What Are the Benefits of Magnesium Supplements?
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, playing a role in more than 300 enzyme reactions, some say 10001. This is why magnesium supplement benefits encompass nearly every part of the body. If you suspect you’re deficient and have asked yourself, are magnesium supplements beneficial, please keep reading.
How Do I Know if I Need a Magnesium Supplement?
Considering the fact nearly 60% of Americans are not getting the recommended daily amount of magnesium, and 45% are outright deficient2, you should consider the possibility that you are deficient. Causes of magnesium deficiency vary, but many people don’t get adequate amounts of this vital mineral through their diets. In fact, 100 years ago the magnesium content of our diet was about 500 mg/day and that has plummeted to 175-225 mg/day3.
You can learn if you suffer from magnesium deficiency through a blood test. However, most people can determine if they’re not getting enough magnesium by evaluating their symptoms.
If you suffer from the following ailments, you could have a magnesium deficiency:
- Muscle cramps/twitches
- Muscle weakness
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
While the majority of these symptoms may not be more than a day-to-day hindrance, an irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia can be very upsetting and could lead to more serious complications. Arrhythmia increases the chance of stroke or heart failure, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms.
What Are the Benefits of Magnesium?
Because magnesium is a vital macromineral required by many bodily systems, you can expect some health setbacks if you are deficient. On the other hand, ensuring that you have enough magnesium in your body can make a huge difference in your overall health.
Do you have trouble getting to sleep or getting a full night’s rest? Studies show not having enough magnesium in the body can lead to difficulty getting the rest that your body requires.
Magnesium helps sleep on multiple levels. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to feel relaxed and calm. Magnesium also assists in producing regulates melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycles in your body. Magnesium binds to GABA receptors, which allows the nerve activity in the brain to calm, alleviating anxiety - a common issue that negatively impacts sleep quality.
With magnesium supplements, it’s possible to soothe and calm the nervous system in a natural way and prepare your body for a restful night of sleep.
Improved Brain Function
Have you ever experienced brain fog? While it’s common to have this occasionally, dealing with it regularly could be a sign of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium manages the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors found in the nerve cells (neurons) in your brain. The NMDA receptors must be working at optimal levels to promote memory, learning, and brain development, as outlined in this study.
When magnesium is abundant in the NMDA receptors, the signals flow as they should. However, when there is a lack of magnesium, weak signals can cause your neurons to become overstimulated or malfunction. Allowing this overstimulation to continue could result in neurons dying, causing brain damage, as found in this study.
With a magnesium supplement, you allow brain signals to be properly as they should. In return, you may experience heightened awareness, alertness, and improved memory function.
Muscle Pain Relief
Magnesium benefits the muscles in multiple ways. If you are an athlete, you will be pleased to know that magnesium can move blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactate, which often builds up during exercise. It might also naturally heighten performance. One study of volleyball players that took 250 mg of magnesium each day found an improvement in arm and jumping movements.
And while calcium helps the muscles contract, magnesium is needed for relaxing those same muscles. This is why, if you suffer from muscle spasms or twitching, you could find relief with a magnesium supplement. Magnesium has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing muscle spasms in pregnant women and the elderly.
Stress and magnesium deficiency go hand-in-hand. When you experience a lack of magnesium, the effects of stress seem to become worse. One study shows the correlation between cortisol and adrenaline production in patients with magnesium deficiency. The body requires more magnesium during stressful times, leading to higher levels of deficiency.
Another study shows that magnesium supplementation might reduce the effects of anxiety and stress. Further studies show that magnesium can promote restful sleep because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to experience a greater sense of calm and relaxation.
Immune System Boost
Studies show magnesium plays a role in strengthening and supporting the immune system as well. Getting the right amount of magnesium may help boost immune responses and reduce inflammation. Magnesium can also reduce stress, as explained earlier, which further impacts your immune system.
What is the Best Kind of Magnesium to Take?
Ideally, we should be obtaining enough magnesium daily through our diet. Unfortunately that may not be the case. The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends getting between 350 to 400 mg of magnesium each day. If you suspect you’re not getting enough, consider adding some of these food options to your diet:
- Nuts, including almonds and cashews
- Black beans
- Soy milk
- Shredded wheat
- Peanut butter
- Brown rice
- Plain yogurt
If you need to increase your daily intake with a magnesium supplement, you need to know what your options are, as not all magnesium supplements are created equally. For example, magnesium oxide is the main ingredient in milk of magnesia, making it ideal for constipation issues because it has a strong laxative effect.
Magnesium citrate powder: Magnesium citrate powder is the most commonly used form of magnesium, but it also is used for its laxative effects. Mixed with water, either warm or room temperature, it is better absorbed than in pill or capsule form.
Epsom salts: “The Salts” have been used in baths and foot baths for centuries, popularized by midwives and promoted by grandmothers for relaxing sore, tired, or tight muscles. The magnesium compound is magnesium sulfate; be wary of cheap forms that may be impure and contain heavy metals.
Magnesium Chloride: liquid magnesium chloride is recognized to be a highly absorbed, beneficial form of magnesium.
Consider these other factors when selecting a magnesium supplement:
- Backed by Research: Not all dietary supplement companies are the same. Look for a product line that is backed by research and clinical evidence.
- Absorption: many pills and powders are poorly absorbed. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, recommends a liquid form of magnesium chloride that may offer the best absorption.
- Versatility: Liquid magnesium offers versatility not captured with a pill or a powder. Not only can you adjust the dose easily, but liquid magnesium products can be used orally, topically and in a foot soak.
- Quality: Look for a magnesium brand that is rigorously manufactured. Your dietary supplement company should have professional staff dedicated to the adherence of all quality standards of the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices which stipulate that manufacturers must evaluate the identity, purity, quality, strength, and composition of their dietary ingredients and dietary supplements to help guarantee that their products are safe and accurately labeled. They should be willing and able to provide Certificates of Analyses when requested.
- Customer Service: Buying a magnesium supplement is just the beginning of establishing a daily intake routine. Be sure to select a magnesium backed by powerful education and sound customer service practices to support you on your journey to health.
Liquid Magnesium Supplement Benefits
When you choose a liquid magnesium supplement, you get a more soluble form than a pill. Many pill magnesium supplements are considered hygroscopic, which means they attract water. If the supplement is exposed to moisture, it can be destroyed. This is why many supplements have extra ingredients, to keep the material dry.
Liquid magnesium benefits from its solubility because it absorbs much faster than pill form supplements. If you want to retain the magnesium you take, it’s best to choose a liquid. In doing so, you ensure that the valuable nutrient doesn’t get flushed down the toilet. You also save yourself from the uncomfortable laxative side effects that some pill supplements include. While it might seem easier to take a few gummies each day, the supplement is wasted because it doesn’t get absorbed.
When you choose a liquid supplement, you have complete control over the dosage. Taking a pill means you have to take the dosage you are given or attempt to fight with a pill-splitter. When you consume a liquid, you can easily adjust how much you are taking for more flexibility.
Side Effects And Risks
With any dietary supplement, one of the most important questions about magnesium is what happens when too much is taken. While the element is generally well-tolerated by most healthy adults, there are some possible magnesium supplement side effects which are too often related to its laxative effects. Fortunately, ReMag was formulated and has been proven to bypass the laxative effect.
There is a Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for magnesium, however some people may benefit from a higher dose. It is possible to consume too much magnesium, but it is generally so safe that a definitive maximum amount has yet to be determined.
You can eliminate most concerns by taking a soluble form of magnesium supplement and following the recommended dosage instructions. However, if you feel you should take more magnesium, speak with your doctor first.
In The Magnesium Miracle, Dr. Dean has listed the 4 contraindications to magnesium supplementation:
- Kidney failure. With kidney failure, there is an inability to clear magnesium from the kidneys.
- Myasthenia gravis. The intravenous administration could accentuate muscle relaxation and collapse the respiratory muscles.
- Excessively slow heart rate. Slow heart rates can be made even slower, as magnesium relaxes the heart. Slow heart rates often require an artificial pacemaker.
- Bowel obstruction. The main route of elimination of oral magnesium is through the bowel.
While most of these conditions are unlikely, it’s always wise to speak with a healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or taking
- Workinger, J. L., et al. (2018)."Challenges in the Diagnosis of Magnesium Status." Nutrients 10(9).
- Grober U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015 Sep; 7(9): 8199–8226.