What Does Magnesium Do And Is It Good For You?
Magnesium is one of the many essential minerals we need to function well and remain healthy.
Among the 13 essential minerals, magnesium is the fourth most abundant in the human body and plays numerous roles.
The problem is, many people don’t know what magnesium is. Even worse, countless people aren’t getting enough of the precious nutrient.
To that end, we’ve put together this post to outline what magnesium is, how it works inside the body, and what it does. We’ll also go over some good nutritional sources of magnesium.
Let’s dive in.
What Does Magnesium Do?
As briefly mentioned in the introduction, magnesium is one of the 13 essential minerals we need to consume daily. The mineral plays a role in over 300 processes, ensuring good health, well-being, and longevity.
Over half of the magnesium in the body is found in the bone, with the remaining residing in our muscles, blood, and soft tissues. Every single cell in the body contains magnesium and needs it to function.
It Helps With Energy Production
One of the most notable functions of magnesium relates to energy production. The mineral plays a crucial role in turning the food we consume into usable energy for the trillions of cells in the body.
It Aids Gene Maintenance
Magnesium is essential for the repair and maintenances of DNA and RNA. Because of that, many researchers suggest that magnesium is vital for the prevention of diseases like cancer.
It Helps The Nervous System
The mineral regulates neurotransmitters, which send signals inside the brain and nervous system.
It Can Promote Mental Health
Getting enough magnesium appears essential for regulating brain function and mood. Magnesium deficiency is often linked to depression and anxiety. Some data also suggests that magnesium deficiency might be connected to a higher risk of mental illness. Still, we need more research to conclude.
It Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Acute inflammation can be beneficial and life-saving. For example, inflammation is precisely what leads to tissue swelling that prevents bacteria from entering the body through a wound. But, chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on our health.
Having adequate magnesium levels in the body helps control systemic inflammation, reducing the risk of chronic disease.
It May Improve Training Performance
According to research, consuming magnesium might lead to improvements in athletic performance, which, in turn, can aid weight loss. The mineral plays a vital role in transporting glucose inside our muscles and disposing of lactic acid, which can lower muscle pH levels and contribute to fatigue.
It May Normalize Blood Pressure
Hypertension is often referred to as the silent killer because it causes damage that can eventually lead to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and more. The good news is that magnesium appears to lower blood pressure to healthy levels.
What Foods Are High In Magnesium?
The great thing about magnesium is that there are a variety of foods that contain large amounts of the mineral. As such, the risk of developing a deficiency is much smaller than that of other vitamins and minerals.
Some of the healthiest magnesium-rich foods include:
- Avocado – a medium-sized avocado provides you with around 15 percent of your daily needs
- Bananas – a large banana covers one-tenth of your daily magnesium needs
- Nuts – on average, most nuts offer a fifth of your daily magnesium needs per ounce
- Seeds – most seeds offer slightly more magnesium per serving than nuts
- Tofu – 3 ounces provide your body with around 10 percent of your daily needs
- Leafy green veggies – a cup of most leafy greens can cover up to half of your daily magnesium needs
- Certain fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, etc.) – 6 ounces offer an average of 15 percent of your daily magnesium needs
- Dark chocolate – a single ounce provides 16 to 18 percent of your daily needs
- Legumes – certain varieties cover up to a third of your daily needs per cooked cup
Is Magnesium Good For You?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, magnesium is essential for our health and well-being. Not getting enough of the mineral is linked to issues such as:
- An increased risk of mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, apathy, etc.)
- Muscle weakness and daytime fatigue
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- An increased risk of developing asthma and osteoporosis
- Elevated blood pressure
- Fast and irregular heartbeat
The good news is, having a bit more magnesium than your body needs isn’t vital, and any excess amount gets filtered through the kidneys and excreted through urine.
There is a small risk of hypermagnesemia (excessive amounts of magnesium in the body), but the condition is quite rare and typically seen in people with kidney issues.
Which Magnesium Supplement Is Best?
There is no single best magnesium supplement because there are too many options on the market. What matters most is that the product you choose contains enough magnesium per dose to cover your daily needs. For reference, the recommended daily intake of magnesium is:
- Men – 400 to 420 mg
- Women – 300 to 310 mg
There are magnesium supplements, but you can also consider a multivitamin.
Is Magnesium Good For Anxiety?
As discussed above, magnesium plays a vital role in the brain and nervous system. The mineral promotes good signaling between nerve cells and creates strong neurological pathways, ensuring good communication between the body and mind.
But what about magnesium for anxiety? We all know how debilitating anxiety can be because we’ve all experienced it at one point or another. Anxiety can range from a mild inconvenience to a nerve-racking experience that keeps us up at night.
The good news is that, yes, magnesium appears to be beneficial for anxiety. According to some research, magnesium can treat anxiety and reduce fear and panic.
Can You Take Magnesium When Pregnant?
Magnesium continues to be important during pregnancy, so making sure to get enough of it is essential. The recommended daily dose for women is 300 to 310 mg, but it never hurts to consult your doctor and get their opinion on the matter. Some research suggests that pregnant women need slightly more magnesium––up to 360 mg per day.
Tracking your magnesium levels and the remaining essential vitamins and minerals is necessary for your health and the proper development of your baby.
Does Magnesium Help Sore Muscles?
We’ve all experienced the bittersweet feeling of muscle soreness that occurs 24 to 48 hours after working out or doing manual labor. Depending on who you are, the feeling can be more bitter than sweet, but some folks enjoy it because it suggests that we’ve had a good workout.
Regardless of how you feel about soreness, you’ve likely sought ways to reduce it or prevent it from occurring in the first place. Among the more popular options, tips include:
- Doing moderate amounts of training
- Stretching your muscles
- Taking an ice bath
- Gentle physical activity to promote blood flow
But does magnesium help? We already know that the mineral plays a role in muscle health, and getting enough of it can prevent cramps.
In one study, researchers split 22 college-aged subjects into one of two groups:
- 350 mg of magnesium supplement daily
- A placebo
The protocol lasted for ten days, and researchers recorded subjective measures of muscle soreness, muscle fatigue, and post-training recovery. Researchers concluded:
“Results show significantly reduced muscle soreness, session rating of perceived exertion, acute rating of perceived exertion, and improved perceived recovery after Mg (vs. Pla) supplementation and some evidence for positive performance impact.”
Magnesium is one of the 13 essential minerals we need to consume for good health and longevity.
Getting the mineral through food is one of the best ways to prevent a deficiency, but supplementation is also a viable option.
Among its many functions, magnesium promotes nervous system function, blood pressure regulation, athletic performance, anti-inflammatory activities, and robust mental health.
The mineral is also essential for a healthy pregnancy, and women should pay special attention to their magnesium levels.
Luckily for us, the risk of toxicity is minimal because the body readily excretes any excess amounts through urine.