Experts estimate that about 75 percent of Americans don’t get enough magnesium daily. And that’s a real concern. Every cell in your body requires this essential nutrient, and it plays a key role in hundreds of biological functions—including metabolizing the all-important vitamin D.
So, it’s not surprising that boosting your levels of magnesium can help protect you against some of today’s biggest health threats…
Magnesium protects against five major ailments
1 & 2.) Heart disease and stroke. Magnesium relaxes—and helps deliver energy to—your muscles (including your heart muscle!). It also helps the body produce insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone needed for long-term muscle capacity and strength.
Magnesium also plays a critical role in supporting cardiovascular health. Specifically, it improves circulation by relaxing your blood vessels. This function can protect you against diseases related to poor circulation, including heart disease and stroke.
In fact, in a recent meta-analysis, men and women who took 368 mg per day of magnesium significantly reduced both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings in just three months. And of course, controlling high blood pressure is the No. 1 thing you can do to lower your heart attack and stroke risk. In a similar study, just getting the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of magnesium (400 mg per day) reduced stroke risk by nearly one-third!
3.) Type II diabetes. Magnesium also plays a key role in regulating blood sugar and supporting a normal insulin response. In fact, research indicates that people with a low magnesium intake have a higher risk of developing Type II diabetes. And almost half of all people with Type II diabetes have low levels of magnesium in their blood.
But in one study, people with Type II diabetes who took magnesium each day experienced significant improvements in blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c levels (HbA1C)—the long–term measure of blood sugar control—compared to a control group in just 16 weeks!
In a similar study, people with Type II diabetes who took magnesium experienced significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This finding is key, as magnesium seems to help protect against both Type II diabetes and heart disease…two related conditions known as cardiometabolic disease.
4.) Depression. Magnesium plays a critical role in supporting brain function and mood. In fact, in one recent study, magnesium worked just as well as a prescription antidepressant to improve depression after 12 weeks in elderly patients.
It works by helping the body produce serotonin (the “feel good” neurotransmitter responsible for relaxing the nervous system). Magnesium also supports melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness.
5.) Osteoporosis. You also need magnesium to build strong bones (in addition to calcium, which you should only ever get from foods, and vitamins C and D). People with higher magnesium intake have a higher bone mineral density, which helps reduce the risk of falls, bone fractures, and osteoporosis.
Low awareness about the importance of magnesium
Unfortunately, many health professionals today remain unaware of just how many people are deficient in this critical mineral. Plus, unlike vitamin D, for which we have a good and accurate blood test, screening for magnesium is problematic…
That’s because the body stores most of its magnesium in the bones. So, you can have a relatively “normal” blood level of magnesium, but still be deficient overall. Plus, stress can send magnesium out of your bones and into your blood, making it seem like you have higher overall levels.
In the end, I suggest you make sure you boost your daily intake of magnesium-rich foods, including:
- Fish and meats
- Green leafy vegetables
- Nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans, and walnuts
- Pumpkin seeds
You should also supplement year-round with 200 to 400 mg of magnesium daily. Just make sure you take the right form.
You can also increase your magnesium levels by enjoying a soothing Epsom salt bath.
Or better yet, go for a swim in the ocean, which contains magnesium and other mineral salts. Together with the sun shining down on you, that’s a double prescription for health and happiness.
You can learn more about the importance of magnesium in the March 2016 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures (“The critical mineral that could save you from diabetes, depression, migraines—and more”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.
“Dietary magnesium intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality: a dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.” BMC Med 2016; 14:210
“Magnesium in depression.” Pharmacol Rep, 2013;65(3):547-54. doi.org/ 10.1016/s1734-1140(13)71032-6.
“Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy.” Nutrients, 2015 Sep 23;7(9):8199-226. doi.org/10.3390/nu7095388.
“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.org/10.2337/diacare.26.4.1147.
“The effect of lowering blood pressure by magnesium supplementation in diabetic hypertensive adults with low serum magnesium levels: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” J Hum Hypertens, 2009 Apr; 23(4):245-51. doi.org/10.1038/jhh.2008.129.
“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.
“Effects of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials.” Hypertension 2016;68:324–33. doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.07664