Should I Take Magnesium?
Magnesium has been around for centuries and occurs naturally when combined with other elements (carbon, calcium and oxygen). It is an extremely versatile mineral with many uses, but none more prolific than the benefits on human health.
Deficiency & Risk
Due to our daily busy lives, we could be forgiven for not remembering how good magnesium is for our bodies. While magnesium deficiency is not common, low intakes or excessive losses due to high alcohol consumption, certain health conditions and certain medications can lead to magnesium deficiency.
Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease
Hypertension is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke. Magnesium supplementation has been found in recent studies to help lower blood pressure, even if only mildly. The studies found that higher doses of magnesium supplementation in conjunction with a healthy diet low in fat led to decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure with varying results. Reduced risks of cardiac death and stroke were also observed in various studies as examination of the relationship between magnesium and heart disease continues.
Type 2 diabetes
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports around 1 million people suffered from diabetes 2 in 2017-18 (1 in twenty) with 4,839 deaths in Australia from diabetes. Magnesium has been observed to help regulate blood glucose levels. Risks of diabetes 2 are significantly lower due to diets with high amounts of magnesium, due to the role magnesium plays in managing glucose metabolism and helps to lessen insulin resistance.
Another excellent benefit from magnesium is it helps to maintain strong healthy bones. Research indicates that magnesium is involved in bone formation as well as bone mineral density. One study found postmenopausal women with osteoporosis suppressed bone turnover compared to placebo, indicating bone loss decreased.
Magnesium deficiency has been observed to be related to factors that promote headaches and constriction of blood vessels. There is limited research on magnesium supplements reducing symptoms of migraine headaches, however one study suggested that up to 300mg of magnesium taken twice daily, can prevent migraines. In an evidence-based guideline update, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society concluded that magnesium therapy is “probably effective” for migraine prevention. However, because the recommended dose required for migraine prevention exceeds the UL, treatment should be under supervision of your healthcare provider.
Magnesium is contained in the following food sources:
- Fruits (such as bananas, dried apricots, and avocados)
- Nuts (such as almonds and cashews)
- Peas and beans (legumes), seeds
- Soy products (such as soy flour and tofu)
- Whole grains (such as brown rice and millet)
If you have any concerns with your health or taking magnesium supplements, please consult your healthcare provider. Diets high in protein, calcium, or Vitamin D will increase the need for magnesium.