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Magnesium: Benefits for Your Heart, Mind, and More

Every cell in your body needs magnesium. Among the many health benefits magnesium delivers, its role in heart health is key. Here’s your guide to magnesium.

By 1MD Nutrition Editorial Staff

5 minute read

Last Updated June 1, 2022

Magnesium: Benefits for Your Heart, Mind, and More

Magnesium is a mineral that is found naturally in the earth, sea plants, and the human body. Most of the magnesium found in the body is in the bones, and the rest can be found in tissues, muscles, and blood. Every cell in your body requires magnesium to function, making it an essential mineral for overall health

One of the primary roles of this mineral is supporting 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, 50% of people consume less than the daily recommended amount of magnesium. In addition to negatively affecting the functions listed above, a lack of magnesium can also influence your heart health.

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.

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. Maintaining this balance helps to support healthy blood pressure and circulation. This, combined with a healthy heartbeat, supports optimal heart function.  

Additional Benefits of Magnesium

The ability to promote healthy cardiovascular function is just one of magnesium's benefits. It also supports numerous systems in the body.

Cell signaling 

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

There are specific receptors in nerve cells that support brain development, memory, and learning. Magnesium stays in these receptors to promote proper nerve cell activity and signaling.

Mental health support

Magnesium can also support brain function, and mental health. When magnesium levels are maintained through diet or supplementation, brain signaling is more efficient, which supports healthy cognitive mood function and a healthy mood.

Muscle contraction regulation

In the same way magnesium helps the heart muscles to relax, it does this for other muscles in the body too. It helps to balance calcium levels for proper muscle relaxation and contraction cycles. Maintaining magnesium levels benefits overall 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 can help maintain optimal magnesium levels through supplements. The daily recommended dosage for magnesium is 420 mg for men and 310 mg for women.

What is equally important as the dose, is the type of magnesium consumed. Some forms are better absorbed by the body. 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 studied and naturally-sourced ingredients are considered your best options. 

Care must be taken with magnesium, as very large doses can interfere with your health. Consult with your doctor before starting a magnesium supplement, and take the recommended daily amount, not forgetting to include any magnesium you get from food each day.

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. Make sure you get the magnesium you need each day, so you can aid cellular function, support metabolic processes, and promote overall heart health.