Do you follow a predominantly Western diet? You probably don't get enough magnesium.
It can be hard to cut through all the complicated supplement names, Greek letters, and numbers that come with nutrition. But Mg is as essential as it gets — and a magnesium deficiency can lead to a wide variety of health problems.
But don't worry — there are solutions. By the end of this guide, you'll understand the health benefits of magnesium, the role it plays in your body, and how to start taking magnesium supplements.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral found in every cell of the body. Like iron and calcium, it is a mineral necessary for human life. Since the Western diet is so filled with grains (poor sources of magnesium), many people have magnesium deficiencies.
Why is Magnesium Important?
Adequate magnesium intake is crucial for:
- Blood sugar regulation
- Nerve and muscle function
- Heart rhythm
- Energy production
- Protein synthesis
Clearly, magnesium deficiency can lead to a wide variety of health problems. But here's what you can expect when you supplement it into your diet:
The Benefits of Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium supplementation can lead to several health benefits, as explored by the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements:
- Improve blood pressure
- Reduced asthma symptoms
- Blood sugar control
- Greater insulin sensitivity
- Higher muscle oxygenation
- Sleep quality
Improve blood pressure
Magnesium supplements can help reduce high blood pressure. One study showed that magnesium supplementation (500 mg) for twelve weeks lessened 24-hour blood pressure in people with mild hypertension.
Another study on people with hypertension found that supplementing magnesium (480 mg daily for eight weeks) led to significant reductions in blood pressure. In yet another clinical trial, 450 mg of daily magnesium intake for four months significantly lowered blood pressure in hypertensive, diabetic adults.
Reduced asthma symptoms
1 in 13 Americans has asthma. Luckily, taking magnesium supplements can help relieve symptoms.
In a study on 37 asthmatic children, 300 mg of daily magnesium dosage (over two months) helped boost bronchial resilience and lower the use of asthmatic medication. Another controlled trial demonstrated that 340 mg of magnesium intake daily for six months reduces asthmatic symptoms and develops stronger airway resilience.
Even as little as 200 mg of magnesium taken daily over three months led to reduced dependency on asthma medication for asthmatic children.
Blood sugar control
Especially in people with diabetes, regulating blood glucose levels is vital. The right magnesium supplement can help:
A double-blind study on pre-diabetic people saw a drop in their fasting blood glucose as a result of supplementing 365 mg of magnesium for half a year.
In another double-blind study on 63 subjects, magnesium dosage led to significant improvements in blood glucose levels and enhancements in insulin sensitivity. Reducing insulin resistance is vital for people to extract the fuel they need from their food fully.
Higher muscle oxygenation
Beyond blood pressure, boosting your levels of magnesium could improve athletic performance. One study showed that 17 mmol of daily magnesium intake for a month improved triathlon-like test completion times. Even if we're not all triathletes, those are impressive improvements.
Everybody wants better sleep — and using the right magnesium supplement can help.
In a study on people over 51, supplementation of 320 mg of magnesium led to improved sleep over seven weeks. Another randomized trial observed boosted sleep quality after just 20 days of using effervescent magnesium tablets (between 10 and 30 mmol).
How do I know if I am magnesium deficient?
A magnesium deficiency can be challenging to diagnose because its symptoms can vary. However, some people may experience high blood pressure, muscle cramps, or low energy levels. You can get your magnesium level checked by your doctor with a simple blood test.
If your body isn't getting enough magnesium, you can introduce it into your diet via magnesium-rich foods or magnesium supplements.
How to Take Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium supplements are available as capsules, tablets, powder, or liquid drops. The dose you need will depend on your age and sex. For adults, the recommended daily intake is 200-400 mg per day.
You should take most magnesium supplements with food to avoid gastrointestinal problems. However, you can take some forms of magnesium (such as magnesium citrate) on an empty stomach.
If you take magnesium for a specific health condition, your doctor may give you a different dose. It is crucial to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, including magnesium. Magnesium can interact with other medications, so it is best to know what to take and avoid.
What To Look for When Buying Magnesium Supplements
Now that you're trying to regulate your levels of magnesium, it's essential to know what to look for when shopping for supplements:
- The type of magnesium.Supplemental magnesium comes in many forms, including magnesium oxide, citrate, and glycinate. Some forms, like citrate, absorb better than magnesium oxide or sulfate.
- Third-party verification.Look for supplements with certification from the FDA, NSF International, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, etc.
- The dosage.If you're getting a capsule supplement, check the dosage per tablet to ensure you're not consuming excess magnesium.
Natural Sources of Magnesium
Several foods are rich in magnesium and easy to incorporate into your diet. Here are some foods with high levels of Mg:
- Dark chocolate
- Nuts and seeds
- Leafy greens
Many of these items are probably in your diet already — if not, it's time to start!
Magnesium Supplements: The Bottom Line
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is necessary for human life. It plays a role in many vital bodily functions and can help improve your health in various ways.
If you have a magnesium deficiency, supplementing with magnesium can be a great way to improve your health! Magnesium supplements are available in many different forms and doses, so speak with your healthcare provider to find the best supplement for you.
Want to get started today? Mantra Foods offers a wide selection of supplements (including magnesium!) so that you can start living healthier. Check out the selection today!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it OK to take magnesium every day?
You might be wondering if you're taking too much magnesium. Daily supplementation is acceptable as long as you keep your dosage between 200 and 400 mg. Health benefits have been observed in people taking just ten mmol of Mg daily!
What are the signs of low magnesium in the body?
Some common signs that you're lacking magnesium are:
- High blood pressure
- Muscle cramps
- Low energy levels
However, a magnesium deficiency can be hard to diagnose just from symptoms. A blood test can help determine if you are magnesium deficient.
What happens to your body when you take magnesium?
Magnesium enters the cells and helps to regulate many cellular activities, including protein synthesis, energy production, and nerve function. It also stabilizes cell membranes and helps transport nutrients in and out of cells.