*Always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.*
Magnesium is an essential mineral in the human body, responsible for numerous physiological functions, including energy production, neuromuscular conduction, nucleic acid, and protein synthesis, electrolyte balance, cellular membrane function, glucose metabolism, cardiovascular system regulation, and bone development. In fact, every cell in our bodies contains it and require it to function. It is a cofactor for more than 300 biochemical enzymes, and plays an important role in antioxidant defences and the conversion of vitamin D into its active form. Research has shown that the mineral content of magnesium in our food sources is declining, and that magnesium depletion is continually being detected in individuals with chronic disease. It is estimated that 75% of people do not meet the recommended dietary allowance of magnesium. This has led to an increased awareness of proper magnesium intake and supplementation, as well as its potential therapeutic role in a number of medical conditions.
Research has shown the effectiveness of magnesium in the following conditions:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Dysmenorrhea and PMS
- Metabolic Disorders
- Mood Disorders
- Muscle Tension and Pain
- Preeclampsia and Eclampsiav
- Stress, Sleep and Restlessness
Research shows that magnesium improves peak expiratory flow rate and forced expiratory volume in severe asthma patients. Further research is need for chronic stable asthma; however, magnesium is showing beneficial outcomes in pulmonary function and a trend toward fewer hospital admissions.
Research shows there is a close relationship between magnesium deficiency and high blood pressure. Evidence also shows protective effect of magnesium against hypertension and its complications. Patients experienced a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure when taking magnesium. It is also a safe and effective treatment for arrhythmias/atrial fibrillation. One study showed that magnesium supplementation reduced the frequency of arrhythmia in patients with stable congestive heart failure secondary to coronary artery disease.
Magnesium is accepted as a standard treatment for constipation, but there are few rigorous studies to prove its effectiveness. Despite this, many physicians and patients have found these treatments helpful, which indicates that a lack of evidence is not necessarily synonymous with a lack of effect. It works by drawing water into the colon from surrounding body tissues to allow easier passage of stool.
Dysmenorrhea and PMS:
Dysmenorrhea is the medical term for painful periods. There is evidence to suggest that magnesium deficiency is correlated with many PMS symptoms including, water retention, abdominal cramps, cravings, fatigue and mood swings. Research shows that magnesium was more effective than placebo for period pain relief and the need for additional medication was less. Relief of PMS-related mood fluctuations and depression during treatment was significant. Even better results can be obtained by adding Vitamin B6.
Clinical trials have demonstrated magnesium supplements to be effective for prophylactic treatment of migraines, cluster headaches, and menstrual migraines. A case-control study comprised of 40 patients presenting with different types of headaches found complete elimination of pain in 32 of 40 patients (80%) within 15 minutes of magnesium infusion. This research suggests that there may be a correlation with low magnesium levels and the development of headaches.
Research claims that magnesium deficiency is probably one of the most underestimated electrolyte imbalances in Western populations. It is a risk factor in patients with type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, as it impairs insulin’s ability to keep blood sugar levels under control. One study shows that people with type 2 diabetes who take magnesium supplements experience improvements in blood glucose, insulin resistance, lipid profile, and blood pressure.
Researcher states magnesium can be classified as potent physiologic mood stabilizer. One study shows that magnesium was as effective as the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine in treating depression. With the increasing prevalence magnesium deficiency and mood disorders in Western populations, magnesium supplementation may be a safe, acceptable and effective treatment option.
Muscle Tension and Pain:
Research shows that magnesium deficiency can contribute to muscular/neurologic hyper- irritability and decreased pain thresholds. One study reported significant improvement in pain and lumbar spine range of motion at 6 months in those receiving magnesium. By maintaining normal levels of magnesium in the body, the pain transduction pathway in the nervous system is adequately blocked. Another study shows that magnesium was effective for leg cramps in pregnant women.
Preeclampsia and Eclampsia:
Research shows that magnesium reduces the risk of eclampsia in patients with preeclampsia by more than one half. The use of magnesium does not appear to have harmful effects on the mother or infant in the short term.
Stress, Sleep and Restlessness:
One study revealed how individuals with mental and physical stress can benefit from a daily intake of magnesium. Results showed increased vagus nerve activity (responsible for relaxation) with magnesium supplementation, which can improve physiological regulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and decrease restlessness, stress, and improve sleep.
If supplementation isn’t for you, the following foods are common sources of magnesium:
Pumpkin seeds: 46% of the RDI in a quarter cup (16 grams)
Spinach, boiled: 39% of the RDI in a cup (180 grams)
Swiss chard, boiled: 38% of the RDI in a cup (175 grams)
Dark chocolate (70–85% cocoa): 33% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
Black beans: 30% of the RDI in a cup (172 grams)
Quinoa, cooked: 33% of the RDI the in a cup (185 grams)
Halibut: 27% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
Almonds: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (24 grams)
Cashews: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (30 grams)
Mackerel: 19% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
Avocado: 15% of the RDI in one medium avocado (200 grams)
Salmon: 9% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
*Always check with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement.*
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