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3 Benefits of Magnesium - What Makes This an Essential Nutrient?

Expertly reviewed by Chris Icamen · Dietetics and Nutrition

Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated May 11, 2022

3 Benefits of Magnesium - What Makes This an Essential Nutrient?

We all know how nutrients such as magnesium can help us attain overall health. But how exactly do they work to our advantage? In this article, we explore the benefits of magnesium for both the mind and the body. 

Getting to Know Your Nutrients: Magnesium 

Magnesium is an essential nutrient that the body needs to function properly. This mineral aids more than 300 enzymes in carrying out different chemical reactions in the body, such as:

  • Protein synthesis
  • Bone formation
  • DNA synthesis
  • Blood sugar, and blood pressure regulation
  • Muscle function
  • Nerve function 
  • It also functions as an electrical conductor of the body, contracting muscles and causing the heart to beat steadily. More than half of the body’s magnesium is present in bones while the remainder is in various tissues throughout the body.

    You can get some nutrients from magnesium in food and other dietary, as well as multivitamin-mineral supplements. 

    Experts recommend that men should get around 400 – 420 mg of magnesium per day. Whereas, women should consume about 310-320 mg per day of it. Consuming a sufficient amount of it on a daily basis can bring about some benefits of magnesium to your health. 

    What Does It Mean to Have Low Magnesium Levels?

    If you don’t get enough magnesium for an extended period of time, you may develop health concerns like:

    Over time, magnesium deficiency can also lead to low calcium and potassium levels. As a result, you may experience symptoms including but not limited to the following:

    • Headaches
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle weakness
    • Numbness or tingling sensations
    • Muscle cramps
    • Seizures
    • Personality changes
    • Abnormal heart rhythm

    People with other conditions such as gastrointestinal disease, type 2 diabetes, and even those with long-term alcoholism, are prone to getting only a minimal amount of magnesium. The same goes for older people, which brings in the tendency of having weakening muscles and bones. 

    4 Benefits of Magnesium

    Magnesium Can Improve Bone Health

    On top of the list of benefits of magnesium is its capability to enhance bone health and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. It controls calcium levels by allowing activity regulation of bone-building cells and parathyroid hormone, which is responsible for calcium levels.

    A Women’s Health Initiative cohort study of 73,684 postmenopausal women discovered that a lower magnesium intake was associated with lower hip and total body bone mineral density. However, the authors did indicate that their findings did not translate to an increased risk of fractures.

    Magnesium Reduces Episodes of Headaches and Migraines

    In a randomized double-blind clinical trial, the intake of magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide supplements (about 500 mg/day) helped patients recover significantly from their headaches and migraine attacks. Thus, revealing a more effective and fast-acting treatment than the standard one. 

    The National Headache Foundation recommends a daily magnesium dose of 400-600 mg to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. But, the said dosage is higher than the RDA, so it may cause some side effects. They advise consulting a doctor before taking high-dosage magnesium supplements.

    Magnesium Can Help You Sleep Better at Night

    According to studies, magnesium could help alleviate the symptoms of insomnia. It showed significant improvement on many different subjective and objective measures of taking 500 mg of magnesium daily for eight weeks.

    Furthermore, other studies also yielded consistent results. Patients who took a combination supplement of magnesium, melatonin, and vitamin B for three months saw substantial improvements in their sleep quality. Not only did it result in reduced symptoms of insomnia and side effects, but it also led to a higher quality of life.

    What Food Can Provide You the Benefits of Magnesium?

    You may find magnesium in a wide variety of food selections which includes:

    • Dark green, leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli) 
    • Fruits (bananas, dried apricots, avocados)
    • Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, flaxseeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds)
    • Legumes (edamame, black beans, lima beans)
    • Fiber-rich whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, millet, oatmeals)
    • Soy products (soy flour, tofu)
    • Dark chocolate
    • Milk and yogurt

    Can Other Medications Interfere with the Benefits of Magnesium?

    If you are taking magnesium supplements, then it can interfere with how your body absorbs certain medications, such as:

    • Diuretics
    • Drug treatments for acid reflux and stomach ulcers
    • Bisphosphonates (osteoporosis medication) 
    • Some antibiotics

    Also, if you take high doses of zinc supplements, it can affect your ability to absorb and regulate magnesium. 

    Key Takeaways

    In general, there are many ways wherein magnesium may be beneficial to your life. But, it is important that you also consult your doctor first, as other medications can interfere with magnesium supplements. 

    Having a good load of magnesium in your daily diet can keep you going throughout the day and provide that added boost on the road to better health.

    Learn more about Nutrition Facts here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Chris Icamen

    Dietetics and Nutrition

    Written by Fiel Tugade · Updated May 11, 2022

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