If you have ever been into the practice and been adjusted by us, you would probably have heard us talking about Magnesium and all it’s amazing benefits! Most people don’t get enough of this essential mineral from their diet to keep up with their body’s Magnesium requirements, which can lead to tiredness, headaches, tight muscles, muscle cramps and more. If you are stressed, your body uses even more Magnesium, which can make you even more deficient. To find out more about this critical mineral, read on to our 12 benefits of Magnesium, and see how it could help improve your health.
1.Reduces cramping and relaxes tight muscles
This is a big one. As chiropractors, we often see people who have chronically tight muscles, that no amount of massage or even adjusting can budge. We usually see it in the larger muscles, especially in your back, first but long-term Magnesium deficiency can show up as multiple tight muscles. Often people can also experience cramping, often in calf muscles and often at night.
Cramps can happen because there is too much calcium in your muscles (which stimulates muscle contraction) and not enough Magnesium, which blocks calcium’s action. So increasing the Magnesium in your body can balance out the Calcium and Magnesium in your muscles, helping to normalise muscle contraction, and soothe your tight crampy muscles!
2.Reduces headache and migraine symptoms
Headaches are often your body’s way of telling you that something is out of whack. This could be because you have too little of certain nutrients in your system to allow your body to function properly, and the headache is your body’s way of slowing you down. Low levels of Magnesium in the body has been linked to increased headaches, increasing both the intensity and frequency of headaches. While there are many causes of headaches, it is worth considering if you need a bit more Magnesium to help your body cope better.
Magnesium supplements are actually used as a treatment for migraine. The high dose of Magnesium given can help to relax tight spasming muscles that can contribute to migraine symptoms, as well as increasing certain neurotransmitters in your brain, and has been shown to be as effective as migraine medications in reducing the symptoms of a migraine attack.
There are two ways that Magnesium can help reduce your stress. Magnesium can help to increase the amount of GABA in your brain, a neurotransmitter that among other things, can help regulate your mood. This can help you be less irritable and anxious, letting you get through your tasks a little bit easier.
Magnesium is also used when you are activating your sympathetic nervous system (also known as your ‘fight or flight’ response), which a lot of people are chronically stuck in (see our previous posts on sympathetic dominance). Magnesium is used in hormones that trigger the stress response, and when the stress response is triggered for a long time, this can deplete your Magnesium levels, as your body will prioritise this system over all others. So by increasing your body’s Magnesium levels, you are supporting healthy activation of your stress response, and also helping other systems in your body to access Magnesium when they need it, taking the stress off the rest of your body!
4.Helps with energy production in your cells
Magnesium helps to activate ATP, the energy producing molecule in your cells. While this is an essential function that does get prioritised, it is always good to help your cells get more energy in!
5.Helps to regulate Blood Pressure
Your heart is a muscle just like any other in your body and needs that correct Magnesium/Calcium balance to function correctly. Magnesium can help to regulate heart muscle contraction, which can help with irregular heartbeat and other cardiovascular issues. (Obviously this is only one cause/effect of heart irregularities, we always suggest getting checked by your medical provider if you are having heart problems and before taking any new supplements)
6.Helps to regulate Blood Glucose levels
The stress response can affect blood sugar levels, as your muscles require more sugar if your need to run away from a bear! If you are stressed, it makes sense for your body to allow more sugars to be available, but if you are not using the sugars with sudden exertion because your stress is financial for example, this can cause high blood glucose levels. Now we have already covered how Magnesium can help with stress and the stress response in your body, so it follows that Magnesium can help regulates blood sugars as response to this. Magnesium helping with blood sugar levels becomes more obvious when looking at studies that linked low Magnesium levels in patients to increased blood sugars and insulin resistance.
7.Promotes better sleep
By helping with managing your stress and relaxing your muscles, Magnesium will help you have a more restful nights sleep. Magnesium also increases GABA, which promotes relaxed muscles and down regulates your brain, allowing you to rest and switch off more effectively. We love a couple of sprays of Magnesium oil on our tummy or the bottom of our feet just before bed to help with a good night’s sleep!
8.Stabilises mood including anxiety and depression
Again, by increasing GABA, Magnesium can help to stabilise your mood and help emotional regulation. By helping your brain to ‘relax’, you can decrease stress and anxious responses to a more appropriate level, allowing you to better prioritise and deal with stressors as they arise.
9.Increases bone health
60% of your body’s Magnesium is found in your bones, and as we discussed before, Magnesium and calcium have a very special relationship. Along with Vitamin D, healthy Magnesium levels are vital for bone health.
Low Magnesium levels in your body is linked to chronic inflammation and elevated inflammatory markers including CRP. High levels of CRP are one of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Chronic inflammation has been linked to obesity, leaky gut, autoimmune diseases, arthritis and many more chronic conditions.
11.Helps with PMS symptoms
PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome) can be debilitating for many women. They often report big changes in mood and temperament, as well as physical discomfort from headaches, bloating and cramps. By reducing inflammation, relaxing tense muscles and decreasing cramping, regulating the stress response and helping to regulate mood, Magnesium already covers a lot of PMS symptoms. It has also been shown to decrease water retention and bloating that often occurs just before your period.
12.Increases athletic performance
Your body requires more Magnesium while you are exercising, to allow your cells to get energy in. Some research indicates supplemental magnesium can reduce the stress response to exertion and increase red blood cells and hemoglobin in athletes. Magnesium helps move blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactate, which can build up in muscles during exercise and cause pain. Taking Magnesium supplements has been associated with faster times in swimming, running and cycling.
So whatever stage of life you are at, whatever your activity level, or stress level, Magnesium can be of benefit to your body. It is an essential nutrient that is easily depleted if your intake is insufficient. You can boost your intake by eating Magnesium rich foods, including:
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