Magnesium is an important supplement in women's overall and fertility health, but what are the benefits of magnesium supplements exactly? Read on to learn more. 

 

By registered dietician and fertility specialist Lauren Manaker

Magnesium is a nutrient that is gaining a lot of attention these days — and rightfully so. As we learn more about this powerful micronutrient, we are learning all of the reasons why we need to make sure that we are meeting the recommended dose of this mineral every single day. 

If you aren’t on the magnesium bandwagon yet, read on to learn why you need to hop aboard ASAP. 

What’s magnesium?

Before we dig into why magnesium is so important, let’s establish what this popular nutrient actually is. 

Magnesium is a mineral found in abundance in the human body. It’s the fourth most abundant mineral and makes up 1% of your body weight. This nutrient is present in over 100 different enzymes that are responsible for many functions, including:

  • Nervous system function

  • Production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which provides energy for all cells, including your muscles

  • Release of insulin from pancreatic beta cells

Magnesium deficiency can lead to irritability; fatigue; nausea; frequent urination or thirstiness; insomnia; muscle weakness or cramps; abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias); low blood sugar (hypoglycemia); high blood pressure (hypertension), headaches or migraines.

Some estimates suggest that as much as 30% of the population has magnesium deficiency

For most healthy adults, adequate magnesium intake can help support their health by supporting healthy blood sugar levels, supporting bone health, and helping combat feelings of anxiety, along with many other positive roles in the human body. We can get enough magnesium from the foods we eat and from taking supplements. 

Signs of magnesium deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is a condition that we should all do our best to avoid. If you want to know if you are suffering from a magnesium deficiency, your best bet is to get a simple blood test from your healthcare provider. 

If you are experiencing any of these signs, you may have a magnesium deficiency and should take steps to bring your levels up to speed:

  • loss of appetite

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • weakness

  • numbness and tingling

  • muscle contractions 

  • muscle cramps

In extreme cases, heart health concerns can occur as well. 

Benefits of magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that is critical to a slew of health functions in our body. Among the sea of roles this micronutrient plays, here are some star players:

  • Sleep
  • Magnesium has become a go-to solution for people who have difficulty sleeping. This mineral plays a role in supporting the function of certain neurotransmitters, which can impact sleep. It also helps regulate melatonin, and helps the body relax. Magnesium has also been shown to enhance sleep quality as well. 

    According to results of a clinical trial, people who took a magnesium supplement experienced outcomes like better sleep efficiency, sleep onset, and quantity of overall sleep when compared with placebo

  • Blood pressure
  • Having high blood pressure is a condition that many Americans live with. Finding ways to reduce their elevated levels to a healthy point can help reduce the risk of experiencing stroke, vision loss, heart attack, and sexual function.  

    Magnesium helps blood vessels dilate and relax, allowing for blood to flow more freely and help maintain healthy blood pressure. And data shows that taking magnesium supplements is linked to lower blood pressure in certain populations.

  • Muscle contractions and/or cramps
  • Since magnesium plays a role in muscle contraction, having magnesium deficiency may cause a person to experience muscle cramps. Specifically, data show that magnesium may help the body use glucose and limit lactate from building up in muscles, ultimately potentially combatting that uncomfortable cramping feeling

  • Relaxation and destressor
  • You may have noticed that many supplements that promote calmness contain magnesium. This is because this mineral plays a key role in the brain and its ability to promote relaxation and may help manage anxiety. By regulating neurotransmitters, this nutrient can help people feel more calm in certain cases. 

    In fact, results from a meta analysis that evaluated 18 studies found that there is a link between magnesium levels and certain forms of anxiety, including mild anxiety and anxiety experienced because of PMS. 

    Magnesium rich foods

    Many food groups contain options that can fuel your body with magnesium. From certain fruits to whole grains, there is a wide variety of magnesium-food choices that are equally delicious and easy to incorporate into a balanced diet. 

    Foods that can help you meet your magnesium needs include:

    • Dark chocolate

    • Green leafy vegetables

    • Walnuts

    • Avocado

    • Legumes

    • Tofu

    • Whole grains

    • Salmon

    • Bananas

    • Milk

    Of course, supplementation is always an option for people who do not include magnesium foods in their diet regularly. Talk to your healthcare provider about what makes sense for your lifestyle and needs.

    Magnesium supplements

    Taking nutritional supplements is a common practice for many people, especially if they don’t eat a balanced diet or they have a hard time eating enough of certain foods. And since many people are not meeting the recommended dose of magnesium, taking a magnesium supplement can help fill nutritional gaps.

    Magnesium Supplements For Your Health and Wellness

    Let’s be honest — who doesn’t want strong bones, a calm demeanor, healthy blood pressure, and fewer muscle cramps? Of course, there are no guarantees that taking magnesium supplements will ensure that you will be free from all of these symptoms, but popping these pills or mixing these supplements in water before drinking may help reduce your risk of experiencing all of these unsavory outcomes — and more. 

    Including magnesium supplements in your daily routine is one simple step that may have a profound impact on your overall health, and it is certainly something that most people should explore. 

     

    References

    Li S, Tian H.  [Oral low-dose magnesium gluconate preventing pregnancy induced hypertension]. Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi. 1997;32(10):613-615.
    Bullarbo M, Mattson H, Broman AK, Ödman N, Nielsen TF. Magnesium Supplementation and Blood Pressure in Pregnancy: A Double-Blind Randomized Multicenter Study. J Pregnancy. 2018;2018:4843159. Published 2018 May 29. doi:10.1155/2018/4843159
    Young GL, Jewell D. Interventions for leg cramps in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD000121. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000121
    Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. Published 2017 Apr 26. doi:10.3390/nu9050429

     

    Featured Image by Evie Shaffer