fbpx

5 Science-Backed Reasons You Need More Magnesium in Your Diet

Magnesium

Magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in your body, so getting enough of it should be a priority, but are you? Research shows up to 40% of people don’t consume enough magnesium-rich foods, and not doing so has health consequences. But have you ever wondered why magnesium is such an important dietary player? Read on, and you might be surprised at how vital this mineral is for health and wellness.

Magnesium Keeps Your Heart and Blood Vessels Healthy

Magnesium plays a crucial role in your body as an anti-stress agent. It helps maintain a healthy heart and functions as a vasodilator, thereby reducing “stress” within your blood vessels. One way it does this is by improving endothelial function, the way blood vessels respond to physical stress.

Ideally, you want your vessels to expand and let blood and oxygen flow through, not tighten up, or, even worse, form a blood clot. Magnesium helps blood vessels do that. Poor endothelial function is a predictor of future heart attacks and strokes, so getting enough dietary magnesium may protect against these health issues.

If you have a family history of hypertension, you may want to increase your magnesium intake to prevent clogged arteries and a stroke. A magnesium-rich diet also protects again blood pressure spikes, which can lead to high blood pressure and strokes. Some studies even show that magnesium supplements modestly lowers blood pressure in people with hypertension. In addition, magnesium helps reduce inflammation, another factor that damages the inner walls of arteries and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Magnesium Supports Bone Health

Did you know that over half the magnesium in your body is stored in your bones? Your skeletal bones take a lot of hits every day. Constant use and impacts lead to micro-fractures in the bone that may never fully heal. Plus, osteoporosis is a threat to most women after menopause, and can lead to bone fractures that lead to loss of independence and frailty.

Magnesium is an essential building block for stronger bones. This mighty mineral activates enzymes that help repair and build bone tissue. Magnesium is also involved in the activity of two important proteins, osteocalcin, and osteopontin, which help form new bone cells. Magnesium deficiency can lead to thinning of the bones or osteoporosis later in life.

Further highlighting the importance of magnesium for healthy bones, a study linked a diet higher in magnesium in post-menopausal females with a lower risk of osteoporosis. Plus, chronic inflammation can interfere with bone remodeling. Magnesium also positively affects bone health by reducing inflammation, another contributor to bone loss.

Magnesium for Muscle Health

Magnesium plays a key role in muscle contraction, down to the level of the muscle cell. Muscle cells need magnesium to produce ATP, the energy that allows muscles to contract. Plus, magnesium helps muscles relax, thereby preserving flexibility. There’s also evidence that getting enough magnesium lowers the risk of muscle cramps. For healthy muscle function, eat more magnesium-rich foods!

Magnesium for Metabolic Health

One of the benefits of magnesium is it improves insulin sensitivity, how your cells respond to insulin. Better insulin sensitivity is associated with improved metabolic health and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and weight gain. If you’re diabetic, you’re also at greater risk of magnesium deficiency. Diabetics tend to lose more magnesium in their urine when their glucose levels rise, meaning their tissues may be depleted of magnesium even when their blood tissue levels are low.

Magnesium for a Healthy Nervous System

Magnesium is a crucial component in maintaining the proper function of your nerves and nervous system. According to some studies, it helps relieve muscle tension that contributes to anxiety and insomnia. Many people get more calcium than they do magnesium, and the ratio of magnesium to calcium is vital for many biochemical processes in the body, including those related to relaxation and sleep. Based on current data, the optimal calcium to magnesium ratio is around 2 to 1; you should get twice as much calcium as magnesium. Calcium and magnesium are a dynamic duo, and you don’t want to be deficient in either.

Best Sources of Magnesium

Magnesium is a powerhouse nutrient that you would be hard-pressed to leave out of your daily diet, but how can you get more of it? Some stand-out sources of magnesium include whole grains, pistachios, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. However, you’ll get a healthy stash of magnesium by eating more green, leafy vegetables, including spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, snow peas, Bok choy, and Swiss Chard. Dark chocolate is another luscious source of magnesium. About 70 percent cacao dark chocolate contains 50 mg of magnesium per ounce.

How Much Magnesium Do You Need?

Sources often cite 400 milligrams of magnesium daily as the recommended amount. However, a better way to adjust the dose is by body weight. According to a study in the journal Nutrients, 4 to 6 milligrams of magnesium per kilogram of body weight is a healthy dose. You don’t necessarily have to meet your body’s magnesium needs through supplements. If you eat a whole food diet rich in nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains, you may get enough without taking a supplement. Before taking a magnesium supplement, talk to your physician.

References:

  • “Key minerals to help control blood pressure – Harvard Health.” 03 May. 2019, health.harvard.edu/heart-health/key-minerals-to-help-control-blood-pressure.
  • “Magnesium – Health Professional Fact Sheet.” ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.
  • “Studies Show Magnesium Reduces Chronic Inflammation, the ….” 29 Oct. 2013, prnewswire.com/news-releases/studies-show-magnesium-reduces-chronic-inflammation-the-cause-of-most-chronic-disease-229683651.html.
  • “Magnesium and Bone Health – Ask The Scientists.” askthescientists.com/magnesium-bone-health/.
  • Aydin H, Deyneli O, Yavuz D. Short-term oral magnesium supplementation suppresses bone turnover in postmenopausal osteoporotic women. Biological trace element research. 133(2):136-43. 2010.
  • “Central nervous system magnesium deficiency.” pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2001142/.
  • Cunha AR, D’El-Rei J, Medeiros F, et al. Oral magnesium supplementation improves endothelial function and attenuates subclinical atherosclerosis in thiazide-treated hypertensive women. J Hypertens. 2017 Jan;35(1):89-97.
  • “Magnesium: Health benefits, deficiency, sources, and risks.” 06 Jan. 2020, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286839.
  • “Magnesium metabolism in health and disease.” pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3282851/.

Related Articles By Cathe:

Science-Backed Benefits of Magnesium for Heart Health and Why You Need It

5 Health Benefits of Magnesium Backed by Science

Can a Magnesium Supplement Help You Sleep Better?

6 Reasons You May Be Magnesium Deficient

Why You Might Be Deficient in Magnesium but Not Know It

How Magnesium Can Impact Your Exercise Performance

4 Supplements That Reduce Insulin Resistance

The Two Most Important Minerals for Heart Health That You’re Not Getting Enough Of

Vitamins, Minerals, & Athletic Performance: Which Micronutrients Are of Greatest Concern?

6 Factors that Increase Your Body’s Need for Magnesium

Why You Need More Dietary Magnesium If You Exercise

4 Reasons to Add More Magnesium to Your Diet

Twelve Important Reasons Why You Need More Magnesium in Your Diet

10 Foods to Boost Your Magnesium Levels

Why Most People Need More Magnesium in Their Diet and How to Get It

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Hi, I'm Cathe

I want to help you get in the best shape of your life and stay healthy with my workout videos, DVDs and Free Weekly Newsletter. Here are several ways you can watch and work out to my exercise videos and purchase my fitness products:

Get Your Free Weekly Cathe Friedrich Newsletter

Get free weekly tips on Fitness, Health, Weight Loss and Nutrition delivered directly to your email inbox. Plus get Special Cathe Product Offers and learn about What’s New at Cathe Dot Com.

Enter your email address below to start receiving my free weekly updates. Don’t worry…I guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared and you can easily unsubscribe whenever you like. Our Privacy Policy