Identifying The Benefits: What Is A Magnesium Supplement Good for?
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is involved in over 300 enzyme systems and basic processes. Most of the magnesium in your body is in your bones, teeth, and space between cells. This mineral is important for our overall health, and it exerts many benefits for the human body. Although you can get some magnesium…
Fact checked by Nattha Wannissorn
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is involved in over 300 enzyme systems and basic processes. Most of the magnesium in your body is in your bones, teeth, and space between cells.
This mineral is important for our overall health, and it exerts many benefits for the human body. Although you can get some magnesium from food, 75% of Americans do not meet the basic minimum or recommended daily intake requirements. As a result, magnesium deficiency can cause suboptimal performance and health concerns.
Therefore, using magnesium supplements may help with reaching the recommended daily intake, as well as reap the benefits, including :
- Promotes better sleep
- Boosts mood
- Supports and promotes better cognitive function
- Boosts exercise performance
- Promotes balanced inflammatory response
- Promotes a healthy stress response
- Supports metabolic health and promotes weight loss in combination with exercise and diet
- Supports heart health
- Promotes healthy blood sugar balance and insulin response
- Promotes healthy blood pressure levels
- Promotes better cognitive function
Health Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium deficiency is a common deficiency that contributes to various physical and mental health problems. Therefore, consuming magnesium supplements promotes optimal health and benefits our body in various ways. Let’s look at some of the benefits that magnesium may provide:
Promotes Better Sleep
Magnesium deficiency can contribute to sleep problems and suboptimal sleep. This lack of sleep may cause negative consequences on our body, such as the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancer, etc.
Magnesium promotes better sleep quality and quantity by participating in the sleep-wake cycle. It also has a calming effect on the nervous system. It acts like GABA – a neurotransmitter that calms down nerve activity making us feel relaxed.
Many clinical studies have shown that magnesium supplementation may promote healthy sleep onset in various circumstances.
In a double-randomized clinical study, 46 elderly individuals received 500 mg of magnesium for 8 weeks. There was a significant improvement in their sleep compared to the placebo group. The magnesium group fell asleep faster, stayed asleep longer, and had better sleep quality. They also produced more melatonin, a nighttime hormone involved in the sleep-wake cycle. Interestingly, sleep duration didn’t change between groups.
Looking to know how much magnesium for sleep to get a better slumber? We have the answers!
Supporting Mood and Mental Health
Magnesium plays a critical role in brain function, thus it can promote healthy mood and relaxation. Magnesium deficiency can affect our mental health by having an unwanted effect on brain chemistry, membrane fluidity, and inflammation.
Some of the contributors of depression and low mood are:
- Circadian rhythm (body clock) dysregulation
- Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (stress response) axis dysfunction or adrenal fatigue
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Mitochondrial dysfunction and low thyroid function
- Hormonal dysregulation
- Low levels of serotonin
While magnesium is not a cure for depression or anxiety, correcting a magnesium deficiency tends to be beneficial for these contributors because magnesium participates in so many biochemical reactions in the body. Here is how magnesium may support mental health and mood:
Promoting Healthy Sleep and Circadian Rhythm
Poor sleep and abnormal circadian rhythm are intertwined with depression. People with depression tend to either not be able to sleep, sleep too much, or can’t get restful sleep. Many studies have reported that insomnia increases depression risk. Depressed people also tend to have abnormal sleep cycles, such as changes in rapid eye movement sleep.
Improving sleep habits and quality can be tricky for people who struggle with mental health, but it can make a big difference. As mentioned in the previous section, magnesium may promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
Promoting a Balanced Stress Response and Improving Stress Resilience
Studies have shown a correlation between dysfunctional stress response axis and mental health issues. Abnormal patterns of stress hormones, such as from prolonged chronic stress or major stressful life events, correlates with depressive symptoms.
Magnesium is an adaptogenic mineral that promotes a balanced stress response. It reduces the sensitivity of stress hormone receptors and dampens the activity of the stress response axis.
An Australian clinical study enrolled 77 women and 32 men with stress-induced mental health issues. 22% of them had magnesium deficiency. Also, for 78% of them, low magnesium intake negatively correlated with poor mental health scores.
Supporting Healthy Neurotransmitter Production and Balance
Low serotonin may contribute to low mood, so serotonin is a target of many antidepressants. Magnesium participates as a coenzyme in the conversion of the amino acid, tryptophan, to serotonin.. So, a magnesium deficiency may lead to low serotonin levels
A systematic review of the effects of magnesium on stress and anxiety showed that the administration of 450 mg of elemental magnesium improved mood in elderly individuals with depressive symptoms.
Also, by reducing glutamate signaling in the brain, it helps promote healthy relaxation responses.
Supports and Promotes Better Cognitive Function
Magnesium is important for brain health, cognitive function, and neuroplasticity.
1000 individuals participated in a study aiming to find a correlation between serum magnesium and cognition. The study showed there was an association between magnesium and cognitive function. Individuals with lower serum magnesium had a longer mean reaction time. This means that low magnesium levels impair cognition.
In addition, learning and memory are influenced by neural plasticity. The potential of the nervous system to adapt itself, functionally and structurally, in response to experience and injury is referred to as neural plasticity. Thus, loss of synapses leads to impaired learning and memory. Magnesium in the brain is important in modulating and controlling the opening of glutamate receptors, which is crucial for synaptic plasticity.
In a rat study, the animals consumed 604 mg (50 mg elemental magnesium) in drinking water. Baseline magnesium was determined 12 and 24 days of treatment. During the treatment, rats were given learning tasks in water, mazes, memory, and recognition. There was a gradual increase in brain magnesium. On the 24th day, magnesium increased by 7%. Learning abilities, working memory, and short and long-term memory in rats improved with increase in brain magnesium. The data implies that increasing brain magnesium improves learning and memory by improving both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation.
Therefore, daily supplementation with magnesium may improve cognition, learning abilities, and memory.
Boosts Exercise Performance
Magnesium is important for many aspects of physical performance, including muscle function, oxygen absorption, energy generation, and electrolyte balance.
Exercise causes a redistribution of magnesium in the body to suit metabolic demands by increasing glucose availability. Marginal magnesium shortage has been shown to decrease exercise performance and amplify the negative effects of intense exercise.
In a randomized controlled trial, healthy elderly women took 300 mg of magnesium daily for 12 weeks. The magnesium group had improved chair stand time and 4m walking speed in the group where magnesium was administered. Magnesium supplementation, thus, boosts exercise performance.
Furthermore, volleyball players who were given 350 mg magnesium daily had significantly better jump performance compared to the control group.
Promotes a Balanced Inflammatory Response
Many people with chronic inflammation are deficient in magnesium, and correcting the magnesium deficiency tends to help with the inflammation.
Animal studies suggest that limiting magnesium intake leads to leukocyte and macrophage activation. These are cells that elicit inflammatory responses, such as releasing cytokines and inflammatory proteins.
This inflammatory response usually follows other conditions associated with low levels of magnesium. Therefore, individuals who had poor sleep quality were given 320 mg of magnesium citrate daily for 7 weeks. The magnesium group had less C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammation marker. This suggests that correcting a magnesium deficiency may help with chronic inflammation.
Furthermore, supplementation with 30ml of magnesium chloride reduced CRP levels in pre-diabetic people with low magnesium.
Magnesium has provided strong evidence that it promotes anti-inflammatory benefits, and thus consuming food rich in magnesium may reduce inflammation.
Promotes a Balanced Stress Response
The “fight-or-flight” response can be triggered by stress hormones and neurotransmitters. This response keeps you attentive and awake.
Stress hormones are released by the HPA axis. Dysregulation of the HPA axis can lead to overproduction of stress hormones and put the body in a restless state. This may result in anxiety and mood disorders. Magnesium is involved in this pathway. It suppresses the activation of the HPA axis, thus preventing overproduction of stress hormones.
Furthemore, magnesium interacts with these neurohormones and neurotransmitters by suppressing glutamate and other activating neurotransmitters. Simultaneously, it stimulates GABA receptors, which aid in relaxation and sleep. GABA is a neurotransmitter that reduces neuronal activity, helping you feel more relaxed and tranquil.
Magnesium is helpful for people who are stressed both mentally and physically. Students who were stressed and sleep-deprived were given 250 mg of magnesium daily for four weeks, and their magnesium levels increased while their cortisol levels decreased.
Promotes a Healthy Insulin Response
Insulin resistance is characterized as an impaired response to insulin stimulation. This means that tissues such as muscle and liver cannot properly absorb glucose from the bloodstream.
If not addressed, insulin resistance can lead to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, insulin resistance is often reversible with diet and lifestyle. Studies have shown links between higher magnesium consumption and better insulin sensitivity.
Magnesium plays a role in glucose metabolism. Low blood and intracellular magnesium levels have been linked to insulin resistance, reduced glucose tolerance, and decreased insulin production. Large epidemiologic studies also show that lower dietary magnesium and lower blood magnesium are linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes [R39].
Many clinical studies have shown that magnesium supplementation increased serum magnesium, improved insulin sensitivity, and improved metabolic control in type 2 diabetics.
Magnesium supplements may, thus, reduce insulin resistance and also help with type 2 diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels under control.
Supports Metabolic Health and Promotes Weight Loss in Combination with Exercise and Diet
Obesity may lead to metabolic syndrome (a cluster of risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular diseases and stroke). By maintaining a healthy weight we can decrease these risk factors, and in turn, decrease our chances of getting cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Low levels of magnesium have been observed in individuals who are overweight. Therefore, increased intake of magnesium and supplementation with magnesium has been suggested as a potential way to promote weight loss.
A meta-analysis that analyzed clinical trials of magnesium and metabolic health found that magnesium supplement reduced:
- body weight
- body mass index (BMI)
- waist circumference
- body fat percentage
- waist to hip ratio
Dosages of magnesium supplements ranged from 48-450 mg of magnesium, with duration from 6-24 weeks. There was a significant decrease in body weight and waist circumference, and BMI.
Magnesium also participates in glucose metabolism regulation, which may aid in weight loss.
However, in order to promote weight loss, magnesium supplements have to be accompanied by the right diet and exercise.
Promotes Healthy Blood Pressure
Magnesium and calcium work together to reduce the resistance of the blood vessels, thereby promoting healthy blood pressure levels, especially in people with low magnesium.
This suggests that the best magnesium supplement promotes healthy levels of blood pressure.
Supports Heart Health
Magnesium deficiency correlates with cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and cardiac arrhythmia. So, sufficient magnesium intake may promote a healthier heart and reduce the risk of getting cardiovascular disease.
Magnesium is essential for energy production (ATP), which is essential for cell membrane function and activation of sodium-potassium pumps. Severe magnesium deficiency can compromise the work of these pumps and as a result, alter the membrane potential. This change causes arrhythmias.
Magnesium is also a cofactor required for the proper functioning of enzymes in heart mitochondria.
A meta-analysis of clinical trials found that every 100 mg increase in magnesium intake predicted a 22% lower risk of stroke. Another study also found that the magnesium intake reduced the risk of heart failure.
A massive pool of data and studies provided evidence that sufficient magnesium intake is important for heart health.
How to take Magnesium Supplements
For adults, the daily recommended intake of magnesium is 300-400 mg of elemental magnesium. Magnesium supplements start to take effect around 30 minutes after ingestion. However, the dosage timing doesn’t really matter. To reap the benefits of prompting sleep we suggest taking it at night, while to promote a balanced stress response we suggest taking it during the day.
Wondering when is it best to take magnesium supplements? Find out more from experts in the field!
Magnesium supplements can come in a variety of forms from pills to granules. All of them list their dosage as mg (milligrams), which also includes non-magnesium components, such as glycine in magnesium glycinate. Usually, elemental magnesium is only 13% to 18%. Therefore, a higher dosage is required to meet the recommended daily intake.
Magnesium Breakthrough is the best magnesium supplement because it contains 7 forms of magnesium, and only 2 capsules contain 500 mg of elemental magnesium. Therefore, taking 2 capsules a day will meet your recommended daily intake.
If you are taking certain medication or other supplements, consult your physician to see whether you can consume magnesium supplements. However, you can usually take magnesium 2-3 hours before/after your medication.
Natural Ways to Get Magnesium
You can also increase your magnesium intake by consuming magnesium-rich food including:
- Dark chocolate
- Whole grains
Since the soil is low in magnesium, it is hard to get enough magnesium from food alone. Therefore, we suggest taking magnesium supplements in addition to eating these high-magnesium foods.
Magnesium is a very important essential mineral that our body cannot produce and we need to ingest it through our food. Unfortunately, most of us can’t get enough through just food, so supplementation is necessary for optimal health. Magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms and can be taken wherever and whenever. They can be taken with or without food, in the morning or at night. With these supplements you’ll probably experience better sleep, better stress response, and you may even lose some weight. As long as you’re consistent with them you’ll optimize your health in no time.
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