.
Magnesium improves sleep by increasing levels of GABA, which encourages relaxation and sleep. Magnesium deficiency is linked with higher stress and anxiety.
Magnesium supplementation helps to reduce risk of developing osteoporosis. Part of the reason for this is due to the fact that magnesium is required for the activation of Vitamin D (1).
More on Magnesium & Vitamin D
A lesser known fact about magnesium is that it is necessary for the activation of Vitamin D. Many of us are familiar with the fact that Vitamin D is involved in many aspects of our health, including absorbing calcium, building bone, improving immune function, reducing inflammation, reducing cancer cell growth and more.
It is common to hear doctors and dietitians recommend a vitamin D supplement. However, how often are they recommending magnesium supplementation? Not nearly enough.
If our vitamin D levels are low, taking a vitamin D supplement on its own may not raise levels sufficiently if you are magnesium deficient. When taking a Vitamin D supplement, it is wise also to take a magnesium supplement.
Of course, before taking a new supplement, we recommend testing, not guessing. Next time you’re at your annual check-up, ask your doctor to order your vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) and magnesium levels in your labs. This will help guide you in taking the correct amount of each.
Which Type of Magnesium Supplement Should I Take?
Magnesium glycinate is the most common form that we recommend. This form is used to improve sleep and treat inflammatory conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. It is easily absorbed and may reduce stress, depression, migraines, and insomnia. It also occurs naturally in protein-rich foods such as fish, meat, dairy, and legumes (beans/lentils/peanuts). Plus, it is the form of magnesium least likely to have a laxative effect.
We recommend increasing your intake through food and a supplement if you are low or suspect low magnesium levels. If you have questions about supplementing with magnesium, please contact us! We are happy to help!