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Magnesium

Magnesium is needed by every organ in the body, including the muscles, kidneys and heart. It also forms bones and teeth, regulates calcium levels, activates enzymes and contributes to energy production. Magnesium is essential for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.[1]

Are you getting enough magnesium? If not, what might happen? And what’s the best way to make sure you get the magnesium you need?

Where do we get magnesium?

Magnesium is in foods like green vegetables, whole grains and nuts. However, the typical American diet means that a lot of people don’t get the amount of magnesium that they should. And while a true deficiency in magnesium is rare, a lot of us simply don’t get enough.[2]

What are the benefits of magnesium?

Since magnesium plays such a large role in the organs and in the body, it provides a lot of benefits.

Bone Health

Magnesium is vital for the metabolism of calcium and vitamin D.[3] It regulates the hormones that make sure that calcium goes into bones instead of settling in arteries and joints. And magnesium intake’s been associated with higher bone mineral density.[4]

Researchers have also found that supplementing with magnesium can prevent fractures and result in a significant bone density increase.[5]

Heart Health

Magnesium promotes normal blood pressure and helps to regulate heart rhythm.[6]

Low levels of magnesium are linked with greater risks of:

  • coronary atherosclerosis[7]
  • ischemic heart disease[8]
  • death from heart disease[9]

Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to:

  • lower blood pressure[10]
  • reduce the rate of Platelet-Dependant Thrombosis (PDT) in patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) by 35%[11]
  • reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death in women[12]

 

Diabetes

Magnesium regulates blood sugar levels, and blood levels of magnesium are inversely related to the presence of metabolic syndrome.[13]

In fact, magnesium deficiencies might contribute to insulin resistance,[14] and are linked with insulin resistance in diabetics[15] and obese children.[16] Researchers also found that a deficiency in magnesium is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance.[17]

However, supplementing with magnesium has been shown improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetics,[18] as well as improving insulin sensitivity in insulin resistant people.[19]

Migraines

Researchers have found that supplementing with magnesium can reduce the frequency of migraines by 41%.[20] Magnesium may shorten a migraine attack, and decrease the amount of medication needed as well. Researchers also recommend using magnesium supplements to prevent migraines.[21]

Fibromyalgia

Magnesium deficiency has been associated with muscle pain.[22] Supplementing with calcium and magnesium can reduce the number of tender points.[23]

Asthma

Low levels of magnesium might be related to the progression and incidence of asthma. Researchers found that adults supplementing with magnesium had a significant improvement in the ability to move air in and out of the lungs. They concluded that magnesium led to an improved control of asthma and quality of life for asthmatics.[24]

Constipation

Researchers found that low levels of magnesium are linked with constipation.[25]

PMS

Magnesium regulates calcium, and through that role it also influences contractions and relaxations of uterine muscles and can ease cramps.[26]Magnesium deficiencies are one of the factors leading to PMS[27] and Premenstrual tension.[28]

Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to relieve:

  • sweet cravings[29]
  • fluid retention[30]
  • premenstrual mood changes[31]
  • overall PMS symptoms[32]

 

Supplement Recommendation

As mentioned above, Magnesium is a critical supporting ingredient for Calcium, and the two should be taken together. Ideally, magnesium will be part of a quality Calcium supplement, with a ratio of 2:1 in favor of Calcium.

 


  1. ^ Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Magnesiumods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer. Accessed March 17, 2016.
  2. ^ Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. DRI Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1997. PMID: 23115811 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23115811.
  3. ^ Fuchs, Nan Kathryn. “Magnesium: A Key to Calcium Absorption.” The Magnesium Website. November (2002).
  4. ^ Ryder, Kathryn M., et al. “Magnesium intake from food and supplements is associated with bone mineral density in healthy older white subjects.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 53.11 (2005): 1875-1880.
  5. ^ Sojka, J. E. “Magnesium supplementation and osteoporosis.” Nutrition reviews 53.3 (1995): 71-74.
  6. ^ Joffres, M. R., D. M. Reed, and K. Yano. “Relationship of magnesium intake and other dietary factors to blood pressure: the Honolulu heart study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 45.2 (1987): 469-475.
  7. ^ Liao, Fangzi, Aaron R. Folsom, and Frederick L. Brancati. “Is low magnesium concentration a risk factor for coronary heart disease? The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.” American heart journal 136.3 (1998): 480-490.
  8. ^ Itokawa, Y. “[Magnesium intake and cardiovascular disease].” Clinical calcium 15.2 (2005): 154-159.
  9. ^ Ford, Earl S. “Serum magnesium and ischaemic heart disease: findings from a national sample of US adults.” International journal of epidemiology 28.4 (1999): 645-651.
  10. ^ Dyckner, Thomas, and P. O. Wester. “Effect of magnesium on blood pressure.” Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 286.6381 (1983): 1847-1849.
  11. ^ Shechter, Michael, et al. “Oral magnesium supplementation inhibits platelet-dependent thrombosis in patients with coronary artery disease.” The American journal of cardiology 84.2 (1999): 152-156.
  12. ^ Chiuve, Stephanie E., et al. “Plasma and dietary magnesium and risk of sudden cardiac death in women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 93.2 (2011): 253-260.
  13. ^ Evangelopoulos, Angelos A., et al. “An inverse relationship between cumulating components of the metabolic syndrome and serum magnesium levels.” Nutrition Research 28.10 (2008): 659-663.
  14. ^ de Lourdes Lima, Maria, et al. “Serum and intracellular magnesium deficiency in patients with metabolic syndrome—evidences for its relation to insulin resistance.” Diabetes research and clinical practice 83.2 (2009): 257-262.
  15. ^ Lima, Maria de Lourdes, et al. “Magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.” Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia & Metabologia 49.6 (2005): 959-963.
  16. ^ Huerta, Milagros G., et al. “Magnesium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance in obese children.” Diabetes care 28.5 (2005): 1175-1181.
  17. ^ Guerrero‐Romero, F., et al. “Hypomagnesaemia and risk for metabolic glucose disorders: a 10‐year follow‐up study.” European journal of clinical investigation 38.6 (2008): 389-396.
  18. ^ Oral Magnesium Supplementation Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Metabolic Control in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects
  19. ^ Guerrero-Romero, F., et al. “Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic subjects with insulin resistance. A double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.” Diabetes & metabolism 30.3 (2004): 253-258.
  20. ^ Peikert, A., C. Wilimzig, and R. Köhne-Volland. “Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind randomized study.” Cephalalgia 16.4 (1996): 257-263.
  21. ^ Sun-Edelstein, Christina, and Alexander Mauskop. “Foods and supplements in the management of migraine headaches.” The Clinical journal of pain 25.5 (2009): 446-452.
  22. ^ Eisinger, J., et al. “Selenium and magnesium status in fibromyalgia.” Magnesium research: official organ of the International Society for the Development of Research on Magnesium 7.3-4 (1994): 285-288.
  23. ^ Ng, Shu Yan. “Hair calcium and magnesium levels in patients with fibromyalgia: a case center study.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics 22.9 (1999): 586-593.
  24. ^ Kazaks, Alexandra G., et al. “Effect of oral magnesium supplementation on measures of airway resistance and subjective assessment of asthma control and quality of life in men and women with mild to moderate asthma: a randomized placebo controlled trial.” Journal of Asthma 47.1 (2010): 83-92.
  25. ^ Murakami, K., et al. “Association between dietary fiber, water and magnesium intake and functional constipation among young Japanese women.” European journal of clinical nutrition 61.5 (2007): 616-622.
  26. ^ Mayo, Joseph L. “A healthy menstrual cycle.” Clin Nutr Insights 5.9 (1997): 1-8.
  27. ^ Ventskivs’ ka, I. B., and AIa Senchuk. “Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis of premenstrual disorders.” Likars’ ka sprava/Ministerstvo okhorony zdorov’ia Ukraïny 8 (2005): 62.
  28. ^ Abraham, Guy E., and Michael M. Lubran. “Serum and red cell magnesium levels in patients with premenstrual tension.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 34.11 (1981): 2364-2366.
  29. ^ Abraham, G. E. “Nutritional factors in the etiology of the premenstrual tension syndromes.” The Journal of reproductive medicine 28.7 (1983): 446-464.
  30. ^ Walker, Ann F., et al. “Magnesium supplementation alleviates premenstrual symptoms of fluid retention.” Journal of Women’s Health 7.9 (1998): 1157-1165.
  31. ^ FACCHINETTI, FABIO, et al. “Oral magnesium successfully relieves premenstrual mood changes.” Obstetrics & Gynecology 78.2 (1991): 177.
  32. ^ Quaranta, S., et al. “Pilot Study of the Efficacy and Safety of a Modified-Release Magnesium 250mg Tablet (Sincromag®) for the Treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome.” Clinical drug investigation 27.1 (2007): 51-58.
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