5 Reasons You Need Magnesium

Are you having too many sleepless, restless nights? Do you get stress and tension headaches? Do you struggle to get through your workout without feeling wasted? These could be signs of stress and burnout, but they could also be signs that you are low in magnesium.

Magnesium is one of those minerals that we just don’t think about until we start to notice its absence. But its influence over our health is enormous. Magnesium is present in every cell of your body and acts as a cofactor for more than 600 biochemical reactions. It’s involved in energy production and muscle movement, helps regulate your blood pressure and heart rhythm, and helps control your body’s stress response system.1 Not for nothing do they call it “essential.”  

Yet many of us don’t get enough. In fact, studies show that about half the U.S. population is low in magnesium.2 One reason is that there is less magnesium in our food and water than there used to be, thanks to mineral depletion in our soil and the use of water cleansing treatments. Regular caffeine and alcohol can also deplete our magnesium levels. Or we may simply not be eating enough leafy greens, beans, whole grains, and nuts to get our daily dose of magnesium.

Low magnesium levels may show up first as nervous tension, physical tension, disrupted sleep patterns, or muscle soreness and fatigue. In the long term, it can lead to more serious problems for your heart health, bone health, mental health, and more. Here are 5 good reasons to make sure you are getting enough magnesium:

1. Good Sleep

One of the most common reasons to take a magnesium supplement is to help with sleep. Magnesium helps both the body and mind to relax, calming the nerves and easing muscle tension and restlessness.3 If you’ve ever taken an Epsom salt bath to relax before bed, you’ve experienced magnesium therapy: that’s your body absorbing magnesium from the Epsom salts through the skin. 

Magnesium also regulates important neurotransmitters involved in sleep and relaxation, such as melatonin, glutathione, and GABA.4 Studies have shown that taking magnesium supplements can improve the efficiency and quality of sleep, especially for older adults.5,6 Magnesium and melatonin also make an effective combination.7

2. Exercise Performance

Your body uses 10-20% more magnesium during exercise.8 But you don’t want to run low on magnesium during your workout. Your body needs magnesium to convert nutrients into energy (ATP) for your cells. It needs magnesium to move blood sugar into the muscles, regulate muscle contractions, and dispose of lactate build-up that can cause muscle fatigue.9  

Muscle exhaustion, weakness, cramping, and soreness are all common symptoms of low magnesium. Studies have shown that taking magnesium supplements can help give a boost to physical performance, improve exercise tolerance, and reduce physical stress, whether you’re an athlete or an older adult.9,10,11,12

3. Balanced Mood

Magnesium is a key player in your nervous system and has a major effect on your body’s stress response. It helps regulate important neurotransmitters that calm the mind and stabilize the mood. Lack of magnesium can lead to increased stress, irritability, and nervousness,13 and studies have shown a strong link between low magnesium levels and low moods.14,15  

Studies suggest that the risk of a mood imbalance is 50% greater for those with the lowest levels of magnesium, compared to those with the highest levels,15 so it’s important to make sure you are getting enough. If you are low, studies show that taking magnesium supplements can help stabilize your mood.16,17,18

4. Blood Sugar Balance

Chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the cells in your muscles have trouble absorbing sugar from the bloodstream for energy. Insulin resistance is a precondition for metabolic syndrome and is thought to increase serious heart health risks.

Magnesium plays a central role in delivering sugar to the muscles from the bloodstream. It’s no accident that low levels of magnesium are linked with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome,19,20 as well as a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.21,22,23,24 If you do have a magnesium deficiency, studies suggest that taking magnesium supplements can support healthy insulin metabolism and blood sugar balance.25,26,27

5. Bone Health

Did you know that 60% of the magnesium in your body is in your bones? Though calcium gets all the attention as a bone-building mineral, your body actually needs magnesium in order to use calcium properly. Magnesium moves calcium out of the blood and soft tissues and into the bones, helping to support bone mineral density and reduce the risk of calcification in the arteries. This is why it’s a good idea to take calcium and magnesium together.

Studies show that getting enough magnesium is linked with better bone density and lower risk of fractures, particularly as we age.28,29,30 Magnesium supplements are especially recommended for postmenopausal women, who are at highest risk for bone loss, and yet are likely to be magnesium deficient.31 One study found that women who met the recommended magnesium intake reduced their risk of bone fractures by 27%.32

Getting Enough Magnesium

Magnesium can be found in many wholesome foods, including spinach, avocado, black beans, almonds, and soymilk. If you eat these foods regularly, and take a multivitamin, that may be enough to maintain healthy magnesium levels. But if you are having sleep or mood problems, like to work out intensely, are concerned about your blood sugar balance, or are at risk for bone loss, you may want to add a magnesium supplement.

Our NATURELO Magnesium supplement delivers 200 mg of Magnesium Glycinate Chelate, a form of magnesium that’s especially easy for your body to absorb. We combine it with a blend of plant-based, whole food sources of magnesium such as spinach, black bean, quinoa, and pumpkin seed.

For sleep problems, we recommend our natural Sleep Formula, which includes both magnesium and melatonin, together with other relaxing herbs. And to support healthy bone density, we recommend our Bone Strength formula. It includes plant-based calcium and magnesium, along with vitamin D3, vitamin K2, vitamin C, and other essential bone-building minerals, all working together in synergy to help maintain bone health.

References

1.  Spritzler, Franziska. “10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Magnesium.” Healthline, Sep 2018.

2. Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. “Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated?” Nutr Rev. 2012 Mar;70(3):153-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00465.x. Epub 2012 Feb 15. PMID: 22364157.

3. Hornyak M, Voderholzer U, Hohagen F, Berger M, Riemann D. “Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome: an open pilot study.” Sleep. 1998 Aug 1;21(5):501-5. doi: 10.1093/sleep/21.5.501. PMID: 9703590.

4. Möykkynen T, Uusi-Oukari M, Heikkilä J, Lovinger DM, Lüddens H, Korpi ER. “Magnesium potentiation of the function of native and recombinant GABA(A) receptors.” Neuroreport. 2001 Jul 20;12(10):2175-9. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200107200-00026. PMID: 11447329.

5. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. “The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec;17(12):1161-9. PMID: 23853635; PMCID: PMC3703169.

6. Held K, Antonijevic IA, Künzel H, Uhr M, Wetter TC, Golly IC, Steiger A, Murck H. “Oral Mg(2+) supplementation reverses age-related neuroendocrine and sleep EEG changes in humans.” Pharmacopsychiatry. 2002 Jul;35(4):135-43. doi: 10.1055/s-2002-33195. PMID: 12163983.

7. Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Monteferrario F, Antoniello N, Manni R, Klersy C. “The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Jan;59(1):82-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03232.x. PMID: 21226679.

8. Nielsen FH, Lukaski HC. “Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise.” Magnes Res. 2006 Sep;19(3):180-9. PMID: 17172008.

9. Chen HY, Cheng FC, Pan HC, Hsu JC, Wang MF. “Magnesium enhances exercise performance via increasing glucose availability in the blood, muscle, and brain during exercise.” PLoS One. 2014 Jan 20;9(1):e85486. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085486. PMID: 24465574; PMCID: PMC3896381.

10. Setaro L, Santos-Silva PR, Nakano EY, Sales CH, Nunes N, Greve JM, Colli C. “Magnesium status and the physical performance of volleyball players: effects of magnesium supplementation.” J Sports Sci. 2014;32(5):438-45. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2013.828847. Epub 2013 Sep 9. PMID: 24015935.

11. Golf SW, Bender S, Grüttner J. “On the significance of magnesium in extreme physical stress.” Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1998 Sep;12 Suppl 2:197-202. doi: 10.1023/a:1007708918683. PMID: 9794094.

12. Veronese N, Berton L, Carraro S, Bolzetta F, De Rui M, Perissinotto E, Toffanello ED, Bano G, Pizzato S, Miotto F, Coin A, Manzato E, Sergi G. “Effect of oral magnesium supplementation on physical performance in healthy elderly women involved in a weekly exercise program: a randomized controlled trial.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Sep;100(3):974-81. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.080168. Epub 2014 Jul 9. PMID: 25008857.

13. Boyle, Neil Bernard et al. “The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review.Nutrients vol. 9,5 429. 26 Apr. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9050429

14. Serefko A, Szopa A, Wlaź P, Nowak G, Radziwoń-Zaleska M, Skalski M, Poleszak E. “Magnesium in depression.” Pharmacol Rep. 2013;65(3):547-54. doi: 10.1016/s1734-1140(13)71032-6. PMID: 23950577.

15. Tarleton EK, Littenberg B. “Magnesium intake and depression in adults.” J Am Board Fam Med. 2015 Mar-Apr;28(2):249-56. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2015.02.140176. PMID: 25748766.

16. Barragán-Rodríguez L, Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. “Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, equivalent trial.” Magnes Res. 2008 Dec;21(4):218-23. PMID: 19271419.

17. Eby GA, Eby KL. “Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment.” Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-70. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2006.01.047. Epub 2006 Mar 20. PMID: 16542786.

18. Tarleton, Emily K et al. “Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial.PloS one vol. 12,6 e0180067. 27 Jun. 2017, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0180067

19.  Gröber, Uwe et al. “Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy.Nutrients vol. 7,9 8199-226. 23 Sep. 2015, doi:10.3390/nu7095388

20. Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. “Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated?” Nutr Rev. 2012 Mar;70(3):153-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00465.x. Epub 2012 Feb 15. PMID: 22364157.

21. Barbagallo M, Dominguez LJ. “Magnesium and type 2 diabetes.” World J Diabetes. 2015 Aug 25;6(10):1152-7. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i10.1152. PMID: 26322160; PMCID: PMC4549665.

22.  Dong JY, Xun P, He K, Qin LQ. “Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.” Diabetes Care. 2011 Sep;34(9):2116-22. doi: 10.2337/dc11-0518. PMID: 21868780; PMCID: PMC3161260.

23. Hruby A, Meigs JB, O'Donnell CJ, Jacques PF, McKeown NM. “Higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and progression from prediabetes to diabetes in middle-aged americans.” Diabetes Care. 2014 Feb;37(2):419-27. doi: 10.2337/dc13-1397. Epub 2013 Oct 2. PMID: 24089547; PMCID: PMC3898748.

24. Kim DJ, Xun P, Liu K, Loria C, Yokota K, Jacobs DR Jr, He K. “Magnesium intake in relation to systemic inflammation, insulin resistance, and the incidence of diabetes.” Diabetes Care. 2010 Dec;33(12):2604-10. doi: 10.2337/dc10-0994. Epub 2010 Aug 31. PMID: 20807870; PMCID: PMC2992198.

25. Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. “Oral magnesium supplementation improves insulin sensitivity and metabolic control in type 2 diabetic subjects: a randomized double-blind controlled trial.“Diabetes Care. 2003 Apr;26(4):1147-52. doi: 10.2337/diacare.26.4.1147. PMID: 12663588.

26. Jennifer Beatriz Silva Morais, et al. “Effect of magnesium supplementation on insulin resistance in humans: A systematic review.” Nutrition, Volume 38, 2017, Pages 54-60, ISSN 0899-9007, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2017.01.009.

27. Wang J, Persuitte G, Olendzki BC, Wedick NM, Zhang Z, Merriam PA, Fang H, Carmody J, Olendzki GF, Ma Y. “Dietary magnesium intake improves insulin resistance among non-diabetic individuals with metabolic syndrome participating in a dietary trial.” Nutrients. 2013 Sep 27;5(10):3910-9. doi: 10.3390/nu5103910. PMID: 24084051; PMCID: PMC3820051.

28. Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Chen H, Cupples LA, Wilson PW, Kiel DP. “Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women.” Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Apr;69(4):727-36. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/69.4.727. PMID: 10197575.

29. Abraham GE, Grewal H. “A total dietary program emphasizing magnesium instead of calcium. Effect on the mineral density of calcaneous bone in postmenopausal women on hormonal therapy.” J Reprod Med. 1990 May;35(5):503-7. PMID: 2352244.

30. Farsinejad-Marj M, Saneei P, Esmaillzadeh A. “Dietary magnesium intake, bone mineral density and risk of fracture: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Osteoporos Int. 2016 Apr;27(4):1389-1399. doi: 10.1007/s00198-015-3400-y. Epub 2015 Nov 10. PMID: 26556742.

31. Rude RK, Singer FR, Gruber HE. “Skeletal and hormonal effects of magnesium deficiency.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2009 Apr;28(2):131-41. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2009.10719764. PMID: 19828898.

32. Veronese, Nicola et al. “Dietary magnesium intake and fracture risk: data from a large prospective study.The British journal of nutrition vol. 117,11 (2017): 1570-1576. doi:10.1017/S0007114517001350