Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It has been recognized as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymatic reactions, where it is crucial for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) metabolism.
Magnesium is required for DNA and RNA synthesis, reproduction, and protein synthesis. Furthermore, magnesium is essential for the regulation of muscular contraction, blood pressure, insulin metabolism, cardiac excitability, vasomotor tone, nerve transmission, and neuromuscular conduction.
About 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in bone, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood. Studies suggest that about 50% of people in the US get less than the recommended daily amount of magnesium.
Magnesium is involved in bone formation and influences the activities of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Several population-based studies have found positive associations between magnesium intake and bone mineral density in both men and women.
Magnesium deficiency has been associated with a number of clinical disorders including osteoporosis. It also affects the concentrations of both parathyroid hormone and the active form of vitamin D.
Vitamin D’s bioavailability depends on magnesium and it is necessary to convert vitamin D, which is essential in helping the body absorb and use calcium, into its active form so that it can turn on calcium absorption.
Therefore, a lack of magnesium can interfere with the absorption of calcium, which plays an important role in bone growth and development.
Research done in rats suggests that magnesium helps to improve physical performance. It helps fuel muscles by enhancing the flow of glucose and helps your body get rid of lactic acid (a byproduct of exercise that can lead to post-workout stiffness). According to the Washington Post, magnesium helps muscles remain flexible.
Without magnesium, muscles can’t relax and result in cramping and possible injury. Low magnesium levels can further result in a buildup of lactic acid, causing pain and tightness in your muscles after a workout.
Meeting your daily magnesium requirements provides the body with much-needed energy needed for hitting the gym and ensures a good night’s rest through the production of serotonin. Serotonin is crucial in relaxing the nervous system, ensuring good emotional well-being and contributes to healthy sleeping patterns.
Research from 2012 found out that magnesium supplements were very effective to improve sleep efficiency, sleep time, and reduce early morning awakening, especially in older adults.
Magnesium can also help prevent migraines and reduce anxiety. Low levels of magnesium are associated with an increased risk of depression.
One analysis in over 8,800 people found that people under the age of 65 with the lowest magnesium intake had a 22% greater risk of depression. Magnesium deficiency is related to factors that promote headaches, including neurotransmitter release and vasoconstriction.
People who experience migraine headaches have lower levels of serum and tissue magnesium than those who do not.
Some studies have found that children diagnosed with ADHD were more likely to have magnesium deficiencies than children who did not. One small study of 25 children with ADHD and 25 children without, suggested that magnesium supplementation helped improve cognitive function in children with ADHD who also had a magnesium deficiency.
In addition, Magnesium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. It relaxes muscle cells in veins and arteries, in order not to constrict the flow of blood.
Magnesium also regulates other minerals vital to blood pressure and maintains the delicate balance between sodium and potassium. It helps the body absorb calcium and not be deposited in arteries.
In cohort studies, a 2017 clinical review involving 20,119 cases of hypertension (and 180,566 people) found magnesium reduced risk of high blood pressure. Just taking 100 mg per day of a magnesium supplement was associated with a 5% reduction.