Magnesium plays a very important role in the smooth functioning of body processes. It has been observed that a deficiency in magnesium is considered to be one of the leading nutrient deficiencies among adults. In such cases, it is often a good idea to take magnesium supplements along with eating foods that are rich in magnesium.
A deficiency of magnesium is called as hypomagnesemia, wherein:
- The prefix “hypo-” means “under”
- “magnes” refers to “magnesium”
- The suffix “-emia” would mean “in the blood”
The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are often noticeable. Some of the symptoms would include poor digestion, having trouble sleeping, muscle pain, and spasms. Although magnesium is thought to be one of the underutilized nutrients, it is one of the most important minerals for the body.
Why is there a need for magnesium supplements?
Due to lifestyle changes, there are a lot of processed and packaged food items that do not contain the required nutrients the body needs leading to nutrient deficiencies. Until the symptoms arise, the deficiency cannot be easily identified. Below are some of the reasons why one would need to take magnesium supplements:
- Changes in the mood leading to mood swings or anxiety attacks
- Heart-related problems
- Deficiency of certain nutrients such as calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin B1
- Osteoporosis or the onset of this issue
- Lack of sleep or insomnia
- Formation of tooth cavities
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Liver and kidney damage
- PMS symptoms that tend to worsen
- Muscle weakness leading to cramps and pain
The body tends to lose stored magnesium during the production of hormones, muscle movements, and heartbeat. Even though there is a small requirement of magnesium in our body, we must get its daily dose through food items or magnesium supplements.
Benefits of Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium plays a vital role in a lot of daily body functions. Whether it is the nerves, muscles, or cells, magnesium works hard by regulating their functions in the body. Below are some of the health benefits of magnesium:
1. Improves sleep quality
An individual with a mind that is constantly racing with varied thoughts finds it difficult to calm down, thereby causing an interruption in the quality of sleep. Gradually, such interruption leads to insomnia. In such instances, magnesium supplements can help relax the mind, thus making it easier for the person to fall asleep. The circadian rhythm tends to shift wherein the sleep-wake times are disrupted.
Such instances often occur as we age since our nutrient consumption decreases along with a lower absorption of essential nutrients. All of these factors put an individual at an increased risk of insomnia. In certain studies, it was concluded that individuals who were having trouble in sleeping started to feel a change in their sleep patterns when they started taking magnesium supplements.
Those who consume magnesium supplements noticed an improved quality of sleep as they would sleep easier without any trouble. Moreover, the cortisol levels were lowered, which was mostly associated with stress. Magnesium supplements also lead to a higher amount of melatonin in the body, which is mostly associated with the circadian rhythm.
Supplementation of magnesium is often considered to be low-risk. It is also effective for reducing the symptoms related to insomnia, improves the efficiency of sleep, and aids in early morning waking up without any signs of weakness or fatigue.
2. Increases energy levels
Magnesium in the body is also used for the creation of energy by activating adenosine triphosphate, which is also known as ATP. If there is a deficiency of magnesium in the body, then the energy would not be efficiently produced. The body would ideally require energy on a daily basis, and a deficiency of magnesium leads to fatigue and lethargy even without carrying out heavy tasks.
An inadequate amount of magnesium in the body is also linked to the need for more oxygen during exercise or when carrying out any strenuous activities. In one of the research studies, it was found that women who exercised but were low on magnesium needed more oxygen to even complete certain low-level exercises. Their heart rate was also higher compared to when they had higher amounts of magnesium in the body.
3. Prevents migraine headaches
Magnesium is considered to be involved in neurotransmitter functions along with blood circulation. Thus, it would help control migraine headaches. It does so by releasing pain-reducing hormones and reducing vasoconstriction. In various studies, it has been observed that when individuals who are suffering from migraine headaches take magnesium supplements, their symptoms tend to gradually improve.
4. Helps relax and reduce anxiety levels
Magnesium is quite important for GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) function. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter known for producing the happy hormones in our body. It is very much similar to the neurotransmitter called serotonin. There are certain hormones that are regulated by magnesium and those hormones play a crucial role in calming down the brain along with relaxation.
Due to the low levels of magnesium in the body, it leads to an increase in the production of the hormone called cortisol in the brain. This test has been conducted on mice. Low levels of magnesium also increase an individual's risk of developing depression.
Certain experts have confirmed that since the food these days lack the essential nutrients we need, it could be the reason for the rising number of people suffering from depression and other types of mental illness. Taking magnesium supplements have shown a reduction of depression symptoms with promising results.
5. Provides relief from constipation
Adequate levels of magnesium in the body promote relaxation of the muscles present in the digestive tract. Since magnesium is known to neutralize the acid in the stomach, it allows the smooth movement of stool through the intestines.
By taking magnesium supplements, individuals can empty their bowels in a very natural way without having the trouble of constipation. However, low levels of magnesium in certain individuals were linked to an increased risk of constipation. In one study, when certain elderly patients were given magnesium supplements, it was observed that the supplements were effective in reducing the instances of constipation instead of bulk-forming laxatives.
Individuals who are on magnesium supplements should remember that if they experience a laxative effect, then it would mean that the dosage of the supplement is too high for their body type. Thus, taking such supplements should be first discussed with the doctor. When one takes the proper dose of magnesium supplements, it helps ease bowel movements without facing any kind of discomfort or diarrhea.
6. Proper regulation of sodium, calcium, and potassium
Magnesium is often seen to regulate the diverse biochemical reactions present in the body. It plays an important role in actively transporting potassium and calcium ions across the cell membranes, thereby making it one of the vital minerals for nerve impulse conductions, contraction of muscles, and the normalcy in heart rhythms. When magnesium works along with calcium, it contributes to the structural development of the bone and becomes a requirement for the synthesis of RNA, glutathione, and DNA.
7. Anti-inflammatory benefits
Low levels of magnesium in the body are often linked to chronic cases of inflammation. Inflammation, as we all know, is one of the major culprits behind common medical conditions such as premature aging, autoimmune diseases, chronic medical conditions, and obesity. In one of the studies, it was found out that children who had low levels of magnesium in the body were among those having the highest levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is an inflammatory marker.
The children also tend to have other problems such as high levels of insulin, blood sugar, and triglycerides. Taking magnesium supplements can help reduce CRP levels and any other markers concerned with inflammation, especially in older individuals, obese, and those who are in the prediabetes stage.
8. Prevents weakening of the bones
As previously mentioned, magnesium is essential for the proper development of bones. It is known to influence the activities of osteoclasts and osteoblasts. These activities help in building the bone density in the body. The intake of magnesium supplements is considered to play a vital role in balancing the vitamin D concentration in the blood.
According to studies, it has been confirmed that individuals who were taking higher levels of magnesium led to an increase in the bone density for both men and women. Women often experience osteoporosis as they age. However, such condition can be reversed by taking a proper dosage of magnesium supplements on a regular basis.
9. Provides relief from muscle pain and spasms
Magnesium is known to play an important role when it comes to muscle contractions and neuromuscular signals. When the body faces a deficiency of magnesium, then it leads to trouble at the muscular level such as aches and spasms. When there are adequate levels of magnesium in the body, it leads to muscle relaxation and contraction. It also allows an individual to freely move.
Magnesium is also known to balance the levels of calcium in the body. Such balance is important since having high calcium levels in the body due to supplementation can create other health problems, which involve muscle control and heart function.
In adults, when it comes to taking calcium and magnesium supplements, they often go for higher doses of calcium supplements, but the same is not followed with magnesium supplements, which result in potential problems such as muscle cramps, weakness, and pain.
10. Healthy heart
Apart from bones, magnesium is also considered a vital mineral for heart health. The heart has the highest magnesium in the body, particularly in the left ventricle. The role of magnesium in maintaining the health of the heart is by working along with calcium to support proper blood pressure levels, leading to the prevention of hypertension. When there is an imbalance of magnesium to other minerals such as calcium, then there can be an occurrence of a heart attack. This condition mostly happens due to the severity of muscle spasms.
11. Boosts exercise performance
For those who exercise on a regular basis, the intake of magnesium supplements is seen to boost the performance of exercise. When exercising, the body actually needs 10-20 percent more magnesium. Magnesium in the body is known to move the blood sugar into the muscles and also dispose lactic acid, which tends to build up while one is exercising and causes pain.
Studies have shown that magnesium supplements can help boost the performance of athletes. It is also helpful for the elderly and individuals suffering from chronic diseases.
12. Helps regulate blood pressure levels
Individuals who are taking magnesium supplements tend to have lower blood pressure levels. This is mostly in the case of those who are already troubled with high blood pressure. However, according to studies, although magnesium supplements are good for those with high blood pressure, it does not have any effect on those who have normal blood pressure levels.