Magnesium is one of the most important minerals and it’s crucial to so many processes in our body. Discover its benefits with our quick guide.
Whenever you’re eating spinach, nuts or seeds you’re supplying your body with one of the most important minerals. We’re talking about magnesium, the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies. But do you know what exactly it does for us? It turns out quite a lot!
Magnesium is involved in hundreds of important processes everywhere in our bodies. It helps keep our bones strong and our energy supplies topped up, while also helping keep depression and migraines at bay thanks to its important role in the biochemical action in our brain. If you want to find out more about the benefits of magnesium and why you should keep an eye on your daily supply of this precious mineral, keep reading.
60% of the total magnesium in our bodies is stored in our bones, so making sure we don’t run low on this mineral is important for our bone health and integrity. Studies1,2 have shown that magnesium deficiency contributes to osteoporosis – a disease that occurs when the bone mass becomes low, leaving bones weak and frail. Research is still ongoing, but pairing magnesium with calcium and vitamin D may strengthen our bones and decrease the likelihood of having to nurse fractures or other bone-related problems.
Blood pressure is the force with which our blood is pushing against the arteries and other blood vessels as it moves through the body. High blood pressure is not good for our health and it can lead to heart attacks or strokes. But evidence3 already points out to magnesium as a possible solution to helping us keep blood pressure in check. And if you want to get the most benefits out of magnesium when it comes to reducing blood pressure, combining it with potassium and a lower intake of sodium has the potential to make magnesium even more effective.
Low magnesium could also lead to problems with our blood sugar levels and even increase the risk of type-2 diabetes4,5. This is because the mineral plays an important role in insulin action and glucose metabolism. Although more studies are needed before doctors begin to recommend magnesium supplements to people suffering with diabetes or at high risk of developing the condition, loading up on magnesium-rich leafy greens can help keep the magnesium levels in our body where they should be to effectively turn food into energy and control blood sugar levels.
There is also a possible link between magnesium deficiency and depression, which has scientists6 wondering if one of the benefits of magnesium could be related to mood. Magnesium’s role in brain biochemistry is what could ultimately open the door to the mineral being used to help people suffering from depression. But until then, the studies7,8 already pointing to its mood-improving benefits have us thinking about adding more magnesium-rich greens, nuts and seeds to our diets.
Could magnesium also keep heart disease at bay? We’ve already seen how this important mineral helps us keep blood pressure and blood sugar at the rig
ht levels, and one of the biggest beneficiaries is our heart since both diabetes and hypertension affect cardio-vascular health. Higher levels of magnesium whether taken from the foods we eat or take via supplements can help keep the risk factors for heart disease away9, meaning that heart protection is another key benefit of magnesium.
Migraines can appear all of a sudden and take us out of our groove for quite a while with nausea and sensitivity to light among the main symptoms. But magnesium could play a role if you are suffering from migraines frequently. People with this condition show lower levels of magnesium than headache-free people10 which means that having this mineral in our bodies in the right amounts could save us from headaches.
It is also possible that topping up our magnesium levels can help with mild anxiety. Although more studies are needed to definitely prove the link between the lack of this important mineral and anxiety, early signs11 suggest that the benefits of magnesium could extend to helping us deal with stress as well.
Could magnesium help us improve our sleep? A study showed that supplementing the magnesium intake in elderly people helped them improve their sleep patterns12. Magnesium also helps us with our mood and anxiety which can translate into benefits for our sleep quality.
Next, discover what are the best magnesium-rich foods to add to your diet.