Did you know that magnesium is the fourth most plentiful mineral in your body? Magnesium plays several vital roles for both your mental and physical health. However, you may not get enough of it even if you eat magnesium-rich foods. As this is such an essential mineral I want to cover for you: what magnesium is, food sources, how you absorb it into your body, benefits and more!
Magnesium is essential to the health of all living cells and it’s important for several physiological functions throughout your body. This mineral is directly responsible for the body’s production of RNA, DNA proteins and ATP (cell energy source). (1)(2)(3)(4)
There are over 300 enzymatic reactions that require magnesium to function properly, and supplementing with magnesium can benefit people who are deficient and also people who are not deficient. (5)
Magnesium is also an important mineral for the following:
- Bone Health
- Heart Rhythm and Blood Pressure
- Muscle Contraction and Relaxation
- Nerve Function
- Neurotransmitter Regulation and Production
- Regulating Sugar and Fat Metabolisms
- Stabilising Blood Glucose Levels
- Balancing Hormones
Eight Foods Rich in Magnesium
There are several foods that are very rich in magnesium and they’re healthy for you to eat too! It’s relatively easy for you to meet your daily recommended dose of magnesium by incorporating the following foods into your diet.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate gives you 64 milligrams of magnesium in a 28-gram serving. This is roughly 16% of your recommended daily intake. It’s high in copper, iron and manganese, and it’s loaded with beneficial antioxidants. These are the nutrients that help to repair any cell damage you may have, and they can also help with your cholesterol levels. (6)(7)(8) Whilst this is definitely not my first choice for increasing your magnesium levels it does explain why many of my clients report that they crave chocolate around the time that their period is due. It is not in fact chocolate your body needs ladies but the magnesium it contains!
Legumes are a large family of plants that come packed with nutrients, and they include peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans and soybeans. A single 128-gram serving of cooked legumes gives you 120 milligrams of magnesium, and this is 30% of your recommended daily intake. They can help to lower your cholesterol and improve your blood sugar, and they’re a huge source of protein for vegetarians. You can increase your magnesium levels by indulging in Mexican cuisine. (9)(10)(11)
A single medium-sized avocado gives you 58 milligrams of magnesium, and this is 15% of your recommended daily intake. Along with improving your magnesium levels, avocados also improve your cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Make some guacamole to have with your Mexican black beans and you will be feeling super chilled 😊 (12)(13)(14)
- Whole Grains
Whole grains are foods like barley, oats, wheat, quinoa and buckwheat. A 28-gram serving of any of these whole grains gives you up to 65 milligrams of magnesium, and this is 16% of your recommended daily intake. If you suffer from a gluten intolerance then ensure that you choose gluten free wholegrain as your absorption of vitamins and minerals is decreased if you are consuming foods that you are intolerant to. (15)(16)(17)
Brazil nuts, cashews and almonds are all high in magnesium with a 28-gram serving giving you 82 milligrams of magnesium i.e. 20% of your recommended daily intake. They’re also an excellent source of fibre and good fat, and this can help improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Two brazil nuts also give you 100% of your recommended dose of selenium. (18)(19)(20)
- Fatty Fish
Fatty fish include halibut, salmon and mackerel, and they have a more oily feel. Eating just 178-grams of salmon gives you 53 milligrams of magnesium or 13% of your recommended daily intake and you get a protein boost. Eating fatty fish has links to helping with heart disease and inflammation as well as boosting your magnesium levels. (21)(22)
- Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens and mustard greens come loaded with magnesium – up to 157 milligrams per cooked cup. They contain a host of beneficial compounds that help protect your cells and they’re an excellent source of iron, vitamins and other minerals. (23)(24)(25)
While bananas are extremely popular around the world for their high potassium content, they also give you 37 milligrams of magnesium for every medium banana you eat. Bananas can help to reduce any inflammation you may have in your body and they also help lower your blood sugar levels to help you live a healthier life. (26)(27)(28)
How Your Body Absorbs Magnesium
When you eat foods rich in magnesium the foods themselves break down when they reach your stomach. The bulk of your magnesium absorption happens in your gut. Bacteria break down your food and secrete enzymes that extract the magnesium content. The magnesium then gets absorbed through your intestines before travelling to your bones where it stores in the bone marrow. Any excess exits your body through your kidneys that pass it to your feces.
However, your body usually only absorbs roughly 50% of all of the magnesium you ingest. This is due to other things that you eat. For example, dark-coloured carbonated drinks contain a binding agent called phosphates. These agents bind the magnesium in your food and prevent your body from absorbing it. Foods with refined sugars can prompt your body to get rid of the magnesium before your body can absorb it as well and this can lead to a magnesium deficiency. (29)(30)
Why You Need Magnesium Supplements
One of the biggest reasons you need magnesium every day is that your body can’t produce it naturally. All of the magnesium you need for brain and body health comes from your diet. However, since you only absorb roughly half of the magnesium you eat, supplements are a great idea. Ideally, you should have (31):
- Men – 400 to 420 milligrams every day
- Women – 320 to 360 milligrams every day
Your supplements should range between 200 to 400 milligrams per day based on your age and whether you’re male or female. The upper limit for a lot of people is 400 milligrams of supplemental magnesium per day without experiencing digestive upset. However there are some forms of magnesium which have less impact on the bowels than others. There are also several different types of magnesium supplements you can choose from, and some absorb better than others. The ones you want to use if you can help it are (32)(33)(34):
- Magnesium citrate
- Magnesium glycinate
- Magnesium aspartate
- Magnesium chloride
- Magnesium orotate
11 Magnesium Benefits
Now that you know what magnesium is, foods that have it, how your body absorbs it and why you need magnesium, we’ll outline numerous health benefits. They include but are not limited to:
1. Magnesium and Stress
Magnesium is a natural way to fight stress, and researchers have taken an in-depth look at magnesium and stress in people all around the world. When you have a lot of stress, your body releases specific hormones like catecholamines and corticoids. However, magnesium combats this by blocking NMDA receptors, and this encourages your body to stop producing stress hormones. (35)(36)
2. Magnesium for Sleep and Anxiety
People who have trouble sleeping have low levels of a specific neurotransmitter called GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid). This is why they’re turning to magnesium to help with sleep and anxiety. Research using both animal and human studies showed that magnesium increases GABA.
GABA is directly responsible for encouraging relaxation, and this allows people to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.
3. Magnesium and the Nervous System
Since magnesium and the nervous system have such tight links, it’s no surprise that magnesium is associated with panic attack prevention. Getting enough magnesium helps to keep your nervous system in check, and it does this by helping to regulate calcium. Calcium is the main culprit for sending electrical impulses that fill you with nervous energy and kick off a panic attack. Once it regulates these impulses, you can feel calmer and more stable as a whole. (39)(40)
4. Magnesium and the Brain
Magnesium also has a positive effect on your brain. Several animal studies showed that introducing magnesium and keeping levels elevated can prevent fear over-generalisation and enhance the learning ability in rats. It can also work to reduce any inflammation that could be present in the brain, and it also showed promise for enhancing nerve regeneration. All of these small things mean you get a healthier brain overall, and it’s easier for you to learn and retain things. (41)(42)
5. Magnesium and Depression
Magnesium plays a role in mood and brain function and low levels of this mineral have direct links to a higher risk for developing depression. One study proved this by analysing 8,800 people and found that those who were under 65 and had the lowest magnesium intake levels were at a 22% chance higher risk of developing depression. A second study showed that depressed older adults who got 450-milligrams of magnesium each day found their moods improved as much as those who took traditional antidepressants. (43)(44)
6. Magnesium for Type II Diabetes
Type II diabetes is a chronic medical condition that directly impacts how well your body processes sugar in your blood (glucose). There is no cure for it but it can be effectively managed through diet and insulin injections. Studies show that roughly 48% of people who have type II diabetes have low magnesium levels. One study followed a group of 4,000 people for two decades and found that those people who had the highest magnesium levels were over 45% less likely to develop this condition. (45)(46)(47)We have added chromium to our magnesium powder to further assist with managing blood sugar levels.
7. Magnesium for Migraines
Migraine headaches can be debilitating with bouts of vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to light and sensitivity to noise. There are medications to help manage the symptoms, but researchers also show that magnesium can help reduce the severity of migraine attacks. One study supplemented magnesium to people suffering an active migraine and found that it could provide relief as quickly as a common medication. A second study showed that magnesium supplements and eating foods rich in magnesium could help reduce migraine symptoms. (48)(49)The added chromium in our magnesium powder will also help to prevent migraines by balancing the blood sugar levels.
8. Magnesium for Inflammation
Inflammation, even low-grade inflammation, can be responsible for a number of health problems. It drives obesity and chronic disease, and it can cause problems with every system in your body. One study showed that taking magnesium supplements can reduce inflammatory markers in older adults and people who are overweight. Once the inflammation starts to go down, the other health problems you have can also reduce their severity levels. (50)(51)(52)We have added glutamine to our magnesium powder to further reduce inflammation in the body.
9. Magnesium and Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be a serious medical problem that increases your chances for experiencing a heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular events. One study gave people 450 milligrams of magnesium each day and measured their blood pressure levels. They found that it lowered over the course of the study. A second study supported this as well while not changing the blood pressure levels if they were in healthy limits. (53)(54)The addition of potassium in our magnesium powder may further assist in managing your blood pressure.
10. Magnesium and Energy and Physical Performance
Flagging energy levels can wreak havoc on your body, and it can make it hard for you to go out and exercise or even function in day to day life. Research suggests that magnesium is essential for good muscle performance and recovery. One study involving elderly women showed that the women who took magnesium every day over the course of 12 weeks had better physical performance and energy levels. (55)(56)We have added ribose to our magnesium powder to further enhance your energy levels.
11. Magnesium for Bone Integrity
As you age, your bones naturally start to thin and become more brittle. Research shows that lower magnesium amounts have direct links to promoting osteoporosis and lower bone mineral density. Another study showed that taking magnesium improved bone density levels in women with osteoporosis. Since magnesium stores in your bones, it makes sense why having adequate amounts would strengthen them. (57)(58)
Where You Can Get Magnesium Supplements
When you look for magnesium supplements to boost your levels, you want to buy from a reputable company to ensure that you are taking the most absorbable forms and that there are no fillers in your supplement.
This is what you get when you purchase your magnesium supplements from Tonic. We’re a natural health centre that offers high-quality well-formulated supplements. You should always consult your doctor before adding anything to your diet. Please reach out and contact us if you have any queries or check out our online store for high quality, absorbable supplements.