The Importance of Magnesium – 8 Health Benefits
Magnesium is an essential mineral/electrolyte required for many processes in the body, such as supporting muscle and nerve function and energy production. It plays an important role as a cofactor to enzymes in hundreds of the body’s biochemical reactions.
Magnesium is found in a large variety of foods - sources include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, brown rice, spinach, kale, almonds, cashews, bananas, avocados, peanuts, beans and even dark chocolate.
There are many evidence based health benefits of magnesium, including the below:
1. Brain Function and Mood – Data has linked low levels of Magnesium with a greater risk of depression . One small 8 week study showed that a daily consumption of 500mg magnesium showed significant improvements to depressive symptoms in people that were deficient in the mineral . Another 6 week study of 126 people with mild to moderate symptoms of depression showed that consumption of 248mg per day decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression regardless of their baseline level of magnesium .
2. Sleep Support – Magnesium plays a key role in the regulation of sleep, it helps you relax, so is often used as a natural remedy for sleep problems such as insomnia. Its effects on calming the nervous system helps the body and brain to relax and prepare for sleep. It also helps to regulate melatonin levels, which is the hormone that controls our sleep-wake cycle. One study in older adults with insomnia found that daily 500mg supplementation with magnesium for 8 weeks seemed to improve the subjective measures of insomnia, including the severity index score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency, early morning awakening. It also improved objective measures such as concentration of serum renin, melatonin, and serum cortisol .
3. Bone Heath – Magnesium contributes towards maintaining bone health, and studies have shown indication that magnesium deficiency contributes towards the risk factor of osteoporosis (a condition that causes bones to become brittle and weak) . A review of 12 studies found that a positive association with higher magnesium intake and increased hip and femoral neck bone mineral density, sites that are susceptible to fracture .
4. Improve Symptoms of PMS – Premenstrual syndrome is a common condition affecting women of child-bearing age, often causing symptoms such as headaches, water retention, fatigue, cramps, anxiety and irritability. Studies suggest that magnesium may be effective in the treatment and prevention of PMS and its symptoms . One study found that 250mg daily supplementation of magnesium was successful in reducing all of the premenstrual syndrome symptoms over placebo .
5. Migraine Relief – Migraine sufferers experience attacks of moderate to severe headaches accompanied with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue and sensitivity to light and sound. Evidence suggests that Magnesium may be effective as a preventive treatment for migraine and research has shown that there is a link between Magnesium deficiency and migraine . One study showed that supplementation with magnesium provided relief from acute migraine attacks more quickly and effectively than treatment with a common medication . A review of 21 studies concluded there is evidence to support the treatment and prevention of migraine with magnesium .
6. Exercise Performance – Magnesium has an important role in energy metabolism, and in the maintenance of normal muscle function, suggesting the increased need for magnesium during physical activity. Animal studies have indicated that magnesium might improve exercise performance by enhancing glucose availability, and delaying/reducing lactate accumulation in the muscles .A small study of volleyball players taking 350mg magnesium per day showed a significant decrease in lactate production, and an increase in counter jump and arm swing movement . Another study of professional cyclists taking 400mg magnesium per day during a 3 week competition period seemed to show a reduction in certain markers of muscle damage, suggesting that magnesium supplementation may exert a protective effect on muscle damage .
7. Heart Health – Magnesium is important for keeping your heart healthy. Research has shown a link between low levels of magnesium and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases . They have shown that higher magnesium through supplementation can help to lower high blood pressure, which is one common risk factor for heart disease .
8. Anti-Inflammatory – It has been demonstrated with animal studies that low magnesium intake increases levels of inflammation . Research has also linked deficiency to increased oxidative stress . Inflammation and oxidative stress are key factors in ageing and the risk of chronic diseases. A review of 11 studies found that magnesium supplements decreased the plasma levels of the inflammation marker CRP (C - reactive protein) in people with chronic inflammation .
The daily recommended intake of Magnesium per day for UK adults is 375mg.
Here at Hellenia we have manufactured a vegan-friendly one-a-day magnesium formula to help increase your daily intake. Each capsule contains 100% NRV of magnesium, sourced naturally from pure sea water, with the addition of baobab - a prebiotic soluble fibre to promote gut health. Click here for more information on Marine Magnesium capsules or to order.
It is often recommended that people take Vitamin D alongside magnesium because it can positively influence magnesium absorption. Vitamin D improves your body’s calcium absorption, and your calcium levels have an influence on how you absorb magnesium. To shop, or for more details on Vitamin D3 click here.
As with any new supplement it is advised to consult with a doctor before adding it into your diet.
The quality of our sleep can affect our health and wellbeing - mentally, emotionally and physically. Good quality sleep and improved sleep patterns can help us to avoid fatigue, manage stress and boost our focus throughout the day.
We all need sleep for repair and recovery, to