Sure – Magnesium promotes a healthy immune system, regulates heartbeat, supports bone mineralization, can help people have a calm and positive mood, and so much more. In fact, due to the versatile nature of this mineral, it’s hard to focus on one specific benefit that Magnesium is known for. Instead, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with all Magnesium has to offer.
Although people may have heard of Magnesium, many Americans are quite deficient in this particular mineral. There are reasons why this is the case – not enough attention in media outlets, modern farming techniques and depleted soil, and the fact that it is difficult to measure Magnesium in blood all play a part in our lack of Magnesium.
However, Magnesium is a crucial mineral for sustained health and wellness – and it should not be left out of the spotlight any longer!
The Importance of Magnesium
Let’s face the truth: When you miss out on key vitamins and minerals your body simply does not feel right. Magnesium is no exception – and studies have continued to be in favor of Magnesium – and all the benefits it has to offer!
Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic and biologic reactions throughout the body.
Here are just a few:
- Energy metabolism
- Immune function
- Bone mineralization
- Heartbeat regulation
By neglecting the recommended amount of Magnesium over a long period of time, one might experience health issues. Symptoms of a Magnesium deficiency include a loss of appetite, fatigue, overall muscle weakness, and nausea, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health.
Magnesium is also involved with blood pressure – a driving force behind general cardiovascular health issues. In fact, the same source mentioned how some people involved in studies were less at risk of heart issues than those who failed to consume enough Magnesium in their diets.
The importance of Magnesium in daily activities cannot be overstated – especially when it comes to exercise performance. Exercise has a direct impact on heart rate and muscles – both of which are known to be involved with Magnesium. Simply put, Magnesium is an essential mineral that is critical for overall health in the body.
Another primary benefit of Magnesium is the effect it has on energy metabolism and normal muscle function. One recent study, titled “Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance?” leaned in favor of this mineral, as the study attributed positive effects on workouts to Magnesium consumption.
A specific finding in this study concluded that Magnesium may improve muscle strength because of its association with changes to intercellular water (ICW) levels. The deviation of said ICW levels may be associated with Magnesium levels and lead to a change in muscle strength.
For people who prefer aerobic exercises, individuals with higher intakes of Magnesium – compared to those who experience suboptimal consumption of this particular mineral – have been shown to require less oxygen and feature better indices of cardiovascular fitness.
This study highlighted the extensive research regarding the role of Magnesium in muscle activity. In the elderly, muscle performance is positively associated with Magnesium serum levels – a welcoming sign for those who seek to stay active as they age. In fact, failure to receive enough Magnesium could negatively impact your body’s response to joint motion and joint balance, known as Neuromuscular Function. This, in turn, could allude to a possible association between those who are deficient in Magnesium and muscle cramps.
The importance of Magnesium goes beyond muscles – and straight to your sleeping habits! A 2012 study proclaimed, “Nearly 50% of older adults have insomnia, with difficulty in getting to sleep, early awakening, or feeling unrefreshed on waking. With aging, several changes occur that can place one at risk for insomnia, including age-related changes in various circadian rhythms, environmental and lifestyle changes, and decreased nutrients intake, absorption, retention, and utilization.”
This idea mentions that nearly half of the elderly experience some type of difficulty while sleeping. Fortunately, Magnesium could serve as a potential solution, as this study concluded that the intake of Magnesium appeared to approve subjective measure of insomnia. Such measures include sleep efficiency, sleep time, and sleep onset latency.
Although all of those sleep measures are important, sleep latency is a key aspect in a solid night of rest because it measures the amount of time needed to actually fall asleep once you settle into bed.
Insomnia isn’t an automatic consequence of advanced age, but based off clinical studies, Magnesium could provide assistance for those who may not look forward to their nightly bout with insomnia.
Do You Need More Magnesium?
Despite its popularity, Magnesium is one of the most overlooked minerals out there. People have turned a blind eye toward Magnesium. A staggering 50% of Americans are not getting enough of this mineral on a daily basis, and some age groups consume “substantially less than the Estimated Average Requirement.” Although there are plenty of food sources associated with Magnesium – avocados, nuts, and green leafy vegetables, to name a few – people are actually not consuming enough of this valuable minerals, as we will examine below.
And this has become a growing concern throughout the United States, as a Magnesium deficiency could lead to health issues. Even a mild, subclinical Magnesium deficiency is considered a public health crisis because Magnesium deficiency can be “a principal driver of cardiovascular disease,” according to Open Heart, a peer-reviewed medical journal.
One of the main reasons people do not consume enough Magnesium is because it isn’t in vogue. The mineral is simply not getting enough attention across media outlets, especially compared to Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Calcium. Magnesium needs more advocates, that is for certain!
Next, the difficulty to properly measure Magnesium content in the blood is problematic as well. One study suggested alternative methods to measure Magnesium and alluded to patients with dietary risk factors – especially those who drink high volumes of coffee, soda, and other beverages, as the main points of study.
Magnesium is difficult to measure because of its unique method of absorption and how your body handles it. (We will look in-depth at Magnesium absorption below.)
Gender also plays a role in this issue, as the estrogen found in women heightens the body’s magnesium intake. Plus, young women are known to boast greater retention of this mineral than young men.
Another troubling statistic about Magnesium consumption comes at the hands of modern farming techniques. Study shows that vegetables have experienced an estimated 80-90% decrease of Magnesium content in the last 100 years, mainly due to the mineral being leached out of the soil.
It is also important to note that while Calcium and Magnesium are vital in their own rights, the two mineral juggernauts don’t exactly play nice with one another.
One study suggests the supplementation of Calcium could lead to Magnesium deficiency. This is caused by the “competitive inhibition for absorption” – meaning Calcium would interrupt the absorption process of Magnesium. And since Magnesium balances decrease when Calcium intake exceeds 10 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (approximately 800 mg for a person of average weight), it is crucial to consider the amount of Calcium you consume in discussions that concern Magnesium. This idea could be considered another logical reason as to why Magnesium is overlooked. The bottom line is – you need to keep your Magnesium intake up as your Calcium intake increases.
The Different Types Of Magnesium
One thing many people are not aware of is that there are different forms of Magnesium — and each form has unique characteristics. While they all may share the same general benefits, the structure of each type of Magnesium affects its rate of absorption, and thus its overall efficacy. Plus, some Magnesium forms are better than others at doing specific things.
Magnesium Oxide is the form most supplement consumers are familiar with as it is what is found in standard multivitamins. Magnesium Oxide is a potent form of Magnesium and is often used to raise pH levels in compounds that lack acid. However, Magnesium Oxide is not readily absorbed into the bloodstream according to Albion Minerals – a recognized leader in the science of mineral nutrition. Albion’s analysis of Magnesium Oxide concluded that “driving up the pH in the vicinity of the absorption site could be contributing to magnesium oxide’s poor bioavailability.”
The U.S. Government’s Medline Plus website has acknowledged heartburn and acid digestion as two medical issues that some people attempt to remedy with Magnesium Oxide. In addition to using it as an antacid, Magnesium Oxide may also be used as a laxative for short term bowel emptying purposes.
This form of Magnesium is comprised of citric acid, a common ingredient in the food industry that is used to preserve food and enhance flavors. It is among the most popular forms of Magnesium due to its accessible nature and relatively inexpensive price tag.
One notable benefit of Magnesium Citrate is its more bioavailable than other forms such as Magnesium Oxide and amino acid-chelate. One study concluded that “a daily supplementation with Mg citrate shows superior bioavailability after 60 days of treatment when compared with other treatments studied.”
Another notable form of this mineral is Magnesium Chloride. Similar to citrate, this variation of Magnesium is relatively cheap. However, due to a lack of clinical testing, it remains unclear as to just how bioavailable this particular Magnesium form is.
This compound is made up of one Magnesium ion and two chloride ions. Magnesium Chloride is often featured in skin creams and lotions that claim to relax muscles, but the scientific evidence for this claim is limited as well.
Magnesium Sulfate, or Epson Salt, may look similar to common table salt due to its white color and course texture. It is used as a remedy for constipation but features an unpleasant taste that may cause you to seek an alternative solution.
Like Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate is used to smooth aches and pains in muscles, but there isn’t enough evidence to make the claim that this particular form of Magnesium does such a thing. A major roadblock is the fact that there isn’t enough suitable evidence that proves Magnesium Sulfate is well-absorbed by skin.
Sulfate is among the least expensive types of Magnesium, as a quick Google search gives you quick access to a multitude of cheap options.
Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate Buffered
The final type of Magnesium to discuss is Bisglycinate Chelate Buffered. This highly efficient and absorbable form of Magnesium yields 18% elemental Magnesium – a stark contrast when compared to the other types we’ve discussed.
According to Albion Minerals, Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate Buffered delivers 18 mg of elemental Mg per 100 grams of the product. The same source states the glycine found in this type of Magnesium acts as a “powerful buffer that slows the rate of increase of small intestinal luminal pH.” Unlike Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Bisglycinate Chelate Buffered reduces the pH at the surface of the intestine.
In turn, this offers more advantages than ordinary Magnesium. The buffering effect of glycine helps make this particular form of Magnesium more bioavailable and efficient. In short, this special kind of Magnesium is gentler on the stomach and less likely to lead to digestive issues.
The Bottom Line
The significance of Magnesium for general health as well as specific biological functions and areas of concern should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, many factors contribute to the nationwide deficiency. Whether it be the media, food choices, or other issues, we should take it upon ourselves to educate and inform ourselves and other people about Magnesium. After all, it is considered one of the most important minerals and is vital for your health every day!