Surprising health benefits of Magnesium: Why you should consider taking Magnesium supplements
Author Avatar

Misbah Wasi

Functional Nutrition Specialist, Scientific & Regulatory Advisor for Health Supplements

Misbah Wasi is a seasoned professional in the field of Nutrition Science and Food Regulation for over 15 years. Currently, she is lendin her expertise in the area of Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals and is an active member of the Standards Review Group (SRG) - Nutraceuticals FSSAI Ms. Wasi is a post-graduate in Food and Nutrition. Certified Lead Food Safety Management Systems Auditor (FSMS, FSSC 22000) and a certified FoSTaC traine for Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals. She is also a Subject Matter Expert for ‘Food Regulations in India’ for IFLR (International Food Laws and Regulations) course at Michigan State University.

Surprising health benefits of Magnesium: Why you should consider taking Magnesium supplements

In the world of essential nutrients, magnesium often takes a back seat to its more glamorous counterparts like Vitamin C or Calcium. However, this humble mineral plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being, offering many surprising benefits that are often overlooked. Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in the intracellular compartment and is essential for various cellular processes and metabolic pathways. It is a cofactor in over 300 enzymatic processes, including those involving ATP utilization and transfer. It assists in building proteins and strong bones and regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, energy production, and muscle & nerve functions. More than half of the magnesium in the body is stored in bones, and the remaining in various tissues throughout the body. Magnesium can help treat and prevent diabetes, osteoporosis, bronchial asthma, pregnancy, migraines, and cardiovascular disease. Numerous studies have found that low magnesium levels are connected with a variety of chronic illnesses.
The bones store about 50-60% of the total magnesium content, whereas muscles and other soft tissues store 40-50%. Around one-third of the bone magnesium content is available for exchange to keep extracellular magnesium levels stable. Less than 2% of magnesium in the body is found in serum and red blood cells, which accounts for all extracellular magnesium.

Despite its importance, magnesium deficiency is surprisingly common, with studies suggesting that a significant portion of the population may not meet their daily magnesium requirements. Factors such as poor dietary choices, soil depletion, and certain medical conditions can contribute to inadequate magnesium intake. Severe magnesium deficit can lead to neuromuscular symptoms, while mild to moderate deficits are generally asymptomatic. The early signs of magnesium deficiency include Muscle twitches and cramps which are noticeable at night or after exercise. Magnesium helps to regulate muscle contraction, and its deficiency can lead to overstimulation and cramping.  Low levels of magnesium can contribute to tiredness and lack of stamina as it plays a role in energy production. Studies suggest a link between magnesium deficiency and migraines.  Whereas the advanced studies include a hindrance to digestive processes, leading to nausea and vomiting. Magnesium deficiency affects nerve function, causing sensations of numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Very low levels of magnesium can disrupt heart rhythm, leading to palpitations or arrhythmias.

Role of magnesium in the human body 

Magnesium has the following important functions in the human body.

  1. Better sleep: Struggling with insomnia or restless nights? Magnesium might be the solution you've been searching for. This mineral plays a crucial role in the regulation of neurotransmitters involved in sleep and relaxation, such as GABA. Supplementing with magnesium has been linked to improved sleep quality, helping individuals fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper, more restorative rest.

 

  1. Muscle relaxation and recovery: Magnesium acts as a natural muscle relaxant, helping to alleviate cramps, spasms, and soreness. Additionally, magnesium plays a vital role in muscle recovery post-exercise, facilitating tissue repair and reducing inflammation.

 

  1. Heart Health: Magnesium is a silent hero when it comes to cardiovascular health. It helps regulate blood pressure, maintain proper heart rhythm, and support overall heart function. Studies have shown that adequate magnesium intake can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, making it a vital nutrient for maintaining a healthy heart.

 

  1. Bone Health: While calcium often steals the spotlight in discussions about bone health, magnesium plays a crucial supporting role. It helps regulate calcium levels in the body and contributes to bone density and strength. Adequate magnesium intake is essential for maintaining healthy bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

 

  1. Mood enhancement: Feeling stressed or anxious? Magnesium might offer some relief. This mineral is involved in the production of serotonin, the brain chemical responsible for regulating mood and promoting feelings of well-being. Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, offering a natural way to lift your spirits.

 

  1. Prevents Migraine: For individuals who suffer from migraines, magnesium supplements may offer relief. Research suggests that magnesium plays a role in migraine prevention, possibly due to its effects on neurotransmitter function and blood vessel regulation. By incorporating magnesium supplements into your routine, you may experience a reduction in the frequency and severity of migraines, allowing you to enjoy life to the fullest.

Overall, magnesium offers a range of benefits for mental health, cardiovascular health, metabolic function, inflammation reduction, bone health, muscle function, and sleep quality. By considering the addition of magnesium supplements to your daily regimen, you can take proactive steps toward unlocking a healthier, happier, and more vibrant life.

Supplementation of magnesium

Magnesium supplements are claimed to have benefits such as improving insomnia, muscle aches, depression, coronary artery disease, and asthma. It may be associated with slightly decreased blood pressure, decreased risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke, decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, prevention of bone loss in postmenopausal women, and effectiveness in preventing migraines. Studies suggest that magnesium supplementation may reduce inflammatory markers associated with exercise-induced muscle damage, potentially leading to faster recovery. Some studies suggest that magnesium supplementation or an increase in dietary magnesium may help in preventing bone loss and increasing bone density in postmenopausal women. These helps relax tense muscles, which makes it an excellent choice for individuals experiencing muscle stiffness or discomfort. It promotes post-workout recovery by reducing muscle soreness and pain caused by intense physical activity or exercise. Magnesium supplements are available in the market in different salt forms, like liquid types (magnesium citrate or chloride) solid tablets (magnesium oxide). Some of the common forms of magnesium supplements are given below.

  • Magnesium citrate: This form of magnesium is highly absorbable and well-tolerated by most people. It's often used to support digestive health as it can help relieve constipation due to its mild laxative effect. Magnesium citrate is also beneficial for overall magnesium replenishment in the body.
  • Magnesium oxide: While magnesium oxide has a high magnesium content, it's not as well-absorbed by the body compared to other forms. It's commonly used as a laxative to relieve occasional constipation. However, it may cause gastrointestinal upset in some individuals.
  • Magnesium Chloride: Often found in topical formulations such as magnesium oil or sprays, magnesium chloride can be absorbed through the skin, bypassing the digestive system. This makes it a convenient option for those who have difficulty tolerating oral magnesium supplements or want to target specific areas for relief, such as sore muscles or joint pain.
  • Magnesium L- threonate: This form of magnesium has gained attention for its potential cognitive benefits. Magnesium L-threonate has been studied for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier more effectively, leading to enhanced brain magnesium levels. It's often promoted for supporting cognitive function, memory, and overall brain health.
  • Magnesium malate is a combination of magnesium and malic acid. It's known for its role in supporting energy production and muscle function. Some individuals may find magnesium malate helpful for alleviating muscle pain and fatigue, particularly in conditions like fibromyalgia.
  • Magnesium Glycinate: Known for its high bioavailability and gentle nature, magnesium glycinate is a popular choice for those with sensitive stomachs or individuals prone to digestive discomfort. It's well-absorbed and less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects compared to other forms.

When choosing a magnesium supplement, it's essential to consider factors such as absorption rate, bioavailability, and individual health needs. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help determine the most suitable form and dosage for your specific requirements. Additionally, opting for high-quality supplements from reputable brands ensures purity and efficacy, maximizing the benefits of magnesium supplementation for overall health and well-being.


 

References

  • Abdullah, M, Al, Alawi., Sandawana, William, Majoni., Henrik, Falhammar. (2018). Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions. International Journal of Endocrinology, 2018(2018):9041694-9041694. doi: 10.1155/2018/9041694
  • Al Alawi AM, Majoni SW, Falhammar H. Magnesium and Human Health: Perspectives and Research Directions. Int J Endocrinol. 2018 Apr 16;2018:9041694. doi: 10.1155/2018/9041694. PMID: 29849626; PMCID: PMC5926493.
  • Arab A, Rafie N, Amani R, Shirani F. The Role of Magnesium in Sleep Health: a Systematic Review of Available Literature. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2023 Jan;201(1):121-128. 
  • Chaudhry AH, Nayab S, Hussain SB, Ali M, Pan Z. Current Understandings on Magnesium Deficiency and Future Outlooks for Sustainable Agriculture. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 12;22(4):1819.
  • Córdova A, Mielgo-Ayuso J, Roche E, Caballero-García A, Fernandez-Lázaro D. Impact of Magnesium Supplementation in Muscle Damage of Professional Cyclists Competing in a Stage Race. Nutrients. 2019 Aug 16;11(8):1927. 
  • Debora Porri, Hans K. Biesalski, Antonio Limitone, Laura Bertuzzo, Hellas Cena, Effect of magnesium supplementation on women's health and well-being,NFS Journal, 23, 2021,30-36, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nfs.2021.03.0
  • Garrison SR, Allan GM, Sekhon RK, Musini VM, Khan KM. Magnesium for skeletal muscle cramps. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Sep 12;2012(9):CD009402. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD009402.pub2. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 Sep 21;9:CD009402.
  • Gerry, Schwalfenberg., Stephen, J., Genuis. (2017). The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. 2017(2017):4179326-4179326. doi: 10.1155/2017/4179326
  • Jeroen, H., F., de, Baaij., Joost, G., J., Hoenderop., René, J., M., Bindels. (2015). Magnesium in Man: Implications for Health and Disease. Physiological Reviews, 95(1):1-46. doi: 10.1152/PHYSREV.00012.2014
  • Johanna, Taylor, Katroscik. (2022). What are the benefits of magnesium supplements?. Pharmacy Today, 28(3):15-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ptdy.2022.02.006
  • Mario, Barbagallo., Ligia, J., Dominguez. (2019). Magnesium and Health. Internal Medicine, 09(02):1-2. doi: 10.35248/2165-8048.19.9.E105
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH): https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
  • Reno AM, Green M, Killen LG, O'Neal EK, Pritchett K, Hanson Z. Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Muscle Soreness and Performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Aug 1;36(8):2198-2203.
  • Reno AM, Green M, Killen LG, O'Neal EK, Pritchett K, Hanson Z. Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Muscle Soreness and Performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Aug 1;36(8):2198-2203.
  • Rodríguez-Morán M, Simental Mendía LE, Zambrano Galván G, Guerrero-Romero F. The role of magnesium in type 2 diabetes: a brief based-clinical review. Magnes Res. 2011 Dec;24(4):156-62. 
  • 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.
  • Stella Lucia Volpe. 2013. Magnesium in Disease Prevention and Overall Health, Advances in Nutrition, (4) 3; 378S-383S, https://doi.org/10.3945/an.112.003483.
  • Uberti F, Morsanuto V, Ruga S, Galla R, Farghali M, Notte F, Bozzo C, Magnani C, Nardone A, Molinari C. Study of Magnesium Formulations on Intestinal Cells to Influence Myometrium Cell Relaxation. Nutrients. 2020 Feb 22;12(2):573. 
  • Veena, Abraham., Natalie, Schellack. (2016). The Benefits of Magnesium. SA Pharmaceutical Journal, 83(2):21-24.
  • Volpe SL. Magnesium and the Athlete. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2015 Jul-Aug;14(4):279-83. 
Zhang Y, Xun P, Wang R, Mao L, He K. Can Magnesium Enhance Exercise Performance? Nutrients. 2017 Aug 28;9(9):946.
Back to blog