Miracle? No, Just Magnesium Benefits
Which mineral is in some way responsible for 300+ enzyme reactions, is found in all of your tissues, helps your cells make energy, helps to stabilize membranes, and is a key component to helping your muscles relax?
What does Magnesium Deficiency Look Like?
If you are deficient in this critical mineral, you might notice these signs or symptoms:
- Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
- Muscle cramping or twitches
- Migraines or headaches
- Low blood pressure
- Poor nail growth
A deficiency in magnesium, which an estimated 65% of the adult American population is, has been linked to general body inflammation. In fact, magnesium is so important to our body systems that there are more than 3,500 medical references and research studies on magnesium deficiencies.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, magnesium plays a role in the function of every organ in the human body, but especially the function of the heart, muscles, and kidneys, relies on magnesium. It also is important for teeth and bones. It is key to activating enzymes in energy production processes, and regulates levels of other minerals and vitamins in the body.
Magnesium has been found, through scientific study, to be helpful in the treatment of many conditions. This includes: depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, arrhythmia, high blood pressure, migraines, osteoporosis, preeclampsia and eclampsia, PMS, and insomnia. Magnesium also helps to suppress sympathetic nerve stimulation which occurs when the body releases catecholamines. Eating a diet high in magnesium or taking magnesium supplements can help to lower blood pressure and help your body naturally relax.
Magnesium for Insomnia
In a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences to determine the ability of magnesium to help sleep, 46 elderly subjects took a magnesium supplement for sleep or a placebo for sleep daily for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, it was found that the participants who took the magnesium improved in many measures of insomnia scoring including sleep efficiency, sleep time, early morning awakening as well as objective measures like concentrations of melatonin and cortisol. More recently, magnesium has been listed by WebMD as a natural supplement for sleep among melatonin and L-theanine.
Magnesium is important for the function of GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter which calms the brain and helps turn it off. GABA can help stop brain activity and turn the brain off, allowing your thoughts to stop racing get some sleep.
Where Do I Find Magnesium?
There are a whole host of dietary sources of magnesium which include:
- Walnuts, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, Almonds, Cashews, and pumpkin seeds
- Whole grains and wheat bran
- Green leafy vegetables
- Potatoes (with skin)
- Herbs and spices like: coriander, dill weed, basil, fennel seed, cumin seed, tarragon, marjoram, celery seed
There are also many supplement forms you can take to increase your daily intake. It is recommended that you find magnesium citrate, magnesium gluconate, or magnesium lactate which are more easily absorbed than other types.
Magnesium Side Effects and Interactions
Talk to your health care provider before beginning a vitamin regimen. Too much magnesium in the form of milk of magnesia or magnesium supplements can result in nausea, vomiting, slowed heart rate and cardiac arrest. See a doctor immediately if you feel sick after taking magnesium. Magnesium can also cause calcium deficiency, especially if calcium is already low.
If you are worried about any of the above, have kidney problems, or want to know how to safely introduce more magnesium into your diet, speak with your health care provider.
Abbasi, Behnood, et al. “The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: a double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of Research in Medical Sciences 17.12 (2012).