What Are The 3 Main Functions Of Magnesium In The Body?
There’s a lot to know about magnesium and its vital role in our overall health and well-being.
Magnesium supplementation has become increasingly popular in the health and wellness industry for many reasons. In this article, we’ll be looking at the 3 main functions of magnesium in the body.
What Exactly is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral that our bodies need in order to function properly. It’s an essential part of so many different processes and plays a role in everything from muscle contraction and relaxation, and blood sugar control to maintaining healthy bones.
Although we can get our magnesium intake from a variety of magnesium-rich foods, we often don’t consume enough or absorb enough of it through foods alone.
It’s estimated that about 50% of all adults are deficient in magnesium and according to experts, cases of magnesium deficiency have been steadily on the rise.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, magnesium dietary supplements may be necessary to fill in any gaps so as to avoid all the health concerns related to not having enough magnesium for the body to function properly, including magnesium deficiency.
What Are the 3 Main Functions Of Magnesium?
So, what are the 3 main functions of magnesium?
When discussing these three main functions, it’s important to note that this mineral is responsible for regulating more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
Magnesium has a profound effect on many aspects of our health, including cardiovascular health, digestion, metabolism, and immune system functioning as well as the 3 specific functions discussed below.
Regulating Muscle and Nerve Function
Magnesium plays a key role in healthy muscles and nerves, as it is necessary for maintaining proper cellular and nerve function.
Magnesium helps the body metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which the cells use to generate energy.
Magnesium is necessary for proper muscle contraction and relaxation. It helps transport calcium ions across cell membranes, which is required to activate essential enzymatic reactions within the muscle fibers that facilitate contraction and relaxation.
On top of that, it helps synthesize gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which allows nerve signals to effectively communicate to the brain and calm muscles during strenuous activity.
All in all, magnesium serves as an important regulator of muscle and nerve function and its deficiency can lead to adverse effects such as cramps, spasms, or poor cognitive performance.
Blood Sugar Levels and Blood Pressure
Another major role of magnesium is blood sugar control by promoting glucose metabolism within cells.
By helping cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream more efficiently, it helps control diabetes symptoms and prevent insulin resistance from forming in people who are at risk for developing diabetes or prediabetes.
Magnesium also plays a part in managing blood pressure by managing sodium levels within cells, which can help keep lower high blood pressure.
Magnesium helps keep blood vessels relaxed which allows more oxygen-rich blood to flow through them, which can help manage hypertension (high blood pressure).
Maintaining our magnesium levels helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, which is very beneficial for overall cardiovascular health.
Making Protein, Bone, and DNA
Magnesium plays an integral part in protein formation and bone and DNA development.
Proteins are made up of amino acids which are held together by chemical bonds—one of them being magnesium bonds—which gives proteins their 3D shape, allowing them to do their job effectively within the body’s cells.
Magnesium plays an important role in creating strong bones by helping calcium bind with other minerals resulting in stronger, healthier bones. Not enough magnesium means our bones are weaker and prone to breakage.
Lastly, magnesium has been identified as being indispensable for proper DNA replication, transcription, repair, and regulation.
Without this essential mineral, the process of creating new cells from old ones couldn’t take place—making magnesium’s role in the creation of protein, bone, and DNA absolutely crucial!
Magnesium deficiency is a health issue that occurs when the body does not have enough magnesium to perform its necessary functions.
The most common symptom associated with this condition is fatigue, although other signs are:
- muscle cramps,
- nausea and vomiting,
- increased anxiety,
- racing heart rate,
- and sleep disturbances.
If left untreated for an extended period of time, magnesium deficiency can lead to more serious heart issues such as arrhythmia or even depression.
Fortunately, magnesium deficiency can be easily treated.
It’s important for anyone experiencing any of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency to talk to their doctor right away so they can be properly tested and get on a treatment plan that works best for them should the results confirm they are deficient in this essential mineral.
Sources Of Magnesium
Getting enough magnesium shouldn’t be difficult as there are many sources readily available.
With a bit of research, you should be able to find the best source of magnesium suited to your lifestyle and personal preferences.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most common sources of magnesium to assist you in upping your magnesium intake.
Adding dietary supplements to your daily regimen is a great way to increase the amount of magnesium you consume.
Dietary supplements are specially formulated to provide the body with a concentrated form of nutrients and minerals.
By consuming dietary supplements, you can ensure that you are getting an adequate amount of magnesium in your diet.
Magnesium dietary supplements come in many forms including tablets, capsules, powdered drinks, and liquids.
Depending on how quickly your body needs to absorb the magnesium and how you prefer to take it, you can pick the form of supplement that works best for you.
All forms are designed to allow your body to easily process the magnesium so it can be immediately used by your body’s cells.
Not sure which one works best for you? Your doctor or nutritionist can provide helpful advice tailored specifically to your individual needs.
Certain medicines are considered to be sources of magnesium. From antacids to laxatives, you can find brands of these medicines on the market that actually contain magnesium.
Choosing the brand that has magnesium in it, allows you to benefit from the positive effects this mineral can provide while taking a required medicine.
Magnesium sulfate, also known as Epsom salt, is one of the more common magnesium sources used in medicinal remedies. It has been used for thousands of years to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
Magnesium citrate is another popular medicine source of magnesium that has been used to treat constipation and heartburn by drawing water into the intestines.
Other forms include magnesium gluconate, which helps with metabolic functions, magnesium chloride, which works similarly to Epsom salt but provides a higher concentration of magnesium ions when taken orally and magnesium hydroxide, which helps keep your stomach acid balanced.
Taking any of these medications may provide adequate amounts of this important mineral to those who may also need to increase their magnesium intake.
There are a great many food sources that are considered to be magnesium-rich. Adding any of these to your daily diet will definitely help to boost your magnesium levels:
- grains such as buckwheat and quinoa
- dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, or swiss chard
- seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame
- legumes such as black beans, kidney beans, soybeans
- nuts including cashews, almonds, and Brazil nuts
- dark chocolate
- fish such as salmon, mackerel, or tuna
- Greek yogurt
Magnesium and Health
Magnesium is a crucial mineral when it comes to maintaining a healthy body and mind. Recent studies show that it plays a key role in lowering the risk of many major health conditions.
Let’s take a look at some of these health conditions that benefit from sufficient magnesium intake.
Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease
Magnesium has been proven to be an incredibly beneficial mineral in helping to reduce the risk of both high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Numerous studies have indicated that magnesium may regulate the production of nitric oxide, a compound produced to relax the body’s blood vessels.
When blood vessels are relaxed, it can help reduce blood pressure and in turn, decrease the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Lower levels of magnesium have been linked with increased homocysteine, a molecule linked to an increased risk for heart attacks.
Type 2 Diabetes
Magnesium supplements are a great way to help manage type 2 diabetes.
This mineral plays an essential role in controlling blood sugar levels, improving insulin sensitivity, and helping the body process carbohydrates more efficiently.
By taking a daily magnesium supplement, people with type 2 diabetes can dramatically enhance their health, wellness, and quality of life.
For people with osteoporosis, magnesium may help to replenish calcium levels in the bones and strengthen them against fractures.
Studies have shown that there is a link between inadequate dietary magnesium intake and low bone density.
Magnesium supplements can reduce joint pain related to osteoporosis, as well as increase collagen production, which is critical for bone health.
For those suffering from migraine headaches, magnesium supplements can provide some much-needed relief.
When used as a form of preventative medication or treatment, magnesium supplements can significantly reduce the frequency of migraines.
In addition to reducing their frequency, studies indicate that magnesium can help with the pain associated with migraines once they begin.
The right dosage needs to be determined by your doctor, as too much magnesium can lead to unwanted side effects.
The Bottom Line
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, there are many benefits to ensuring your magnesium intake is more than adequate.
Whether you’re considering magnesium supplements for any or all of the 3 main functions of magnesium discussed here or for some other amazing benefits this incredible mineral has to offer, we hope you have found this article helpful.
You’ll find more great health tips and resources over at our Health and Nutrition BLOG for living your best life. Want to be sure you’re getting the quality supplements your body deserves? You’ll find everything you’re looking for on our collagen product page. Here’s to your health!