Benefits of Magnesium – An Essential Mineral with Myriad Advantages
Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for survival. Beyond mere survival, the health advantages of magnesium are extensive.
The prime way to get magnesium is through food and water as well as dietary supplements. While normally magnesium supplements are in pill form, there is potential for supplementing through the skin or IV.
Like calcium and phosphorus, magnesium is considered a macro mineral. We need comparatively large amounts on a regular basis, unlike micro minerals, of which we only need trace amounts.
50%-60% of magnesium stores are found in bone (by comparison 99% of calcium is in bone), with approximately 40% or so being intracellular and contained in soft tissues. Only about 1% of magnesium is stored in the blood; this explains the drawbacks of simple blood tests as an accurate measure of the body’s magnesium stores.
Let’s continue to examine the benefits of magnesium.
The Many Benefits of Magnesium – A Multitude of Benefits that Magnesium Provides
The physiological benefits of magnesium are widespread.
For starters, magnesium is a cofactor in over 350 cellular enzymes, including several related to energy production.
Magnesium’s effects are widespread throughout the body. It’s no surprise that the benefits of magnesium are far reaching.
Among many functions, magnesium is important for proper bone and cartilage formation; effective vascular tone; muscle contraction, nerve transmission; and hormone production and regulation including serotonin, insulin and the male and female sex hormones, among others. … These are but a smattering of the benefits of magnesium.
In addition to the above, magnesium is required for the proper metabolism of minerals and vitamins including calcium, potassium, zinc, copper iron, sodium, as well as Vitamin B1 and nitric oxide. Magnesium also increases the efficiency of Vitamin D, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C absorption and effect in the body.
In short, magnesium is an important nutrient to ensure is in your diet in sufficient amounts. Unfortunately, the opposite is the case.
Magnesium deficiency is widespread.
The result? …
The potential benefits of magnesium often are not achieved.
Instead of experiencing the benefits of magnesium; many people suffer the effects of magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium – Why we don’t Get Enough? How we are prevented from Maximizing the Benefits of Magnesium
There are several reasons why we don’t get enough magnesium.
Magnesium Deficiency Diseases and Conditions
Because of magnesium’s systemic effects throughout the body, deficiency can cause or exacerbate a variety of health conditions.
How Much Do you Need to Reap the Benefits of Magnesium - Ideal/Optimal/Recommended Amounts of Magnesium
The government’s recommended intake for Magnesium is 400 mg to 420 mg for adult (age 14 +) men; and 310 mg to 360 mg for adult (age 14 +) women with an additional 40 mg during pregnancy. This works out to approximately 6 mg of magnesium/per kg/per day, according to Dr. Carolyn Dean in her book The Magnesium Miracle.
It follows that a 59 kg (130 pound adult) requires at least 355 mg of magnesium per day.
Magnesium Can Improve Fitness When Working Out - A study published in the September 2014 issue of American Journal of Nutrition suggests taking oral magnesium supplements can improve physical performance in elderly women.
Press here for more info on the benefits of magnesium in exercise.
Remember, however, that Government RDAs, DVs and the like are designed to avoid deficiency diseases not promote health. Many experts believe that that RDA/DRI for magnesium is the minimal amount needed to replace daily losses; the figures for different ages and genders doesn’t cover the additional amounts needed in the case of stress, athletic or physical activity, obesity, injury or illness, let alone the goal of achieving optimal health.
It follows that a person living in the modern world who juggles all the 21st century stresses of family, work, commuting, paying the bills and perhaps trying to stay fit and cook meals is going to be magnesium deficient if following the government guidelines for magnesium.
Is it no surprise that studies show the US population is chronically deficient in magnesium, let alone not reaping the benefits of enough magnesium? The average US diet supplies about 240 mg per 2,000 calorie diet. Due to poor absorption, only about half of that, 120mg, is usable by the body.
In light of the widespread deficiency and absorption difficulties, the optimal amount of magnesium is closer to 500 mg to 600 mg per day for an adult from all food and supplements, including water and salt. These are the amounts needed, if an individual is to maximize all the health benefits magnesium can offer.
So how much to Supplement to achieve The Benefits of Magnesium?
Depending on your dietary intake and mineral content of your drinking water, you would want to supplement at least 50 to 250 mg per day of magnesium.
While there is no government upper limit (UL) for magnesium, too much may produce loose stool. This, in turn, will reduce magnesium absorption. The magnesium, along with much else, will go right through you. In fact, magnesium is used in many osmotic laxatives (in amounts of 900 mg and more) most often in the form of magnesium citrate. If you experience loose stool when supplementing magnesium, simply decrease the amount and the symptoms should disappear.
Best Type of Magnesium Supplements to Achieve The Benefits of Magnesium
For good absorption, chelated magnesium bound to amino acids and magnesium citrate are recommended.
Magnesium oxide, one of the cheapest and most available forms of magnesium supplements, and magnesium sulfate are not recommended because they are not well absorbed. As mentioned only 4% of magnesium oxide is metabolized.
Alternatives to oral supplements are via IV supplementation and via magnesium oil applied to the skin and absorbed trans-dermally. Carolyn Deane discusses these forms of supplementation in her book.
Some experts are fans of magnesium taurate, glycinate and orotate, different forms of amino acid chelated magnesium for different health conditions including heart problems. Other practitioners prefer magnesium chloride supplements. Magnesium malate is another form sometimes used in chronic fatigue therapy.
Discuss the form and dosage of magnesium supplements with your health care provider.
How to Best Absorb Magnesium – Magnesium Cofactors – Important for Achieving the Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium is best absorbed when there is sufficient Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B 6, potassium and selenium in the diet.
However, balance is key, even with beneficial nutrients. Calcium is an antagonist to magnesium. Too much calcium, without enough magnesium, can deplete magnesium stores and vice versa.
Experts suggest that when supplementing calcium and magnesium, you supplement a 2:1 ratio calcium to magnesium.
Boosting The Benefits of Magnesium – Eat Magnesium Rich Foods
Avoiding Magnesium Thieves - Maximize Magnesium Benefits
Additional Foods Containing Magnesium - Eat them for Additional Magnesium Benefits
Magnesium rich herbs and spices include burdock root (it can be grated in salads, cooked like a potato) (537 mg/100 g), chickweed ( 529 mg/100g), dandelion ( 157 mg/100g) nettles ( 860 mg/100g) along with cilantro/coriander ( 26 mg/100 g), and purslane ( 68 mg/100g) and garlic ( 36 mg/100 g).
Dried fruit also provide magnesium including apricots ( 62 mg/100g), prunes ( 40 mg/100g), figs ( 71 mg/100g), raisins ( 35 mg/100 g) and dates ( 62 mg/100 g).
Whole grains and legumes are good sources of magnesium including whole wheat and rye listed above along with brown rice ( 88 mg/100g), cooked Soybeans ( 88 mg/100g) and cooked beans ( 37 g/100g).
Vegetables and fruits are good sources of magnesium including potatoes with skin (34 mg/100 g), fresh peas ( 35 mg/100 g), , sweet potato (31 mg/100 g), beets (25 mg/100 g), broccoli (24 mg/100 mg), cauliflower (24 mg/100 g), carrot (23 mg/100g), celery (22 mg/100g) and blackberries (30 mg/100 g).
Beef (21 mg/100g), chicken (19 mg/100 g) and milk (13mg/100 g) contain minor amounts of magnesium.
Magnesium Absorption Problems Can Limit Magnesium Benefits
One challenge getting enough magnesium is that, in general, magnesium is poorly absorbed.
Depending on the food, only about 50% of magnesium is absorbed by the body; with magnesium oxide, a common and cheap form of supplemental magnesium, only about 4% is absorbed.
Even some seemingly magnesium rich foods are not the bonanza they first appear. Wheat Bran is magnesium rich at 490 mg/100g. However it contains phytates that block magnesium absorption. Not all of the magnesium will be absorbed.
In order to maximize magnesium absorption, it’s important to ensure your diet contains all the cofactors that boost magnesium metabolism, along with enough hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Finally, it’s important in order to maximize magnesium absorption and, therefore, achieve sufficient magnesium benefits, to choose a supplement form of magnesium that is well absorbed.
How to know if you are Magnesium Deficient? The form and benefits of Magnesium Testing
Some Final Thoughts on Magnesium Benefits
Remember that you need sufficient magnesium, not only to avoid disease and ill health, but to get the benefits of magnesium – good energy and optimal health.
With a few changes to your diet and, if necessary, implementation of a sensible program of magnesium supplements, you can quickly and effectively reap the advantages of the many and widespread health benefits of magnesium.
Click here to read more about what the USDA says about the energy benefits of Magnesium.
Click here to read more about Magnesium Foods.
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