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Magnesium is an essential micronutrient and an important mineral in the body which accounts for 0.05 %of the body’s total weight. Micronutrient is required in small quantities. Magnesium is found mostly in bones, which is around 70% of the body’s supply, with 30% of the body’s supply in the cellular fluid and soft tissues.
Magnesium is required for many metabolic processes (more than 300 of the processes) ie for the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is a must for many health benefits like absorption of minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and potassium, for utilization of vitamins, for control of blood sugars, to regulate blood pressure, or good digestion and healthy bowel, and for a healthy heart also, Magnesium is necessary.
The deficiency of Magnesium has negative effects on digestion, muscular and nervous activity, mood, memory, sleep, heartbeat, and bones of our body.
Magnesium should be provided in adequate quantity, for the healthy functioning of the body, through a balanced diet containing foods rich in magnesium and dietary supplements.
What Are the Essential Functions of Magnesium in the Human Body?
Magnesium is the 4rth abundant mineral in the body which is required for a well-functioning body and many health benefits. The essential functions of Magnesium in the body are:
- Supports muscular activities and helps to maintain healthy muscles and muscle relaxation.
- Supports neural activities and maintains healthy brain functions and nervous system.
- Maintains healthy heart function by regulating heartbeat, rhythm, contraction, and relaxation of the heart muscle.
- Helps to lower blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels.
- Regulates blood sugar levels and helps in controlling them.
- Helps in digestion and bowel movements aiding in maintaining a healthy gut.
- Helps in the absorption of essential nutrients and transporting them throughout the body.
- Promotes the development of healthy and strong bones.
- Helps in easing the muscle tension during the premenstrual phase in women.
- Helps in improving energy levels and reduces tiredness or fatigue.
- Reduces stress hormone levels and helps the body and mind to relax.
- Improves important brain functions such as memory, mood (lethargy, irritability, depression), concentration at work, and good quality sleep.
Specific Benefits of Magnesium in Men
Magnesium is important for many biological processes in the body of men with some special benefits, as it supports the functions of male sex hormone, energy requirements, and the heart.
- Testosterone – is a male sex hormone that plays an important role in the production of sperms and for sex drive. Normally testosterone levels decline from the beginning of around 30 years causing men to experience low libido, decrease in sperm count, and weight gain. Low levels of Magnesium in the body are found to be associated with low testosterone levels. Hence increase in Magnesium level can increase testosterone level for good health benefits and be found to have a better effect in those men who exercise regularly.
- Energy Levels – Low levels of energy in men can be caused by various reasons like poor sleep, stress, mood disturbances, lack of physical activity, and low levels of testosterone. Magnesium can improve energy levels and decrease tiredness and fatigue. By improving the quality of sleep and the diet, food can be converted to energy, which helps both the brain and the muscles to relax and be healthy.
- Heart – As men are more prone to develop heart disease, Magnesium is necessary to maintain a healthy heart. Magnesium helps to lower blood pressure, prevent abnormal heartbeat and reduce clotting in the blood vessels, and reducing risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Benefits of Magnesium in Women
Magnesium is important for many biological processes and many bodily functions in all persons but helps for some extra functions in a woman. Magnesium is required in all stages of life in a woman from puberty to menopause.
- Magnesium can help reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) like abdominal cramps as it can relax the muscles, decrease water retention, and mood changes as irritability and depression.
- As women are more prone to develop migraine headaches, Magnesium helps in reducing the frequency of migraine headaches giving them relief from the painful and distressing condition.
- During pregnancy, a proper diet with magnesium-rich foods and adding magnesium supplements can help reduce muscle cramps or spasms which are painful and can occur frequently.
- Magnesium can help build and repair tissues during pregnancy. Lack of Magnesium can cause pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) eclampsia (seizures or fits during pregnancy) poor fetal development and sometimes infant death. Magnesium can help in lowering blood pressure and preventing blood clots in blood vessels.
- Magnesium supports bone strength and prevents postmenopausal osteoporosis which can cause falls and fractures in women.
- Women in modern times have magnesium deficiency due to low dietary intake and should be corrected with diet and supplements.
Which Foods Are Rich in Magnesium?
There are a variety of foods that contain Magnesium such as:
- Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, Cashew, Brazil nuts, Pumpkin seeds, Peanuts
- Whole Grains – Oatmeal, brown rice, Rice bran
- Fresh Vegetables – Spinach, Black beans
- Fresh Fruits – Bananas, Avocado, Figs, Apples, Apricot, Peaches
- Milk Products – Milk, Soy milk, Yogurt, Tofu
- Protein Foods – Eggs, Seafood like Salmon fish, Mackerel fish
How and When Magnesium Supplements Are Taken?
Magnesium should be maintained at adequate levels in the body so that you do not suffer from health problems due to its deficiency.
- Daily dose requirement of Magnesium has been recommended in different age groups by Public health England such as:
- Adults (Men & Women) – 300mg
- Pregnant woman – 400mg
- Children (15-18 yrs) – 300mg
- Children (11-14 yrs) – 280mg
- Children (7-1o yrs) – 200mg
- Children (4-6 yrs) – 120mg
- Children (1-3 yrs) – 85mg
- 9-12 months infant – 75mg
- Less than 6 months infant – 30mg
- Magnesium can be provided to the body from foods rich in Magnesium and, through Magnesium supplements when diet alone cannot provide enough minerals in normal health or in conditions where there is an increased requirement.
- Magnesium supplements are available as many preparations like tablets, capsules, powder form, gummy, body spray, lotion, syrup, and transdermal patch. You can find the right option for increasing the Magnesium in your body according to your need.
- Magnesium supplements are to be taken if you are diagnosed with Magnesium deficiency as diet alone is not providing enough Magnesium to the body.
- Magnesium is safe to take but always limit the dose of elemental magnesium to the recommended dose, so that you do not suffer from any side effects.
What Is Magnesium’s Role in Digestion and Gut Health?
- Magnesium is important for good digestion and a healthy gut.
- Low levels of Magnesium in the body are associated with poor gut function due to digestive problems and bowel disturbances.
- The deficiency of Magnesium can alter the gut flora and lead to health problems in the digestive system.
- Though you take a well-balanced diet you can find Magnesium deficiency in those persons suffering from digestive disorders like coeliac disease or chronic diarrhea and those under some medications which interfere with absorption of essential nutrients.
How Does Magnesium Help the Bowel?
- Magnesium relaxes the bowel and helps to pull water into the intestine which aids good bowel movements and helps to relieve constipation which is a distressing symptom for a person.
- An increase in water absorption helps to initiate peristalsis (movements of the intestine), which pushes the feces through the intestines and reduces constipation.
- Magnesium acts as an osmotic laxative as it softens the (stool softener) and causes loose stools relieving pain while passing hard stools.
- Drinking plenty of water is important for relieving constipation.
Do You Know That Without Magnesium It Is Not Possible to Digest the Food Properly?
Magnesium is essential for the proper digestion of food as it is involved in many digestive processes. Magnesium is used as the best digestive health supplement as it can correct many digestive problems. When you suffer from digestive problems such as acid reflux, gas or bloating, indigestion, constipation then you may be suffering from the improper breakdown of food, poor bowel movements, and improper absorption of nutrients. Without Magnesium in the body, the food is not digested properly as Magnesium is involved in many processes like the making of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, making digestive enzymes for metabolism of carbs, proteins, and fats, repair and protection of the digestive organs like esophagus, stomach, intestines, pancreas, and colon.
Magnesium helps to make enzymes in saliva that break the food into smaller particles. Acid production in the stomach is due to hormones that are aided by Magnesium and acid helps in the digestion of food. Too little acid in the stomach cannot aid digestion and cause bacterial overgrowth which can lead to health problems like GERD and peptic ulcers. Magnesium helps to produce acid and reduce bad bacteria.
The pancreas which produces vital enzymes to digest food also requires Magnesium and helps indigestion. Magnesium can also prevent pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Magnesium aids in proper digestion and proper absorption of essential nutrients preventing serious health problems. Poor digestion of food in the body leads to poor bowel movements and poor elimination of stool, affecting the overall health of a person.
What Causes Magnesium Deficiency Which Affects the Digestive System?
Magnesium levels can deplete due to high levels of cortisol due to stress. Gut disorders such as coeliac disease, chronic diarrhea, chronic pancreatitis, and chronic liver disease can cause Magnesium deficiency. Eating an unhealthy poor diet that lacks Magnesium-rich foods can lead to Magnesium deficiency. Persons with mood changes and sleep disturbances may have low levels of Magnesium Some medications like antibiotics, diuretics, proton pump inhibitors, which interfere with Magnesium absorption can cause a decrease in Magnesium levels.
What Are the Benefits of Magnesium On Muscle Health?
- Magnesium is essential for proper muscle function and for maintaining healthy muscles.
- It works with other essential minerals to keep the muscles loose, flexible, and strong.
- Magnesium is important to regulate the muscle contractions in the body. It acts as a natural Calcium blocker to help muscles to relax and hence known as a Calcium antagonist.
- In the muscles, Calcium binds with proteins such as troponin C and myosin which change the protein that generates contraction. Muscle contraction appears as muscle mass or lump and as a stiff or tight joint and sometimes in prolonged muscle tightness. Magnesium relaxes the muscles and prevents prolonged contraction, which can cause muscle cramps, spasms, and soreness.
- The major effect of Magnesium on muscles is to decrease the rate of Calcium-binding, to the sites that bind Magnesium and Calcium competitively, and due to slow disassociation of bound Magnesium.
- Magnesium prevents injury to muscles by loosening them and reducing cramps or spasms
- After the workout, you tend to develop muscle cramps or muscle tension due to the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. Magnesium helps to prevent lactic acid accumulation in the muscles and relaxes the muscles.
How Does Magnesium Deficiency Affect the Muscle Health?
Low levels of Magnesium in the body affects muscular activities such as:
- Muscular cramps or spasms usually in the legs or feet
- Muscle twitching or fasciculations or tremors.
- Generalized muscle aches or tightness.
- Restless legs where you move legs restlessly disturbing sleep.
- Back and neck pains due to muscle strain.
- General weakness of muscles and fatigue.
- Muscle spasms or tightness in the skeletal muscles and joints causing the distressing condition.
Do You Know Magnesium Can Help Ease Muscle Spasm, Cramp, or Strain?
- As our body has a lot of muscle mass it can get sore, tense, strained or tightened, during different physical activities like strenuous work or exercises.
- Muscle strain is when the muscle gets overstretched or tears and injury occurs. Neck strain can occur due to heavy lifting or sleeping in an awkward position. Back pain can occur due to strenuous exercises. Magnesium is useful to treat them by preventing prolonged contraction and relaxing the muscles.
- Magnesium is an essential mineral in reducing muscle spasms and muscle cramps in the body. Muscle spasm or cramp is a painful muscle contraction and disturbs life. Magnesium regulates the contractions caused by Calcium and allows the muscles to relax reducing spasm or the cramp.
- Helps to relieve leg and foot cramps which usually occur due to Magnesium deficiency.
- Magnesium helps in reducing the muscle twitching and fasciculations in the muscles due to over contraction of the muscles by quickly relaxing them.
- Magnesium prevents post-exercise muscle cramps or spasms by reducing the tightness and soreness of muscles and aiding in quicker recovery of muscles from contraction.
- Adequate levels of Magnesium in the body help relieve symptoms of Restless leg syndrome and help to have a good sleep. Restless leg syndrome is a condition where there is an urge to move the legs due to unpleasant sensations in the legs and usually occurs in the evenings or when going to sleep, disturbing sleep.
- Magnesium plays an important role in energy production which helps for the proper functioning of muscles.
- Magnesium promotes calcium absorption in bones strengthening them and preventing calcification of the muscles due to excess Calcium in the body.
- Production of growth factors and proteins help for proper growth and strength of the muscles is aided by Magnesium.
- During the premenstrual period, women develop severe muscle cramps which can be reduced by Magnesium as it relaxes the muscles.
How Is Magnesium Taken to Relieve Muscle Soreness in The Body?
Magnesium can be provided to the body as:
- Dietary Magnesium – Eating foods rich in Magnesium
- Magnesium Supplements – are available in different forms and to be taken as required in the recommended dose.
- The oral form is available as pills, tablets, effervescent tablets, chewable, or in dissolved form and to be taken by mouth.
- Transdermal patches are available where Magnesium is absorbed through the skin
- Topical forms of Magnesium such as body sprays and body lotions.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals and an essential micronutrient in the body, for the body to function well physically and mentally. Magnesium contributes to many health benefits such as cell division, physiological processes, protein synthesis, energy production, well muscular and neural activities, healthy heart, maintenance of bone and teeth, electrolyte balance, good digestion, and healthy bowel.
Magnesium is found naturally in foods like fresh green vegetables, whole grains, corn, milk, yogurt, tofu, fresh fruits as apples, bananas, apricots, pears, figs, nuts, and seeds as almonds and peanuts, sea fish, and eggs. Magnesium supplements are available in many forms and the right option can be made depending on your need.
We have limited reserves of Magnesium in the body which can deplete easily and our modern diet and cause Magnesium deficit. Hence the need to take Magnesium supplements becomes necessary to prevent suffering from deficiency symptoms.