What is magnesium and why do we need it?
First, magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies and every cell contains it and needs it to function. Since magnesium plays several important roles in the health of our body and brain, let’s investigate what science tells us.
1. Reduce Risk of Diabetes – research has shown low magnesium intake has a higher risk of developing diabetes. With low levels of magnesium in the blood, the bodies insulin’s ability is unable to keep blood sugar levels under control. People with high levels of magnesium have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, supplements have been shown to lower blood sugar in some people.
2. Bone Health – greater bone density, improved bone crystal formation, and a lower risk of osteoporosis in women after menopause benefits with high magnesium levels. About 60% of the magnesium in our body is found in bone, with the rest in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood. Low levels of magnesium and high intake of calcium increases the risk of arterial calcification, cardiovascular disease, and kidney stones.
3. Biochemical Reactions – magnesium is involved in more than 600 reactions in our body, including energy creation, protein formation, nervous system regulation, muscle movements and gene maintenance. Research has shown that about 50% of people get less than the recommended daily allowance.
4. Healthy Heart – NIH studies have found “significantly” higher magnesium levels in the blood with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease. This results from a low blood supply to the heart. Higher magnesium levels may also decrease the risk of stroke. Adequate magnesium intake has also been associated with a lower risk of atherosclerosis and hypertension.
5. Prevention of Migraines – some researchers believe migraine sufferers are more likely to be magnesium deficient. Magnesium-rich foods may help reduce migraine symptoms. More research is needed in this area.
6. Increased Exercise Performance – conflicting evidence about magnesium supplements and exercise. We know magnesium plays a role in athletic performance, and you need an additional 10-20% more then at rest, but how much hasn’t been determined.
7. Fighting Depression – magnesium plays a critical role in brain function and mood. Low levels are linked to an increased risk of depression. Some believe low magnesium content of todays foods may also cause cases of depression and mental illness.
8. Need help with PMS Symptoms? – magnesium has been shown to improve mood, reduce water retention and other symptoms in women with PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). Ensuring an adequate intake of magnesium, especially combined with vitamin B6, may also help with bloating, insomnia, leg swelling, weight gain, and breast tenderness Magnesium is safe and is essential for good health. The recommended daily intake is 400–420 mg per day for men and 310–320 mg per day for women.
What are some food sources for magnesium?
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Black Beans
- Dark Chocolate
- Swiss Chard
To maintain good health, get enough magnesium. Eat plenty of magnesium-rich foods or take a supplement if you’re unable to get enough from your diet alone. Without enough of this mineral, your body can’t function optimally.