As research continues to dive into the importance of mineral balance in the body, magnesium seems to always be among the most critical elements for good health. Research tells us that magnesium participates in more than 300 processes in the body. Unfortunately, magnesium is also one of the most common deficiencies, with an estimated 60-80% of the population being low in it. Without proper magnesium stores and a good daily dose, many actions in the body become impaired.
There are so many reasons why magnesium continues to be one of the most widespread deficiencies. Some of them include:
- Modernized farming practices causing soil depletion
- Chemical fertilizers and sprays that lower soil quality
- Poor diet choices
- The intake of magnesium depleting foods and drinks
For example, dry roasted nuts removes most of the magnesium. Processing grains by milling lowers magnesium and other vitamins and minerals by around 50-80%! Consuming high amounts of sugar, carbonated beverages, processed foods, foods high in oxalates and phytates, coffee, alcohol, and even distilled water can deplete magnesium. Magnesium is so critical to balanced health, below are a few of the most important functions and benefits of this powerful mineral.
1. Regulating Muscle and Nerve Function
Magnesium is absolutely critical for the proper functioning of muscle and nerves. Even small deficiencies can compromise how muscles and nerves we function. Cramps, spasms, bundled nerves, tension, and poor muscle control can often be the result of low magnesium levels in the body.
2. Decreasing the chances of dangerous blood clots
Magnesium has been shown in a few studies to lower the incidence of dangerous blood clots forming. While it won’t halt the normal clotting processes, getting enough magnesium is critical to protecting against life threatening events. Other measures are necessary for those that have this tendency, but taking care of deficiencies is always critical in improving overall health. (1)
3. Low magnesium levels have been linked to clogged arteries, heart disease, and strokes
Some researchers have stated that low magnesium levels can have genetic roots that are passed from generation to generation. While this may sound bleak, dietary changes and long-term supplementation can help restore levels. The latest research tells us that magnesium status, c-reactive protein, fibrinogen, CoQ10, taurine, and other measurements are superior to outdated methods for understanding cardiovascular health. Many researchers such as Andrea Rosanoff, PhD, Midred Seelig MD, Carolyn Dean MD & ND, and others have spent years studying the links of magnesium to heart health, yet it is still tragically ignored with standard treatment. (2)
4. Magnesium is critical for healthy blood pressure regulation
Although taking a magnesium supplement may not be enough to immediately lower blood pressure, it is a critical piece of the puzzle. A number of studies have linked low magnesium levels to high blood pressure and malfunctioning of the vascular system. A review of over 30 studies showed that a modest dose of magnesium helped to significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (3,4)
5. Blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity
It has been seen that people with type 2 diabetes often suffer from severe magnesium deficiencies. Magnesium is known to help regulate insulin signaling in the body. When levels are too low, the body struggles to use insulin properly and absorb sugars from the bloodstream. (5-7)
6. Sleep quality
Magnesium is known as a calming mineral that can help to increase GABA levels, regulate melatonin production, and relax the muscles. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps lower tension and anxiety. While insomnia and chronic sleep problems may require a more complex solution, magnesium may help to fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. Magnesium glycinate is particularly effective for sleep issues. (8,9)
7. Stress & Anxiety
As mental and emotional health continues to command more attention, research has shown that magnesium may play a role in stress and anxiety management. While it’s certainly not a total solution, magnesium may help in modifying stress hormones, increasing calming sensations in the body, and relaxing the mind. (10,11)
8. Headaches & Migraines
The frustration and pain of constant headaches is something that really can take its toll on our spirit. Magnesium won’t cure headaches, but it may be able to reduce the severity and frequency of them. Research has shown that it helps relax blood vessels, which can reduce tension and cluster headaches. In one study, regular intake of magnesium helped to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by over 40 percent! Not all forms of magnesium are created equal or will produce similar results. (12)
Low magnesium levels have been linked to higher rates of depression according to multiple studies. Replenishing magnesium levels may help increase ATP production, which is sometimes low in cases of depression. Magnesium may help combat several symptoms of depression and have even seen comparable effects to medication. Several other natural compounds that have shown promise for depression include saffron, dill, and turmeric. (13-15)
10. PMS symptoms
Women suffering the greatest amount of pain during their menstrual cycles often have low levels of magnesium. There are several other deficiencies as well, but magnesium may help to ease PMS symptoms like mood swings, water retention, headaches, cramps, breast tenderness, insomnia, and more. In addition, it can help smooth out tension in the body.
This is only a small amount of what magnesium truly does in the body. It can take months to replenish depleted nutrients, so it’s important to be diligent and patient. Supplementing with a highly absorbable form of magnesium along with taking baths using flakes is the best way to quickly raise levels. Magnesium bath flakes can be purchased online and have been shown to raise levels faster than supplements. Magnesium is a mineral where you can really feel a difference on a mental, emotional, and physical level once it builds up in the body.