How can low magnesium levels affect our health?

Magnesium is an emerging superstar mineral. Scientists are studying this mineral to bits nowadays. And it seems it is essential for our well-being, but for decades it’s been extremely underrated. A study carried out in 2008 called it an “orphan nutrient”.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body.

It plays crucial roles in the functioning of our brain and body (2).

However, you may not be getting enough of it, even if you eat a healthy diet.

We get most of our dietary intake of magnesium from plant sources (almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate). However, it is the bacteria present in soil that enables plants to absorb magnesium. This can be affected by various environmental influences. Such as the use of pesticides which kill off these bacteria. Food processing, antacids, caffeine, and even alcohol can decrease magnesium absorption. For these reasons, modern humans tend to need more nutrients.

Some people have a higher risk of deficiency, especially those with digestive disorders, such as celiac disease and chronic diarrhoea.

Low magnesium levels in the body have been linked to diseases such as:

  • high blood pressure,
  • osteoporosis,
  • clogged arteries,
  • heart disease,
  • diabetes,
  • depression,
  • stroke,
  • chronic migraines,
  • PMS.

So, What benefits does this mineral actually give me?

1. Magnesium Is Involved in hundreds of our body’s processes

Magnesium is a mineral found in water, in the sea, in soil and in plants as well as in the bodies of almost all animals.

Our bones contain around 60% of the Magnesium found in our body, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood.

Every single cell in our body contains and needs it to function correctly.

Muscles need this mineral to contract; nerves need it to send and receive messages. It keeps your heart beating steadily and your immune system strong.

Studies suggest that about 50% of people in the world consume less than the recommended daily amount of magnesium (13).

2. Magnesium improves Exercise Performance

During exercise, you may need 10–20% more salts and minerals than when you’re resting, depending on the activity (4).

Magnesium helps with the transportation of blood sugar into your muscles when we need energy. It also helps our body get rid of lactic acid, which can build up in muscles during exercise and cause pain and sore muscles.

Magnesium Supplements improve exercise performance
Magnesium Supplements improve exercise performance

Studies have shown that supplementing with it can boost exercise performance for athletes, the elderly and people with chronic disease.

If you just started working out Magnesium supplements can also keep your blood pressure stable and prevent you passing out or getting dizzy from a strenuous work out.

3. It improves Bone health

Our bones contain most of the magnesium found in our body. This mineral is crucial in the bone formation process. It helps bones integrate calcium into the bone matrix and contributes to bone health. Magnesium also plays a role in activating vitamin D in the kidneys which is also essential to bone health.

People who have a good intake of Magnesium usually have better bone density results. It reduces the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women significantly.

4. It has a role in fighting depression

We are living in a fast-paced environment. And everyone’s stress levels are through the roof. Increased stress increases magnesium loss, and it may not be readily replaced. magnesium is an extremely important mineral to the brain. It forms part of almost every stage of the stress response, recovery, and repair. Low levels of this mineral may lead to conditions affecting the brain. Magnesium supplements have also been found to be helpful for people suffering from fibromyalgia and depression.

5. Improving PMS Symptoms

Increased bloating, fatigue, headaches, irritability, cramps, tender and sore breasts, and sleep disturbances in and around a woman’s menstrual cycle could be caused by a magnesium deficiency. Taking Magnesium Citrate is helpful to decrease PMS symptoms. Check out my blog post from a few months ago for more information on how to deal with PMS.

Reduce PMS symptoms with Magnesium supplements
Reduce PMS Symprtoms with magnesium supplements

6. Magnesium in type 2 diabetes

Magnesium also benefits people with type 2 diabetes. It plays an important role in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism.

Studies are showing that about 48% of type 2 diabetic patients have low levels of magnesium. This can impair insulin’s ability to keep blood sugar levels under control.

There have also been studies showing that patients with the highest magnesium intake were 47% less likely to develop diabetes.

7. It Has Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Low magnesium intake is often linked to inflammation, which is one of the drivers of obesity, ageing, and chronic disease, high blood glucose and high triglyceride levels.

upplements can slightly reduce inflammatory markers and in older adults, overweight people and those with prediabetes.

In the same way, high-magnesium foods — such as fatty fish and dark chocolate — can reduce inflammation.

How to make sure you are getting enough Magnesium

Most of us do not meet the recommended daily intake (RDI) of 400–420 mg for men and 310–320 mg for women.

This mineral can be found in a lot of food of course so eating a health balanced diet helps towards this goal.

Magnesium in food
Amount of Magnesium in Food

If you cannot meet your daily magnesium needs through foods alone, consider taking a supplement. There are many available supplements on the market but before buying any supplement check with your pharmacist or doctor, since it can interact with common medications for high blood pressure, antibiotics or diuretics.

Another way of ensuring you start your day right is considering using a meal replacement shake for breakfast that contains an adequate amount of all nutrients the body needs including protein, Carbohydrates, fibre, Magnesium, and Vitamin Bs.

Feel free to comment on this article if you would like any recommendations or have any queries.

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