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, and other essential bone-building minerals, all working together in synergy to help maintain bone health.
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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.
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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.
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