Health Benefits of magnesium
Magnesium deficiency is a major cause of heart disease and diabetes, as well as a significant number of other common ailments, which entail a serious risk of dying prematurely. Every organ in the body — especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys — needs the mineral magnesium.
To remain youthful, energetic and healthy, you really need to know your magnesium facts; this wonderful information could even save your life! If you don’t get enough magnesium, chances are you’re aging faster than you need to and may need to consider taking magnesium supplements. Interestingly enough, the symptoms of magnesium deficiency are identical to those often found in old age: irregular heartbeat, clogged arteries, increased risk of heart attack, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and predisposition to diabetes.
The effects of a low intake of magnesium can be worsened by the high levels of fat, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, coffee, sodium and phosphate in our diets. Low magnesium, say the experts, causes heart arrhythmia and is involved in migraine attacks. Many of the studies noted that drugs used in the treatment of asthma cause a loss of magnesium. Magnesium is an essential element which influences many enzymes needed to produce cellular energy and nerve and muscle message transmission. It affects nervous, muscular and cardiovascular systems. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health.
Think of magnesium as the relaxation mineral. Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff — whether it is a body part or an even a mood — is a sign of magnesium deficiency.
This critical mineral is actually responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions and is found in all of your tissues — but mainly in your bones, muscles, and brain. You must have it for your cells to make energy, for many different chemical pumps to work, to stabilize membranes, and to help muscles relax. Magnesium activates many enzyme systems (such as those involved in protein digestion and energy production). The body takes in magnesium from the diet and excretes it in urine and stool. Magnesium in its carbonate and sulfate forms has been used for centuries as a laxative. Magnesium is intimately interlocked, biologically with calcium.
Magnesium is a powerful antioxidant that keeps cell membranes flexible and protected against the onslaught of cancer-causing free radicals. Magnesium facts such as these, can give you the information you need to prevent premature aging and even death. If you have been deficient in magnesium for a long time, you are probably also deficient in Vitamin E. This is likely because Vitamin E supplies in the body become exhausted fighting off the free radicals encouraged by the lack of magnesium. Magnesium supplements in conjunction with other magnesium sources will therefore protect the body’s vitamin E supplies and thereby protect against aging.
You might be magnesium deficient if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Muscle cramps or twitches
- Sensitivity to loud noises
- Anal spasms
- Chronic fatigue
- Kidney stones
- High blood pressure
- Menstrual cramps
- Irritable bladder
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Trouble swallowing
The magnesium facts make it clear that the benefits of magnesium cannot be underestimated. It protects our cells against aging in many ways as well as protecting us against heart disease, lowering blood pressure, protecting against diabetes preventing the recurrence of kidney stones and improving the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Magnesium supplements also strengthen muscles and work with calcium to ensure strong bones and protect against osteoporosis. If taken along with a diet rich in magnesium sources, they can protect against a range of illnesses.
- Muscle function: Magnesium also helps maintain proper muscle function. It works to keep muscles properly relaxed. Because of its benefits in relieving stiff muscles, magnesium can be especially beneficial to fibromyalgia patients.
- One of the reasons that magnesium lowers blood pressure is that it relaxes the smooth muscles that dilate the arteries.
- Relief for asthmatic patients: Chronic asthma patients may be able to normalize their breathing with help of magnesium supplements that aids in relaxing bronchial muscles and normalize breathing. Even wheezing and breathlessness can be relieved through administration of intravenous magnesium.
- Bone health: Magnesium is directly related to the bone density. Inadequacy of this mineral could be a cause of osteoporosis.
- Pregnancy: Magnesium is one of the vital elements during pregnancy. Proper intake of magnesium supplements is extremely beneficial for reducing osteoporosis risk, increasing the pain tolerance level resulting in a smooth delivery process and in optimization of blood pressure too.
- Treatment for back pain: Magnesium helps treating people with severe backaches by relaxing back muscles, kidney stress and muscular tension. Magnesium also helps in absorption of calcium, which may lead to healing of the bones.
- Heart Attack: Deficiency of magnesium results in higher probability of heart disease. It could also become a cause of death or result in more risk of heart ailments. Magnesium protects the heart from irregular heartbeats and works as a cure to heart attack. Magnesium also is vital for maintaining a healthy heart. Magnesium helps stabilize the rhythm of the heart and helps prevent abnormal blood clotting in the heart. It can significantly lower the chance of heart attacks and strokes, and can even aid in the recovery from a heart attack or stroke. Finally it limits muscle damage during a heart attack. Magnesium prevents heart attacks, because it keeps calcium from building up in your arteries and it helps maintain a regular heartbeat. While too much calcium causes the heart muscles to contract too much, which may cause heart attack, magnesium causes muscles to relax. That’s why the prescription drugs known as calcium channel blockers are so popular; they prevent calcium from entering your heart. The American Heart Journal calls magnesium “nature’s calcium channel blocker.”
- Cramps and fatigue: Symptoms of cramps in leg as well as fatigue are normally visible due to magnesium deficiency. Proper intake of magnesium supplements acts as a cure for improving the leg cramp problem.
- Constipation: Magnesium provides quick relief from constipated condition. High dosage of water soluble magnesium supplements is known to bring sound relief for severe constipated state.
- Diabetes: The health benefits of magnesium are contributed towards diabetic patients, as this mineral helps improve insulin reaction to blood sugar level. Magnesium supplements are vital for all diabetic patients as many suffer from magnesium deficiency. Magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism, so it influences the release and activity of insulin, the hormone that helps control blood glucose levels. Low blood levels of magnesium are frequently seen if you have type 2 diabetes. This low magnesium state worsens insulin resistance, a condition that often precedes diabetes. If you have insulin resistance, you do not use insulin efficiently and require greater amounts of insulin to maintain blood sugar within normal levels. Your kidneys lose their ability to retain magnesium during periods of severe hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose). Losing magnesium through your urine results in lower blood levels of magnesium. If you are an older adult, correcting magnesium depletion may improve your insulin response and action. The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study follow more than 170,000 health professionals through biennial questionnaires. Women were followed for 18 years and the men were followed for 12 years. Over time, the risk for developing type 2 diabetes was greater in men and women with a lower magnesium intake. This important study supports the dietary recommendation to increase your consumption of major food sources of magnesium, and to supplement any shortfall in your diet with a good magnesium supplement such as AlgaeCal®. In the Iowa Women’s Health Study, an examination of almost 40,000 women, researchers also examined the association between magnesium intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes over an average of 6 years. Among women who were overweight, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was significantly greater among those with lower magnesium intake. Numerous other studies support diets high in magnesium containing foods and magnesium supplementation for diabetics or pre-diabetic conditions.
- Cure psychiatric disorders: Magnesium is known to cure worst forms of psychiatric dysfunctions such as panic attacks, stress, anxiety and undue agitations. By helping nerve impulse and relaxing muscles, many panic and anxiety disorders can be eased. It can’t cure these disorders, but it can help.
- High blood pressure: Hypertension is one of the major reasons for an impending heart attack. People with high blood pressure usually have magnesium deficiency. Therefore, extra nutrients and mineral supplements with magnesium content are vital for them to evade additional medical complications. Magnesium also aids in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
- Migraine: Migraine attacks badly affect many Americans, especially, the female gender Magnesium supplements and liquids considerably reduces the severity of such attacks and may also help in reducing the rate of recurrence.
- Production of collagen: Magnesium is important for producing proteins that are slowly transformed into collagen.
- Absorption of minerals: Magnesium helps to absorb vital minerals and vitamins like sodium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.
- Activation of enzymes: The health benefits of magnesium include boost in the energy production in the body and activation of enzymes to create cellular energy.
- Maintaining adequate nutrients: Magnesium helps in regulation of calcium levels in the body such as vitamin D, copper, zinc etc.
- Regulates sugar level: Magnesium aids in regulating blood sugar status, thus promoting normal blood pressure.
- Controlling bladder: Many women who have blabber problems and frequent urge to urinate may find relief by taking magnesium supplements.
- Preventing development of osteoporosis: Magnesium along with calcium and Vitamin D should be taken throughout the growing up years and adulthood eliminates the chances of developing osteoporosis in later years.
- Prevention of eclamptic seizures: Magnesium sulfate is best treatment for preventing eclamptic seizures in expectant mothers who have hypertension.
- Magnesium and Osteoporosis Magnesium deficiency may be a risk factor for osteoporosis because magnesium deficiency alters calcium metabolism and the hormones that regulate calcium. Several human studies have suggested that supplementing with magnesium can improve your bone mineral density.In a study of older adults, a greater magnesium intake maintained bone mineral density to a greater degree than a lower magnesium intake. Diets with recommended levels of magnesium are beneficial for bone health, but further investigation on the exact role of magnesium in bone metabolism and osteoporosis is needed.
Eat Foods High in Magnesium
Include the following in your diet as often as you can:
Kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, soy beans, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens, and garlic.
Take Magnesium Supplements
Dosage: The RDA (the minimum amount needed) for magnesium is about 300 mg a day. Most of us get far less than 200 mg. Some may need much more depending on their condition. Most people benefit from 400 to 1,000 mg a day. The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good. Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. They are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements). Side effects from too much magnesium include diarrhea, which can be avoided if you switch to magnesium glycinate. Most minerals are best taken as a team with other minerals in a multi-mineral formula. Taking a hot bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is a good way to absorb and get much needed magnesium.
Do not give magnesium supplements to a child without a doctor’s supervision.
- Children 1 – 3 years of age: 40 – 80 mg daily
- Children 4 – 8 years of age: 130 mg daily
- Children 9 – 13 years of age: 240 mg daily
- Males 14 – 18 years of age: 410 mg daily
- Females 14 – 18 years of age: 360 mg daily
- Pregnant females 14 – 18 years of age: 400 mg daily
- Breastfeeding females 14 – 18 years of age: 360 mg daily
- Males 19 – 30 years of age: 400 mg daily
- Females 19 – 30 years of age: 310 mg daily
- Males 31 years of age and over: 420 mg daily
- Females 31 years of age and over: 320 mg daily
- Pregnant females 19 – 30 years of age: 350 mg daily
- Pregnant females 31 and over: 360 mg daily
- Breastfeeding females 19 – 30 years of age: 310 mg daily
- Breastfeeding females 31 years of age and over: 320 mg daily
A person’s need for magnesium increases during pregnancy, recovery from surgery and illnesses, and athletic training. Speak with your physician.
According to University of Maryland Medical Center, because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider. Since magnesium is excreted by the kidneys, people with heart or kidney disease should not take magnesium supplements except under their doctor’s supervision.
It is very rare to overdose on magnesium from food. However, people who ingest large amounts of milk of magnesia (as a laxative or antacid), epsom salts (as a laxative or tonic), or magnesium supplements may overdose, especially if they have kidney problems.
Too much magnesium can cause serious health problems, including nausea, vomiting, severely lowered blood pressure, confusion, slowed heart rate, respiratory paralysis, deficiencies of other minerals, coma, cardiac arrhythmias, cariac arrest, and death.
More common side effects from magnesium include upset stomach and diarrhea.
Magnesium competes with calcium for absorption and can cause a calcium deficiency if calcium levels are already low. Some medications may lower magnesium levels in the body. These include chemotherapy drugs, diuretics, digoxin (Lanoxin), steroids, and certain antibiotics.
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use magnesium without first talking to your health care provider.
Aminoglycosides — Concomitant use with magnesium may cause neuromuscular weakness and paralysis.
Antibiotics — Taking magnesium supplements may reduce the absorption of quinolone antibiotics, tetracycline antibiotics, and nitrofurantoin (Macrodandin). Magnesium should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking these medications. Quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics include:
- Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
- Tetracycline (Sumycin)
- Doxycycline (Vibramycin)
- Minocycline (Minocin)
Blood Pressure Medications, Calcium Channel Blockers — Magnesium may increase the risk of negative side effects (such as dizziness, nausea, and fluid retention) from calcium channel blockers (particularly nifedipine or Procardia) in pregnant women. Other calcium channel blockers include:
- Aamlodipine (Norvasc)
- Diltiazem (Cardizem)
- Felodipine (Plendil)
- Verapamil (Calan)
Medications for diabetes — Magnesium hydroxide, commonly found in antacids such as Alternagel, may increase the absorption of some medications used to control blood sugar levels (particularly glipizide or Glucatrol and glyburide or Micronase). If you take these medications to control blood sugar, your doctor may need to adjust your dose.
Digoxin (Lanoxin) — Low blood levels of magnesium can increase negative effects from digoxin, including heart palpitations and nausea. In addition, digoxin can cause more magnesium to be lost in the urine. A doctor will monitor magnesium levels in people taking digoxin to see whether they need a magnesium supplement.
Diuretics — Diuretics known as loop (such as furosemide or Lasix) and thiazide (including hydrochlorothiazide) can lower magnesium levels. For this reason, doctors who prescribe diuretics may recommend magnesium supplements as well.
Fluoroquinones — Concomitant use with magnesium may decrease absorption and effectiveness. Flouroquinones should be taken a minimum of 4 hours before any products containing magnesium.
Hormone Replacement Therapy — Magnesium levels tend to decrease during menopause. Clinical studies suggest, however, that hormone replacement therapy may help prevent the loss of this mineral. Postmenopausal women, or those taking hormone replacement therapy, should talk with a health care provider about the risks and benefits of magnesium supplementation.
Labetol — Concomitant use with magneisum can slow heartbeat abnormally and reduce cardiac output.
Levomethadyl — Concomitant use with magnesium may precipitate a heart condition called QT prolongation.
Levothyroxine — There have been case reports of magnesium containing antacids reducing the effectiveness of levothyroxine, a medication that treats underactive thyroid.
Penicillamine — Penicillamine, a medication used to treat Wilson’s disease (a condition characterized by high levels of copper in the body) and rheumatoid arthritis, can inactivate magnesium, particularly when high doses of the drug are used over a long period of time. Supplementation with magnesium and other nutrients may reduce side effects associated with penicillamine. If you take penicillamine, a health care provider can determine whether magnesium supplements are right for you.
Tiludronate (Skelid) and Alendronate (Fosamax) — Magnesium may interfere with absorption of medications used in osteoporosis, including alendronate (Fosamax). Magnesium or antacids containing magnesium should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking these medications.
Others — Aminoglycoside antibiotics (such as gentamicin and tobramycin), thiazide diuretics (such as hydrochlorothiazide), loop diuretics (such as furosemide and bumetanide), amphotericin B, corticosteroids (prednisone or Deltasone), antacids, and insulin may lower magnesium levels. Please refer to the depletions monographs on some of these medications for more information.