Magnesium Benefits For Heart Health, Energy, and Sleep

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in numerous aspects of our health. When levels are low, it has been associated with various conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

Getting enough of this mineral, preferably through eating foods that are high in magnesium, offers substantial health benefits including alleviating migraine headaches, to fighting constipation, and eliminating insomnia.

A surprising number of people are deficient in Magnesium. Studies show that up to 50-70 percent of the population is magnesium deficient. Without magnesium, other vitamins minerals – such as vitamin D – cannot be metabolized.

What is magnesium good for? It’s one of the most important nutrients for maintaining good health. Here’s a little more information about its role and benefits.

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element found in the earth’s crust and one of the most important nutrients found throughout the body. The majority of magnesium is stored in the bones, muscles, and soft tissue. A trace amount is stored in the blood.

In the body, this mineral is extremely important because it acts as a cofactor to hundreds of enzyme reactions, including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation, and many more.

Think of magnesium as gasoline needed for a vehicle. Without gas, the car will stall. In the body, without magnesium as a cofactor, many intracellular processes will fail to thrive.

Magnesium provides the body with a smooth, flowing nature and therefore is useful for many diseases where there are stagnancies or erratic changes. According to Chinese Medicine, stagnation, accompanied by erratic changes in the body, emotions, or mind, represent liver/gallbladder imbalance.

Liver and gallbladder is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi in the muscles, internal organs, and the mind. With irregular flow of liver and gallbladder energy, there’s Qi stagnation causing pain, poor digestion, and unclear thinking with an inability to plan and make decisions.

Magnesium supports:

  • DNA synthesis
  • Nerve transmission
  • Reproduction
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Insulin metabolism
  • Muscle contractions
  • Protein synthesis

Symptoms Of Low Magnesium

Because magnesium helps with so many biological processes, having a deficiency can lead to many non-specific symptoms that can overlap with other imbalances. Low magnesium can affect every system including – neuromuscular, cardiovascular, renal, and gastrointestinal system. Here are a few signs of magnesium deficiency:

Low magnesium and neck pain

The symptoms listed above are so common, the average person wouldn’t think to take magnesium for support. If you do take magnesium, but you do not feel much improvement, you may have a low quality supplement. If you do have medical grade and don’t feel a difference, you need additional nutrient support that has the right balance of macro and micro nutrients.

Causes of Hypomagnesemia

  • Low Intake: Studies show that people in North American and Europe consume less than the daily recommendations. This is caused by poor food processing and poor soil quality.
  • Poor Gastrointestinal Health: Several GI conditions can cause poor absorption of magnesium including celiac disease, chronic diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and alcoholism.
  • Loss of Kidney Function: Conditions such as diabetes, can cause the kidneys to hyperfiltrate leading to a loss of magnesium through urine.
  • Medication: There are over 50 medications that cause magnesium deficiency. The most common are loop diuretics, thiazides and PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors) for acid reflux. These increase urine output and impair absorption.

Improves Frequency of Headaches

Studies show that people suffering from headaches have low magnesium serum levels. Magnesium can help with headaches, including migraines, by relaxing blood vessels and alleviating constriction that occurs with during tension headaches. Magnesium is also a natural muscle relaxant.

In addition, magnesium has a role in the activity of neurotransmitters. Low levels can cause neurons to be overly-excited and promote the secretion of serotonin, which is involved in pain signaling.

Supports Healthy Glucose Levels

magnesium and diabetes

Low magnesium levels have been associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes and can also be a complication of diabetes itself. Magnesium plays a crucial role in insulin metabolism and glucose control. It helps insulin function properly, allowing it to regulate blood sugar levels more effectively. When magnesium levels are low, insulin sensitivity can be impaired, leading to insulin resistance.

Additionally, magnesium helps regulate the release and uptake of glucose in the body. Insufficient magnesium levels can disrupt this process and contribute to elevated blood sugar levels, making it more challenging to manage diabetes. Low magnesium levels can also increase inflammation and oxidative stress, which are linked to the development and progression of diabetes.

Improves Sleep Quality

Magnesium play a crucial role in promoting relaxation and calming the nervous system, making it easier to fall asleep. It helps regulate neurotransmitters involved in sleep, such as GABA, which induce relaxation and sleepiness. Additionally, magnesium is involved in regulating the body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, which governs sleep-wake cycles. Adequate magnesium levels support the synchronization of these cycles, promoting healthy and restful sleep.

In addition, magnesium aids in muscle relaxation, alleviating tension that can interfere with falling asleep or staying asleep. Stress reduction is another important aspect, as magnesium helps regulate cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress. By reducing stress, magnesium may indirectly contribute to improved sleep.

Supports Heart Health and High Blood Pressure

magnesium and heart health

Magnesium offers several benefits for heart health. Firstly, it helps regulate the heart’s electrical impulses, ensuring a normal heart rhythm and proper contraction and relaxation of the heart muscles. Secondly, magnesium aids in controlling blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels, promoting improved blood flow, and reducing resistance, thus helping to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

Additionally, magnesium plays a role in preventing arrhythmias by stabilizing the heart’s electrical activity and minimizing the risk of irregular heartbeats. Furthermore, magnesium possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation in the blood vessels, protecting against cardiovascular damage.

While magnesium provide these benefits, it is important to remember that it should not be used as a standalone treatment for heart conditions. Always consult with your primary medical doctor or cardiologist for heart health.

Healing Properties of Magnesium

The healing properties and uses of magnesium or magnesium-rich foods include the following:

Magnesium calms nerve function; harmonizes various mental and emotional imbalances, including irritability, depression, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, and PMS. It also helps relax muscles, including the heart muscle; soothe erratic changes such as migraines, cramps, and spasms anywhere in the body. Magnesium also has an effect on the digestive system creating better flow in the intestines to help relieve constipation.

One of the most important properties of magnesium is the ability to strengthen structural aspects of the body to counteract conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and osteoporosis. It does this by pushing calcium from soft tissue into the bones. Most people get enough calcium, but without magnesium, calcium cannot enter the bones. Calcium is important for bone health, especially as we age.

Foods High in Magnesium

The following is a list of foods high in magnesium and is noted in Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach by Jeffrey Bland. Foods that contain the most magnesium are listed first, followed by foods that contain progressively less magnesium. The number to the left of each food describes how many milligrams of magnesium are in 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of that food.

Foods high in magnesium

The daily recommended dosage of magnesium is 400 to 800 milligrams. As you can see in the list above, common foods most of us eat are low in magnesium. Because of this, supplementation is beneficial and convenient. Medical grade supplements are always best. If one capsule is labeled as having 100 milligrams, you can trust what it says. Store bought supplements are usually not as effective due to lower quality.

Some people can develop diarrhea if taking over 600 mg a day. Magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium malate are more easily absorbed than other types.

It’s worth noting that while magnesium offers various benefits, individual needs may vary. It’s important to maintain a balanced diet that includes magnesium-rich foods and consult with a healthcare professional before considering magnesium supplementation.

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