Magnesium is a mineral that our body requires in large amounts. This is because magnesium plays many roles in the body and in the quality of our health. For example, our body uses magnesium during the digestive process, to help our organs function, and even in the very chemical recipe of who we are--in our DNA. In fact, it is very safe to say that magnesium is one of the most important minerals for overall health. Inside, we look at five reasons why magnesium helps you build better health.
Please keep in mind that every body is different and that supplementation can be dangerous for those with certain medical conditions or if taken in excess. We highly recommend that you only take supplements under the supervision of a doctor. This article is NOT medical advice.
Also, although supplements can, in certain instances, improve your health, you should first consider how you can improve your diet and nutrition to maximize your health, as whole real foods are usually the best method to obtain the right nutrients.
For more information about diet, generally, you could check out our article on the Paleo diet or the Perfect Health Diet, for example. You might also enjoy our article on Robb Wolf's classic book, The Paleo Solution.
If your diet leaves you short on magnesium, a wonderful way to increase your intake is to add a little bit of Natural Vitality Natural Calm to your water or herbal tea in the evening before bed.
Five Reason to Increase Magnesium
1. Muscle Coordination
The body uses calcium to help muscles contract and magnesium to help them relax. There are a few studies out that are looking into whether or not magnesium can help reduce muscle cramps. In people who have Type II diabetes, the body sheds magnesium through the kidneys and urinary tract. One of the signs and symptoms of type II diabetes is, in fact, the existence of muscle cramps.
In addition, there is also a relationship between magnesium and nerve function. A study on mice showed that a diet high in magnesium helped mice with sciatic nerve damage to regenerate and improve. To bring this home, muscle contraction and extension are controlled by nerve impulses. With a diet high in magnesium, you offer your body the tools it needs to better control the relationship between muscle and nerve. This is important because magnesium may help people who have poor balance, who suffer from muscle cramping, or experience other medical conditions that involve muscle control. Pairing sufficient magnesium with quality coaching and practice can improve muscle control.
In addition, magnesium can enhance brain function and can contributor to anxiety-reduction.
Magnesium is a mineral that literally helps get our head (and muscles) into the game.
2. Improved Protein Synthesis
Magnesium influences over 300 enzymes and the production of those enzymes. Enzymes, for those that don't know, are generally proteins and they enhance the efficiency of chemical reactions in the cells. This means that cell function becomes faster and more stable. Magnesium is critical to protein synthesis. Proteins are the recipes that our body, namely cells, use to create the tools that they need to function. Every type of cell has a different function and many cells perform many functions. Because magnesium impacts so many types of enzymes, it is vital to efficient protein synthesis.
To illustrate, after working out hard and pushing yourself, your muscles need to recover. That recovery process involves several cellular functions. One of those is the repair of muscle cells, which requires specialized proteins. During your work out, your body needs energy and oxygen and that means the cells need to create specialized proteins to break chemical bonds and control oxidative stress. That process not only uses enzymes to speed up the process but proteins to meet the active needs of your body. You can enhance these processes by assuring that you have sufficient magnesium in your body.
3. Improved energy Production
In the human body, most energy production comes from the ATP-ADP cycle, which allows the cells to harvest the stored energy in chemical bonds. Breaking those bonds releases energy that our cells use to power various functions. When the cells use oxygen the process is called oxidative metabolism, which can lead to oxidative stress. Magnesium helps to calm that process so that the violence that occurs when bonds break is more controlled. This allows the cells to make energy production more efficient. Part of the efficiency gains result from magnesium's ability to hep the cells create enzymes quickly.
4. Heart Health
Magnesium plays an important role in the relaxation of muscles following contraction. The heart is a strong muscle that constantly contracts and relaxes. People who have low magnesium levels are often the same people who suffer from heart arrhythmias such as Atrial fibrillation. Blood vessels also contract and expand to help the heart circulate the blood. If your blood vessels are too large--too relaxed--then you have low blood pressure and the heart either has to work harder to do its job or you suffer from poor blood circulation. If the blood vessels are too small--constricted--then the blood pressure is high and the heart has to work harder to send a sufficient volume of blood through the blood vessels.
5. Stronger bones and muscles
Magnesium is an essential part of the recipe that the body uses to make bone cells. It is also used in the production of muscle cells and as part of the process to form DNA and RNA. That is important because during the ATP-ADP cycle cellular DNA or RNA can become damaged. Magnesium helps the body to repair RNA and DNA. Our body stores some of the excess magnesium in the outer layer of our bones.
If your body is low on magnesium--and that is true for many of us--boosting this mineral in your diet can boost your health, including bone health, muscle health, heart health, cellular health, and nerve health.
Of course, finding the best form of magnesium is not always simple. Our body uses magnesium in different forms. If you are looking for a magnesium supplement, then you may want to focus on magnesium aspartate, magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate, and magnesium chloride. These are the four form of magnesium that our body absorbs the most quickly. If you are just adding magnesium to your diet to increase your magnesium intake then magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate can also be good choices, though they are absorbed more slowly.
One caution: If you increase your magnesium intake too quickly, especially through supplements, you may, ahem, find your digestive system moving very quickly.
If you want to learn more about the best form of magnesium for you, we recommend that you listen to this Ben Greenfield podcast.
1. Magnesium Basics - Clinical Kidney Journal
2. Magnesium supplement promotes sciatic nerve regeneration and down-regulates inflammatory response - US National Library of Medicine
3. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review - US National Library of Medicine