Magnesium mineral has many fantastic properties and is very essential for the proper functioning of living cells. The human body contains magnesium ions – all of them biological phosphate compounds – that play a crucial role in controlling DNA, ATP and RNA. In fact of all the minerals found in the body, it is the eleventh greatest in terms of mass.
Magnesium Health Benefits
Magnesium is one of the essential minerals required by body for promoting overall health and body functions. The health benefits of magnesium are not exaggerated for they are required by all major organs in the body – mainly heart, kidneys and muscles. It makes up a large part of the bones and teeth, contributes to energy production, regulates calcium levels, activates enzymes and controls the levels of other minerals like zinc, copper, vitamin D, potassium and many other essential nutrients. Here are some of the specific illnesses or medical conditions that can be targeted by consuming magnesium rich foods or magnesium supplements.
Magnesium has numerous health benefits, some of the key benefits of this mineral are discussed here:
Benefits to Heart : The health benefits of magnesium for the heart are extremely critical. Studies have found a direct link between lesser risk of CHD and increased ingestion of magnesium in men. Women who included more magnesium rich foods in their diet dramatically reduced their risk of dying due to a cardiac arrest. The reason why magnesium is so essential for heart health is that it helps to maintain normal rhythm of the heart. Cardiac arrhythmia is commonly developed by those with congestive heart failure. Cardiac specialists often recommend magnesium intravenously to reduce the risk of arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation.
Benefits in Asthma : Children and teenagers in the age group 6-18 years of age who suffer from acute asthma can get relief using IV magnesium or magnesium inhaled using a nebulizer.
Benefits for symptoms of Depression : When magnesium levels in the brain are low, then people can sink into depression. Antidepressant medication is used to increase the levels of magnesium in the brain.
Benefits in Diabetes : One of the causes for Type 2 diabetes is low levels of magnesium. A clinical study involving a group of more than 2000 people has found that increased consumption of magnesium rich foods can actually protect humans from the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
Benefits in Fibromyalgia : This is a painful symptom that can debilitate people and it was found that a tablet containing magnesium and malic acid can alleviate the tenderness and pain of fibromyalgia as long as it is taken for a minimum of 2 months.
Benefits for High Blood Pressure : Foods rich in magnesium are said to lower blood pressure. This has been proven after a study of 8500 women who increased their dietary intake of magnesium. A study by the ‘Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension’ or DASH has suggested that consuming magnesium rich foods like low fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure significantly. All these foods are high in potassium, magnesium and calcium and low in fat and sodium. DASH has further suggested that magnesium rich foods can bring positive lifestyle changes in those suffering from hypertension.
Benefits for Migraine Headaches : Some studies suggest that magnesium supplements actually prevent migraines. Those who suffer from migraines are found to have lower levels of magnesium in the body. Doctors even recommend the combination if feverfew herb and magnesium with riboflavin (Vitamin B2) as one way to ease the symptoms of a migraine.
Miscellaneous Health Benefits
- Osteoporosis is a result of insufficient Vitamin D, calcium and magnesium in the body. To prevent this debilitating condition in older people, it is recommended that the diet include foods rich in these vitamins and minerals and also a mineral supplement.
- PMS symptoms like leg swelling, breast tenderness, insomnia, bloating etc. can also be relieved with a combination of Vitamin B6 and magnesium.
- During pregnancy, women who suffer from eclampsia and preeclampsia during their third trimester suffer from seizures. Magnesium is often given intravenously for treating these conditions in pregnant women.
- Restless legs syndrome that usually occurs when sleeping or sitting can be eased with magnesium supplements.
- Collagen is a protein, which occurs naturally and it is found in fibrous tissues such as ligaments, skin and tendons. Magnesium rich foods and supplements produce the proteins that slowly become collagen.
- Bladder problems affect many women and this can result in the need to urinate frequently. This is caused due to infections, interstitial cystitis or nephritis. Regular intake of magnesium supplements can bring great relief to women who suffer from this ailment.
- Nerve and Muscle relaxation can be achieved and muscle tone can be improved with a combination of calcium and magnesium. A deficiency in magnesium can trigger soreness, tension, spasms, fatigue and cramps of the muscles.
Foods rich in Magnesium
Health benefits of magnesium can be enjoyed from foods such as: legumes, whole grains, tofu, wheat bran, green leafy vegetables, soybean flour, nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, , blackstrap molasses, squash seeds, pumpkins etc. Apart from this, mineral supplements can also give the necessary daily requirement of magnesium.
Precautions while taking Magnesium
While the health benefits of magnesium are numerous, it is always important to take magnesium supplements only if a doctor prescribes it especially for children, pregnant women, athletes in training and those recovering from illnesses or surgery. Dosages are prescribed based on the ‘Food and Nutrition Board of the United States Government's Office of Dietary Supplements. A health care provider will normally recommend that magnesium supplements be taken along with Vitamin B to improve its absorption into body cells.
The health benefits of magnesium cannot be exaggerated and should not be ignored. When we see the far reaching effects it has on various serious illnesses like heart failure, and others mentioned in this article, both young and old need their daily dosage of magnesium either as supplements or in food form. Like all other minerals and vitamins, the appropriate level of magnesium in the diet is needed to maintain good health.