Magnesium: How It Benefits for Your Mind and Body and Dosage Information

By 1MD Editorial Staff

0 minute read

Last Updated February 2, 2021

Magnesium: How It Benefits for Your Mind and Body and Dosage Information

Magnesium is a mineral that you find in the earth, sea plants, and humans. Most of the magnesium found in the body is in the bones, and the rest can be found in tissues, muscles, and blood. Magnesium is essential for overall health because every cell in your body requires it to function. 

One of the primary roles of this mineral is to help enzymes with numerous biochemical reactions. There are over 600 reactions in the body that involve magnesium, including:

♦ Converting food into energy
♦ Creating new proteins from amino acids
♦ Creating and repairing DNA
♦ Contracting and relaxing muscles
♦ Regulation of neurotransmitters through the nervous system

Unfortunately, research shows that over 50% of people consume less than the daily recommended amount of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency impacts every system in your body, as the list above shows. There is also a negative influence on your heart health, as magnesium deficiency has been linked to a number of cardiovascular problems

Magnesium and Your Heart

Magnesium is essential for maintaining a healthy heartbeat. Calcium and magnesium both work to generate heart contractions. Calcium stimulates heart muscle fibers to contract, and magnesium counteracts this, helping them to relax. Proper levels of magnesium are required to keep heartbeats in balance. Without this, calcium can overstimulate heart muscle cells leading to an irregular heartbeat

In addition to this, the sodium-potassium pump that generates electrical impulses requires magnesium. Without magnesium, this pump is unable to transport the ions necessary for heart function. Unbalanced ion concentrations in the heart tissue can lead to irregular heartbeats, negatively affecting blood pressure. Maintaining proper magnesium levels leads to reduced blood pressure. This, combined with a healthy heartbeat, supports optimal heart function.  

Magnesium is also linked to reduced inflammation, which is one of the most common drivers of premature cell aging, obesity, heart disease, and chronic disease. Studies have found that where magnesium levels are low, levels of inflammatory markers are at their highest. Magnesium supplements have been shown to reduce levels of inflammatory proteins in those who are overweight and those with prediabetes. 

There is a strong link between diabetes and heart disease.  Chronically elevated blood sugar levels damage blood vessels and tissues, making individuals with diabetes more at risk of heart disease. Magnesium protects the heart by lowering inflammation as well as promoting healthy blood sugar levels. 

Low magnesium levels are linked to an inability for insulin to control blood sugar. Increasing magnesium intake reduces the risk of developing diabetes. Among those already diagnosed with diabetes, magnesium helps improve blood sugar levels by reducing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is one of the leading causes of diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease. 

Individuals with prediabetes or diabetes need to monitor blood sugar carefully, and this will benefit by maintaining magnesium levels. Insulin resistance is the inability of muscles to properly absorb sugar from the blood. Magnesium supplements improve insulin sensitivity, help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and protect against heart disease. 

Additional Benefits of Magnesium

The ability to promote a healthy heartbeat and support overall heart health is just one of magnesium's benefits. 

Cell signaling 

As an ion, magnesium is important in cell signaling. In addition to helping regulate ion concentrations in the heart, magnesium plays a role in how your brain and body signal each other. 

Signaling serves as a gatekeeper for specific receptors in nerve cells that support brain development, memory, and learning. Magnesium stays in these receptors to prevent nerve cells from becoming stimulated unnecessarily.  Low magnesium levels mean fewer of these receptors are blocked, making the nerve cells more susceptible to stimulation. This can kill nerve cells and cause brain damage. 

Mental health boost

Your mental health also benefits from magnesium. Studies have found that low levels of this mineral are linked to an increased risk of depression. This risk is higher among elderly individuals who likely do not get enough magnesium through diet. 

Magnesium supplements can maintain brain function and signaling to support optimal mental health and reduce the symptoms of depression

Muscle contraction regulation

In the way magnesium helps the heart muscles to relax, it does this for other muscles in the body too. Without magnesium to compete for binding spots, calcium can bind to the muscles causing excessive contraction. This can lead to spasms and cramps. Maintaining magnesium levels benefits muscle function throughout the body. 

Taking Magnesium

You can get magnesium from your diet by consuming foods like spinach, kale, almonds, beans, avocado, oatmeal, and chicken. Older adults with a more limited diet need to maintain optimal magnesium levels through supplement. The daily recommended dosage for magnesium is 420mg for men and 310mg for women. 

What is equally as important as the dose is the type of magnesium consumed. Some forms are better absorbed by the body and more efficient at promoting health benefits. Most supplements on the market contain magnesium oxide, which has the highest amount of mineral magnesium. But, it is also very poorly absorbed. 

To get the most from a supplement, choose one that contains:

♦ Magnesium citrate
♦ Magnesium glycinate
♦ Magnesium malate

Possible Side Effects and Warnings

Magnesium supplements are generally well tolerated by adults and considered safe for consumption. Higher quality supplements with clinically tested ingredients will work more efficiently and will not have as many side effects if any at all. 

When opting for the type of magnesium that is more readily absorbed by the body, there is little risk of side effects. Any side effects would be mild and can include:

♦ Bloating
♦ Diarrhea
♦ Nausea
♦ Vomiting

Care must be taken with magnesium as very large doses can cause serious problems such as irregular heartbeat, confusion, low blood pressure, and changes in breathing. Consult with your doctor, and take the recommended daily amount, not forgetting to include any magnesium you get from food each day. 

Magnesium can lower blood pressure, so check with your doctor if you are taking any blood pressure medications. The ability to relax muscles also means you need to get medical advice on taking magnesium with any muscle relaxants. Combining magnesium with these drugs can enhance their effects leading to dangerous outcomes. 

The Bottom Line

Every cell in your body needs magnesium. It plays a role in hundreds of cellular reactions. Among the many health benefits magnesium delivers, its role in heart health is paramount. Magnesium deficiency can increase your risk of heart disease in several ways. By ensuring you get the magnesium you need each day, you can promote cellular function, support metabolic processes, and protect your heart.