Recently I find myself talking about this supplement more and more with patients and the various bodily functions (about 300) it aids in. So let's shout out to this superstar known as Magnesium.
This underrated mineral is involved in many enzymatic reactions in the body, making it essential to overall health. It serves as a cofactor in numerous biochemical processes, including energy production, protein synthesis, and DNA repair. Magnesium also plays a vital role in maintaining proper nerve and muscle function, regulating blood pressure, and supporting a healthy immune system. Low levels of magnesium have been linked to health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and migraines. (National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements June 2, 2022. )
Magnesium works hand in hand with other minerals such as calcium and vitamin D to promote healthy bone growth. Adequate magnesium levels have been linked to improved bone density while decreasing the risk of osteoporosis and fracture. A review of the literature, found “ a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of magnesium and maintenance of normal bone”. (citation 2)
The cardiovascular system also benefits from magnesium by relaxing blood vessels, promoting healthy circulation, and lowering blood pressure. Studies have shown an inverse association between magnesium intake and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have also found that higher levels of magnums in the blood are associated with a lower risk of heart and coronary disease, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke. (Citation 3)
This is amazing !!
Magnesium aids in stress reduction and improves sleep. I talk a lot about this with my patients. Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system which leads to less stress. Less stress means better sleep. Remember how I said that magnesium aids in over 300 body processes, it plays an important role in the production of serotonin which regulates mood, and melatonin which is responsible for regulating sleeping cycles/patterns. So many of my patients talk to me about their stress levels and poor sleep, so when it’s appropriate, I recommend adding a magnesium supplement to their diets.
The last function of magnesium I am going to address, because remember there are so many, is muscle function and recovery. Magnesium is essential for proper muscle function and recovery. It prevents muscle cramping and aids in contractions. If I have a patient suffering from restless syndrome or has achy sore muscles they could benefit from a magnesium lotion.
You can find magnesium in green leafy vegetables, legumes, and nuts however many people are still deficient in the oh mighty magnesium because, let's be honest, most people’s diets consist of processed foods and sugar. (stay tuned for another blog post on ways to work more magnesium-rich foods into your diet)
There are multiple forms of magnesium, about 10. However, I am going to focus on 2. Magnesium citrate and Magnesium glycinate. I always urge my patients to get their vitamins/minerals and electrolytes from their diets however if we need a little extra help, here is the breakdown on magnesium: (As always consult with a healthcare provider before starting anything new to make sure there are no contraindications to any of your current health issues or interactions with any medications you are currently on. )
Magnesium citrate: is one of the most common magnesium supplements you can find. It is typically taken orally and used to help regulate bowel movements, but be careful, higher doses will have a laxative effect on the body. Typically I will encourage patients to start taking magnesium citrate if they are constipated. There have been a few studies linking this form of magnesium to lower levels of depression and anxiety however the most common usage remains for constipation. When I am constipated I typically have anxiety because I can not use the bathroom, maybe that’s how that works??? Just kidding! It has to do with neurotransmitters and your brain.
Magnesium glycinate: is magnesium and the amino acid glycine. This form of magnesium is also typically taken orally and has been shown to aid in sleep and stop inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Magnesium glycinate aids in sleep, again it has to do with neurotransmitters in your brain and different hormone production. I typically recommend this form of magnesium for patients with difficulty sleeping.
Remember nothing will replace a good diet and exercise routine however, if you are considering adding magnesium supplements into your life consider the two I mentioned above.
The quality of the supplement matters too. We work with Thorne and you can purchase these and many other supplements from our online store here.
Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo). 2017;2017:4179326. doi: 10.1155/2017/4179326. Epub 2017 Sep 28. PMID: 29093983; PMCID: PMC5637834.
Rondanelli M, Faliva MA, Tartara A, Gasparri C, Perna S, Infantino V, Riva A, Petrangolini G, Peroni G. An update on magnesium and bone health. Biometals. 2021 Aug;34(4):715-736. doi: 10.1007/s10534-021-00305-0. Epub 2021 May 6. PMID: 33959846; PMCID: PMC8313472.
Rosique-Esteban N, Guasch-Ferré M, Hernández-Alonso P, Salas-Salvadó J. Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review with Emphasis in Epidemiological Studies. Nutrients. 2018 Feb 1;10(2):168. doi: 10.3390/nu10020168. PMID: 29389872; PMCID: PMC5852744.
Kirkland AE, Sarlo GL, Holton KF. The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders. Nutrients. 2018 Jun 6;10(6):730. doi: 10.3390/nu10060730. PMID: 29882776; PMCID: PMC6024559.
Kawai N, Sakai N, Okuro M, Karakawa S, Tsuneyoshi Y, Kawasaki N, Takeda T, Bannai M, Nishino S. The sleep-promoting and hypothermic effects of glycine are mediated by NMDA receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015 May;40(6):1405-16. doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.326. Epub 2014 Dec 23. PMID: 25533534; PMCID: PMC4397399.