Magnesium is a mineral essential to more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body– from metabolism to blood pressure regulation. Studies reveal that not only are people with diabetes more inclined to have a magnesium deficiency than those who do not have the condition, but that magnesium deficiency could even be correlated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Further, when getting adequate amounts of magnesium, it’s believed that it can actually reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even if the individual is overweight or obese.
Unfortunately, this “miracle” mineral often gets forgotten. It’s rarely prescribed as a supplement, as doctors tend to favor more popular minerals like calcium and potassium. And with the Standard American Diet (SAD) neglecting to provide an adequate amount (the recommended daily allowance is 350 to 400mg, though some doctors recommend as much as twice that), it’s easy to understand why some estimates suggest nearly 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient.
But if it’s so easy to forget, it can’t be that big of a deal, right? Well, a magnesium deficiency can come with significant side effects, which we discuss here. But what about the benefits? Why is it so important to get your daily dose of magnesium? What can it actually do to improve your health, and where can you find it?
Benefits of Magnesium
1. Aids in Insulin Release- Magnesium is crucial to carbohydrate and glucose metabolism. It’s also one of the best minerals for improving insulin sensitivity. Many studies suggest that magnesium deficiency can actually lead to insulin resistance.
2. Increases Energy and Helps with Insomnia- Remember when I mentioned how magnesium is responsible for more than 300 biochemical reactions? Well, that includes turning glucose into energy. So, if your magnesium levels are low, you energy might be too.
Magnesium can also help calm your brain and body, signaling it’s time to rest, which can help you fall (and stay) asleep. Conversely, people who have a magnesium deficiency might be more inclined to struggle with insomnia.
3. Helps with Nerves and Anxiety- Studies show that magnesium may affect the glands that control an individual’s reaction to stress. This can result in increased levels of anxiety in people who aren’t getting enough of this vital mineral. There’s a growing body of evidence that supports the notion that magnesium could prove useful as a supplement to traditional antidepressant treatment.
4. Aids in Digestion and Bladder Control- Magnesium can neutralize stomach acids that prohibit food from being digested smoothly. It can also relax the muscles in the digestive tract and increase the amount of water in your intestines, helping your stool pass.
5. Promotes Bone Health and Muscle Growth- The mineral is vital for protein synthesis. Research depicts a positive correlation between the growth of lean tissue and healthy magnesium levels.
Magnesium can also lower an individual’s chances of developing osteoporosis by regulating the amount of calcium absorbed by your body. Additionally, it’s an integral piece of vitamin D activation in the kidneys, which is essential to bone health.
L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.