Even though everyone knows that vitamins and minerals are essential to staying physically and mentally healthy and bolstering your immune system, most people have vitamin and mineral deficiencies simply because they are on an unhealthy diet. However, even those who eat as healthy as they possibly can, can experience a deficiency, which is why vitamin and mineral supplements have become increasingly more popular in the past several years. One mineral supplement that’s become especially popular among athletes, gym-rats, marathon-runners and everyday Joe’s is magnesium.
Magnesium is considered the MVP mineral, as it’s an electrolyte that’s crucial for muscle function, skeleton strength and cardiovascular health. Magnesium is required in the body and it performs more than 300 functions, and there can be quite a few long-term health consequences if you’re deficient or have a chronic insufficiency. Here are some evidence-based benefits of taking a magnesium supplement if you have a magnesium deficiency.
Boosts Exercise Performance
Magnesium is shown to play a huge role in exercise performance. When you exercise, you need about 20% more magnesium than when you’re idling, simply because magnesium helps move blood sugar into the muscles and gets rid of lactate that can build up during exercise and cause fatigue. Taking a magnesium supplement cannot only boost exercise performance for gym-goers and athletes, but it can also help people with chronic disease and the elderly. Taking about 250mg of magnesium per day can show improvements in athletic performance, reduction in stress hormone levels and insulin. However, keep in mind that in order to experience these benefits, you need to be deficient.
Boosts Mental Wellbeing
Magnesium plays a crucial role in mood and brain function. Low magnesium levels are linked to higher risk of depression. Many experts believe that the low magnesium content of today’s food is one of the major causes of mental illness and depression. But whether that’s completely accurate or not, magnesium supplements can help reduce symptoms in depression, and in some cases, the results can be staggering.
Lowers Blood Pressure and Reduces Insulin Resistance
Magnesium can lower blood pressure. People who take 450mg of magnesium per day showed a dramatic decrease in diastolic and systolic blood pressure. However, these benefits may only be noticed in people who have high blood pressure in the first place. Further, magnesium plays a crucial role in helping liver and muscle cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream. The body’s inability to do so results in metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Supplementing magnesium has shown to reduce blood sugar levels and insulin resistance even in people with normal levels.
These are just a few of the many benefits magnesium provides for your body. However, many people wonder: Is it safe to take magnesium supplements daily? And the answer is – yes. As long as you stay within the recommended daily dosage. But if you’re hesitant about using supplements, then worry not – there are other ways you can make sure you get enough magnesium, and that’s by eating magnesium-rich foods.
Dark leafy greens, for instance, are one of the best foods for preventing magnesium deficiency. Besides magnesium, these foods provide a variety of other minerals and vitamins, yet contain very few calories. Kale, collard greens, baby spinach and Swiss chard are some of the best sources for magnesium. Salmon, tuna, mackerel and halibut are also foods that boost your magnesium, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid levels. Eating fatty fish twice a week can also help with mental health disorders. Further, fruit like bananas is an easy, sweet way to up your magnesium intake. Bananas are best known for being rich in potassium, but little do most people know, they contain a decent amount of magnesium as well.
But how much of magnesium is enough? The recommended amount of magnesium varies by gender and age. The RDA (recommended dietary allowances) suggested by the NIH are 400mg for men aged 19-30, and 310mg for women of same age range. For people older than 30, the recommended dosages are 420mg and 320mg for men and women, respectively. Pregnant women should consume more magnesium, about 310mg to 400mg depending on age.
Lastly, worth knowing is that there are several different types of magnesium, including: magnesium glycinate, citrate, chloride, sulfate, oxide, malate, taurate, orotate and L-threonate. All of these types differ in terms of absorbability and specific use. For instance, magnesium glycinate and citrate are absorbed better than magnesium sulfate and oxide, for example. Furthermore, some forms of magnesium are better for treating symptoms like headaches and constipation. That being said, it’s best you learn more about each type of magnesium and what it does, so that you can buy the right type of magnesium supplement or magnesium-rich foods. However, no matter what type of magnesium you take, you will probably experience the aforementioned benefits to some extent, depending on your current overall health and well-being.