The Myriad Benefits of Magnesium

Does magnesium have health benefits?

According to the National Institute of Health, Magnesium, an abundant mineral in the body, is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids and laxatives). Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation [1-3]. Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

Wow, that sounds important for sure, but really what’s the deal and why do I need to take more of it?

Well first of all, our primary source for magnesium is our food, and even more specifically the fruits and vegetables we eat. Unfortunately, few of us eat enough fruits and vegetables, and because our soil has been over farmed and become so depleted in this country, none of our food contains as much magnesium as it once did. As a result, virtually everyone is magnesium deficient.

In addition, there are many other contributing factors which actually take magnesium out of our bodies and ultimately lower our overall magnesium levels. Some of those factors are:

  • Refined sugar and processed sweets actually cause the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys.
  • Higher Stress and cortisol levels seem to be strongly connected to making the body use up stored magnesium.
  • Caffeine consumption has been associated with causing the kidneys to release more magnesium which is ultimately excreted by the body.
  • Many sodas contain phosphates which bind with available magnesium in the gut and GI tract, this of course uses up vital magnesium and lowers levels in the body.
  • Low stomach acid, which is another fairly chronic condition today, impairs our ability to break down and absorb food and nutrients properly.

In summary, if we can agree that magnesium is an important mineral that is essential for our optimal health. And if all the evidence suggests that there are many contributing factors which make it very difficult not to be deficient, then we must come to the conclusion that a magnesium supplement would be a very good idea for everyone.