Magnesium is an element and mineral found throughout nature and is one of our body’s electrolytes. It is implicated in more than three hundred metabolic reactions in the human organism.
Magnesium has many important roles in the body: it helps keep blood pressure normal, bones strong and a steady heart rhythm. It also plays a central role in the synthesis of DNA and in the metabolism of insulin. Moreover, it helps control inflammation, enhances sleep quality and supports healthy cognitive function. There is also evidence suggesting that a higher magnesium intake can benefit blood sugar levels and may help prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Many people may be magnesium deficient and not even know it. Some key symptoms to look out for that could indicate deficiency include leg cramps, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue and osteoporosis. Furthermore, magnesium has potent mood-boosting properties and is often recommended for mental health mood disorders such depression and anxiety. In fact, some studies have even found that a low intake of magnesium could be associated with an increased risk of depression. Low levels have also been associated with migraines, Alzeimers disease, diabetes and heart disease (Gröber and al., Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy, Nutrients, 2015).
Although there are many magnesium benefits, getting too much of this mineral can also be problematic. Excessive magnesium from food is simply filtered by the kidneys and excreted through the urine. However, high doses of magnesium supplements can potentially cause some adverse side effects such as diarrhea and nausea.
Magnesium can be found in many foods and many high magnesium foods also make the list of top anti-inflammatory foods. Some of the richest magnesium foods include wheat bran, cooked spinach, cooked swiss chard, dark chocolate, dried sunflower seeds, cashews, mackerel, flaxseeds, almonds/almond butter, dried pumpkin seeds, amaranth, buckwheat groats/kasha, black bean, avocado, quinoa, spirulina, dried figs and banana.
Athletes lose magnesium through sweat and urine and a higher intake is recommended than for sedentary persons. Exercising in hot environments, which leads to more sweating, also increases the need for magnesium. Magnesium supports the body against the stress of exercise and may prevent muscle spasms and cramps during intense training or competition.
In conclusion, our magnesium levels impact many aspects of our mental and physical health. In order to make sure that your magnesium levels are balanced and steady, make sure to test your levels and to evaluate how you can make the right changes to rebalance your body and mind.