7 Incredible Wellness Benefits of Magnesium
When you think of essential minerals, there’s a good chance that you think of calcium first. Calcium is extremely important for good health; however, there’s another mineral that works alongside calcium to support your well-being, and that is mighty magnesium. Nearly half of your body’s magnesium reserves are stored in the skeletal system, while the remaining magnesium exists in tissues, muscles, and fluids. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and is involved in some of its most critical processes.
In the past, it has been estimated that nearly 75% of Americans were deficient in magnesium. This might occur if you do not eat enough leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds, or whole grains. Research today links magnesium deficiency to a whole host of health issues that are only now being discovered. Involved in everything from bone health to DNA and protein formation, the nutritional benefits of this impressive mineral are worth exploring, because every cell in your body needs it to thrive.
Magnesium supports bone health
Magnesium is a much-needed sidekick to calcium when it comes to maintaining strong bones. It is involved in the structural component that helps keep bones and teeth hard. Magnesium helps regulate calcium transport between cells and also plays a role in bone mineralization. Your body uses magnesium paired with calcium and phosphorus to keep bones and tooth enamel strong. This is why many people prefer a bone health supplement that includes calcium combined with magnesium.
Magnesium assists with muscle performance
Have you ever eaten a banana in the hopes that a leg cramp will go away? And if you’re a regular at road races, you will run for miles to get that free banana! This is because bananas are a source of potassium, an important electrolyte that is depleted during prolonged periods of exercise. Bananas also contain magnesium, which also plays a crucial role in muscle contractions. Muscle cramps and twitches are a sign of magnesium deficiency (but they can also be signs of other issues).
Magnesium and calcium work together to maintain proper muscle contractions. Calcium interacts with magnesium when calcium is released by the muscles after nerves are activated. Calcium generates the contraction by binding with protein as magnesium helps the muscle relax. Magnesium also helps transport potassium ions. During physical activity, the demand for magnesium in the muscles goes up because they are more active.
Magnesium works with ATP
Magnesium works with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to release energy, which is needed for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in your body. ATP drives the energy process from the cellular level, including in nerve impulses and muscle contractions. Referred to as the “energy currency of life,” ATP is a fundamental source of energy that uses magnesium to function.
Magnesium is involved in protein formation
Are you ready to think back to your biology class? DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a long, double-stranded molecule found in the nucleus of every cell that contains all of your genetic information. This is where protein construction begins. Magnesium is essential to the process, as it is a cofactor for critical enzymes that help create and repair these proteins. When a deficiency is present, protein synthesis is inhibited. Magnesium also helps create DNA.
Magnesium is associated with glucose metabolism
Many people are impacted by insulin resistance, which is typically identified by cells improperly absorbing sugar in the bloodstream. This can lead to several health issues. High levels of insulin may contribute to a loss of magnesium. Magnesium plays a valuable role in this process and assists with sugar and glucose metabolism, so it is important to maintain sufficient levels.
Magnesium increases menstrual health
For women, magnesium plays a positive role in the health and wellness of the menstrual cycle. Millions of women experience discomfort due to their monthly cycle. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can amplify PMS conditions, such as water retention, muscle cramps, and fatigue. Magnesium may help minimize these issues by improving mood and minimizing discomfort.
One of magnesium’s most important jobs is its involvement in nerve health. Nerve cells transmit electrical signals with sodium and potassium. In simple terms, cells allow sodium to enter as potassium leaves. Without magnesium, sodium and potassium levels aren’t restored, which negatively impacts the nervous system and leads to irritability and sensitivity.
Food sources of magnesium
A nutritious diet can help you replenish magnesium levels and help you meet your daily recommended magnesium requirement, which is 400 mg. Since your body does not make magnesium on its own, it is important to seek out foods that naturally contain it. Foods that contain magnesium include:
- Dark chocolate
- Salmon, halibut, and pollock
- Spinach, swiss chard, and turnip greens
- Whole grains
- Chia, flax, and pumpkin seeds
With the variety of foods that are rich in magnesium, you can up your intake of magnesium easily. Many of these foods are considered superfoods, so you will be getting additional benefits, too!
Watch out for caffeine and alcohol
Are carbonated sodas your vice, or do you love imbibing in a cocktail every so often? Maybe you can’t live without that third cup of coffee. Magnesium levels are controlled by your kidneys, which are responsible for excreting excess minerals. Caffeine accelerates this process and makes your kidneys release more magnesium than is necessary, making it important to limit coffee and soda consumption. The same applies to alcohol.
The missing link
Many factors impact the risk of magnesium deficiency, including age, digestive tract inefficiencies, and dietary consumption. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet and exercise will help keep you balanced and nourished. Dr. Carolyn Dean, naturopath, herbalist, and author of The Magnesium Miracle calls magnesium the “missing link to total health.” If you haven’t considered magnesium in the past to be an important supplement, now is the perfect time to start. This incredible mineral is the foundation of some of your body’s most critical functions, providing a boost to your wellness.
Adi Arezzini | @adiarezzini
Co-Founder + CEO, Teami Blends
Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach
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