Magnesium is far more important to health than is generally realized. The health benefits of magnesium are many as magnesium plays a role in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. Magnesium plays an important function in bone and cardiovascular health, prevention and management of diabetes and depression, and more.
Green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish, and whole grains are excellent sources of magnesium.
The Health Benefits of Magnesium
We all know the importance of calcium when it comes to preventing osteoporosis. Magnesium is just as important. Half of the magnesium in the body is found in the bone and teeth. Low levels of magnesium decreases the amount of calcium in the bones. Magnesium and calcium work together to make bones and teeth stronger.
Lower risk of cardiovascular disease is associated with higher intakes of magnesium. Magnesium facilitates conduction of nerve impulses and that includes the electrical system of the heart that regulates heart rhythm. Magnesium has been used for decades to treat and prevent some cardiac arrhythmias.
Magnesium relaxes smooth muscles including those in blood vessels. This helps lower blood pressure. Foods high in magnesium (vegetables and fruits) are associated with lower blood pressure. This smooth muscle relaxation may explain why magnesium can be effective in the treatment and prevention of migraine headaches.
Magnesium improves the release of insulin and its effectiveness. Low levels of magnesium are frequently seen in diabetics. Studies suggest that higher intake of magnesium may protect against type 2 diabetes. For instance, there is a 15% reduction in diabetes for every 100 mg of increased intake of magnesium.
Low magnesium appears to result in lower serotonin levels increasing the risk of depression and mood disorders.
Pain Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium has been shown to improve pain control in patients with fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, and premenstrual cramps.
Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium deficiency can result from diarrhea and gastrointestinal diseases like colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and pancreatitis. Low magnesium can result from use of diuretics and kidney disease, hypothyroidism. Excess consumption of soda, coffee or alcohol can lead to magnesium deficiency. Excess loss of magnesium occurs from excessive sweating and heavy menstrual periods.