Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. It’s involved in DNA and protein synthesis, insulin metabolism, muscle contraction, blood pressure regulation, heart health, and more.
Despite its high importance, magnesium is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. Approximately two-thirds of US adults get less than the daily recommended amount of magnesium.
Since magnesium is involved in so many different functions and processes in the body, low levels can contribute to a wide variety of health problems, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- cardiovascular disease
You can boost your magnesium intake by taking supplements or by eating magnesium-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, beans, and whole grains.
Magnesium Can Reduce Your Risk For Diabetes
Nearly half of the people living with type 2 diabetes have low levels of magnesium. Similarly, people with higher levels of magnesium tend to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
This association likely exists because magnesium plays an essential role in insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation.
Insulin sensitivity measures how well your body responds to the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for transporting sugar from the bloodstream into cells, where it can be used for energy. If your insulin receptor sites are resistant to insulin, sugar builds up in your blood instead of being transported into cells, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
For people deficient in magnesium, supplementation can enhance insulin sensitivity and, therefore, help improve blood sugar control.
Magnesium Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
When your blood pressure is too high, the strong force of blood flowing through your arteries can damage the delicate lining of these vessels. This is why hypertension (high blood pressure) is a major risk factor for heart disease, strokes, and many other health problems.
Magnesium supplements appear to help lower blood pressure to safer levels in people who are magnesium deficient. Supplements may also help improve triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
- cardiovascular disease
- ischemic heart disease
- coronary heart disease
Magnesium Can Help Prevent and Treat Migraines
Migraine attacks are characterized by throbbing headaches, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. They can be extremely debilitating and often last for an extended period.
Magnesium is involved in a few different neurological processes, which is probably why many instances of migraines are found alongside magnesium deficiencies.
Magnesium supplements can be effective in both preventing migraines and reducing their frequency and intensity. Magnesium is also being explored for its potential to provide more effective and faster-acting migraine relief than currently available treatments.
Magnesium Can Improve Athletic Performance
Magnesium is needed for both muscular movements and cardiorespiratory function. It plays a role in ATP (adenosine triphosphate) metabolism, which is the energy system used during high-intensity exercise. As you engage in more physical activity, more magnesium is needed.
Magnesium is so important for proper exercise performance that athletes who are deficient in this mineral may experience fatigue, impaired cardiorespiratory function, and changes in electrolyte balance.
Magnesium supplementation may improve exercise performance in magnesium-deficient individuals—providing enhanced strength, power, mobility, muscle growth, and sprint capacity.
Magnesium Can Improve Your Mental Health
Magnesium is involved in neurotransmitter signaling and receptor function. It’s also necessary for the proper development and maintenance of brain cells.
Because of this, magnesium deficiencies have been linked to several mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, and ADHD.
For people with low magnesium levels, magnesium supplements can provide a safe and effective way of restoring magnesium levels and improving mental health.
If you’re interested in trying magnesium supplements, many different forms are available. Make sure to read the label carefully and follow instructions regarding dosage and timing. You can also talk to your doctor to get personalized recommendations.