An Overview of Magnesium
In the rush of everyday life, it is often hard to figure out what you need to properly fuel your body. There is no simple miracle pill or fad diet that can answer all your nutritional needs or solve underlying health problems. However, there are small things you can do to help support your body. One activity is to check your magnesium levels.
It’s astounding how present magnesium is around and within us. It is the eighth most common element in the Earth’s crust and the fourth most common element in the human body (1).
Yet, almost 70 percent of American adults do not consume enough magnesium – that is, the recommended daily intake of 400mg - in their diet (2). This is quite alarming considering how integral magnesium is to the body’s functioning. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 different enzymatic reactions, ranging from energy production to blood pressure regulation (1). For such a universal element, it does not seem to command the attention it warrants.
Several of magnesium’s supportive functions have been acknowledged throughout history. Even a few hundred years ago, physicians recommended their patients to take magnesia alba (magnesium carbonate) to deal with health complaints such as an upset stomach (3). The mineral has been studied more and is much better understood now, but there is still much to discover.
Unfortunately, magnesium cannot be synthesized within the human body; rather, it needs to be taken in through the diet, whether from drinking water or food.
The problem is, the average modern American diet primarily consists of processed foods, ones that contain only a limited amount of magnesium (1). Magnesium has medium-level bioavailability, so it is only partially absorbed in the gut and then excreted from the body as waste (4).
Sources of magnesium include dark chocolate, almonds, tofu, and vegetables such as spinach and broccoli (2). You can also enhance your diet with magnesium supplements, such as the ones that Health By Principle offers.
In our supplement, we have combined the following active ingredients:
- Mg malate helps with fatigue, due to the role that malic acid plays in energy production.
- Mg glycinate is highly soluble and readily absorbable, making it a relatively easy source of magnesium. Glycinate also help with the production of energy.
- Mg taurate is easily absorbed and helps to prevent irregular heartbeat.
- Mg citrate absorbs well in the body and improves digestion.
All four types have been shown to be effective sources of magnesium. According to a 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who regularly take magnesium supplements usually ingest more than the recommended daily amount.
What Can Magnesium Do For You?
Low levels of magnesium in the body have been linked to a variety of conditions such as osteoporosis and high blood pressure (2). It can affect your quality of sleep, prompting you to wake up frequently throughout the night (5). This is because of the multitude of processes in which magnesium is involved. We’ve already discussed how magnesium can impact your body during workouts. One of the most important functions of magnesium is that it helps metabolize energy during physical activity.
Studies also suggest that magnesium affects bone health, heart health, mental health, metabolism, and more. One mechanism currently receiving much attention is the connection between magnesium and anxiety.
Research has shown that magnesium stimulates and increases the availability of GABA, a neurotransmitter that is heavily involved in the body’s ability to deal with stress and relax (6). As more research results become available, so will our understanding grow regarding the importance of magnesium for the human body.
Yet, one thing is certain: we can all benefit from ensuring that our magnesium levels are sufficient.
1. Jahnen-Dechent, W., & Ketteler, M. (2012). Magnesium basics. Clinical kidney journal, 5(Suppl 1), i3–i14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455825/.
2. Raman, Ryan. "What Does Magnesium Do for Your Body?" Healthline Media, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-does-magnesium-do#role-in-heart-health
3. Cox, Lauren. "What Are Magnesium Supplements?" LiveScience, 2014. https://www.livescience.com/42972-magnesium-supplements-facts.html
4. Ware, Megan. "Why do we need magnesium?" Medical News Today, 2017. Healthline Media. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286839.php
5. "Magnesium - How it affects your sleep." The Sleep Doctor, 2017. https://thesleepdoctor.com/2017/11/20/magnesium-effects-sleep/
6. Boyle, N. B., Lawton, C., & Dye, L. (2017). The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 9(5), 429. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452159/
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