Magnesium Supplementation: Benefits and All You Need to Know

magnesium benefits

Magnesium supplements are generally used to increase magnesium levels in the blood.

But, did you know that these magnesium supplements may provide other health benefits?

In this article, we will discuss magnesium and its forms, the benefits of magnesium supplementation, and foods that can help you combat low serum magnesium levels.

Magnesium Overview

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body.

Although it cannot be produced naturally, it can be consumed through food and oral magnesium supplementation.

Generally, this mineral supports the nerves and cells to function properly.

If you do not have enough magnesium, certain health conditions or disorders, such as insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, and diabetes might occur.

Magnesium citrate and Other Forms

mg food forms

When magnesium or magnesium salts are bound to other compounds, different magnesium forms can be created.

The most common one is magnesium citrate.

In this section, we will have a quick review of these types and how they are formed.

  • Magnesium citrate – Combination of Mg and citric acid; the most bioavailable compared to other forms of magnesium supplements
  • Magnesium oxide – Combination of Mg and oxygen; poorly absorbed in the digestive system
  • Magnesium lactate – Combination of Mg and lactic acid; offers fewer side effects compared to other forms
  • Magnesium malate – Combination of Mg and malic acid; less laxative effects than other forms of magnesium supplements
  • Magnesium sulfate – Combination of Mg, sulfur, and oxygen; also known as Epsom salt for treating sore muscles
  • Magnesium glycine – Combination of Mg and the amino acid glycine; one of the forms of magnesium supplements with calming properties
  • Magnesium orotate – Combination of Mg and orotic acid; strongest laxative effect 
  • Magnesium chloride – Combination of Mg and chlorine; usually used to treat sore muscles

Choosing what to use among these types of magnesium supplements depends on your purpose and tolerance.

Each of these comes with different effects and chemical profiles. Some are easily absorbed and others are not.

Health Benefits of Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium supplementation

Based on the forms above, you might already have an idea of what magnesium supplements may offer you.

In this section, we will discuss the benefits of magnesium supplementation and how it can affect your health.

1) Relieves insomnia

We cannot deny that sleeping is kind of harder when we become adults.

Eventually, when we wake up, brain fog is all that we will get from not sleeping soundly! 

According to some experts, not getting enough sleep is caused by many factors such as your natural circadian rhythms, lifestyle choices, and poor nutrients in the body – and yes, that includes low magnesium levels.

But, do not worry because magnesium supplementation might help! 

Magnesium plays a big role when it comes to sleep.

According to a study from Finland, it is a key nutrient that works by relaxing your muscles to prepare your body and mind before you shut your eyes.

Magnesium can do this by regulating your brain’s neurotransmitters.

In another study from Iran, it was reported that magnesium supplements may improve sleep efficiency and reduce sleep disturbances, such as the midnight awakening of older adults.

Furthermore, if you are familiar with restless leg syndrome, a condition where there is an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, this one is also associated with insomnia. 

Interestingly, according to a study from France, magnesium supplementation can relax your leg muscles and reduce inflammation, thereby preventing restless leg syndrome from occurring, especially at night.

2) Prevents heart disease

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in men. Some of the heart disease risk factors include the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Alcohol consumption

Aside from these, other heart disease risk factors also include high LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol, second-hand smoke exposure, and lack of physical exercise.

Fortunately, again, magnesium supplementation can protect your heart by regulating your diastolic blood pressure and systolic blood pressure.

Additionally, dietary supplements with elemental magnesium can provide elasticity for your heart’s blood vessels.

In another study from Mexico, supplemental magnesium can reduce calcium buildup in your heart and arteries.

When there is calcium buildup, a condition called atherosclerosis, can occur. Eventually, this can alter your systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

In the same study, it was found that older adults with high magnesium intake had lower odds of coronary artery disease and irregular blood pressure compared to those with lesser magnesium intake.

This means that having adequate magnesium intake can reduce the risk of hypertension, blood pressure disorders, and muscle wasting related to the heart.

3) Combats asthma

When you have high blood pressure, the tendency is that proper breathing might be a problem for you.

However, when you take a magnesium supplement, blood pressure irregularities will all be better.

But, did you know that, if you have asthma, supplemental magnesium can also help you out?

The symptoms of asthma include shortness of breath, tightness of the chest, and difficulty sleeping.

When you go to the emergency room with these symptoms, you will notice that a magnesium supplement, either in oral or injectable form, will be given.

According to a study in Korea, magnesium supplementation can stop the spasms in your bronchial muscles that cause asthma.

In another study from the United Kingdom, it was reported that individuals who consume magnesium-rich foods are less likely to experience asthma and tightness of the chest due to irregular blood pressure.

4) Improves digestion

Having adequate magnesium levels is also known to improve your digestion and reduce constipation.

Generally, Magnesium regulates your gut health by stimulating enzymes in your saliva to help you break down food into smaller pieces.

Additionally, magnesium supplementation can also manage constipation and other digestive discomforts such as acid reflux, gas, and indigestion.

These symptoms occur not because of the foods you eat but because of your gut health.

5) Prevents diabetes

According to a study from Italy, magnesium is the key to insulin sensitivity.

To understand better, insulin sensitivity is how sensitive your body cells are when responding to insulin.

This means that there is an increased risk for individuals with magnesium deficiency to experience insulin resistance.

Furthermore, according to a study from California, if you are already diabetic, magnesium supplementation can increase your levels of magnesium to reduce other possible complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, and foot ulcerations.

Always remember that there is an increased risk of diabetic patients experiencing heart disease.

To treat your health conditions better and avoid other complications, seek medical consultation from a healthcare professional.

6) Supports bone health

Aside from calcium, magnesium is also needed for your bone health. Generally, it keeps your bones strong and malleable.

Since your body contains around 25 mg of magnesium, you have to increase your levels of magnesium.

According to a study from Italy, having low levels of magnesium can cause bone fracture and bone loss.

If you want to avoid these and other bone health conditions such as osteoporosis, there are many sources of magnesium that can increase your bone mineral density.

Other Magnesium Benefits

Aside from the list above, there are other health benefits you can get from magnesium. Some of these are the following:

  • Increased energy production
  • Management of premenstrual syndrome
  • Treatment of headaches and migraines
  • Proper glucose metabolism

If you have any chronic diseases or health conditions, and you wish to take magnesium, make sure to seek consultation from a healthcare professional to avoid other complications.

Remember, there are also possible drug interactions when it comes to magnesium.

Foods to Combat Magnesium Deficiency

mag sources

If you want to increase your Mg levels, there are many sources of magnesium you can consider.

Aside from supplements, magnesium-rich foods can also be considered.

Some of the foods that can give you enough magnesium include the following:

  • Sesame seeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds, cashews, and peanuts
  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • Whole grains 
  • Tuna
  • Kidney beans

According to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine, the tolerable upper intake level of magnesium from supplements is 350 mg per day.

For adult men, the required dose is around 400-420 mg per day. For adult women, the required dose is around 310-320 mg per day.

Final Thoughts

Magnesium plays an important role in your body, thus, magnesium deficiency can impose many health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, and mental health disorders.

Since magnesium comes in many forms, it is important to understand which of these is most suitable for you.

For safer use, it is advised to seek consultation from a healthcare professional, especially if you have other health conditions.

Aside from supplements, you can prevent magnesium deficiency by consuming foods rich in this mineral.

Some of these foods include whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

Lastly, it is important to learn the required mg of magnesium for your health as too much of it may cause some side effects.