The benefits of magnesium may be far greater than previously thought, with newer studies suggesting that magnesium plays a significant role in maintaining health and preventing disease. In the past, scientists and nutritionists have tended to think of the mineral as less important than some of the other major vitamins, like vitamin D or C, but it has emerged as equally necessary for good health.
What does Magnesium Do?
Magnesium has been found to contribute to over 300 enzymatic processes in the body and facilitates many physiological functions. Its major roles in the body include energy production; growth and maintenance of strong bones and teeth; blood vessel control; regular and healthy bowel function; balancing of blood sugar; and muscular performance. Considering that these functions, connected as they are to the major systems in the body (e.g., bowel function to the digestive system and muscular performance to the heart), it should be no surprise that magnesium has such far-reaching benefits.
Main Health Benefits
As of yet, it is thought that magnesium may have over 100 health benefits; many of which are psychological as well as physiological. While this may seem like an astounding (and unbelievable) number, it is reasonable when you consider how many physiological systems magnesium is connected with. These benefits are backed up by the recent research, which has shown that magnesium can almost certainly be linked to one’s health status. For example, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article where the authors focused on seven different studies, covering a sample of 240 000 people. The collective results showed that there is a link between magnesium and strokes, and suggested that high magnesium may contribute to lowered risk of stroke and vice versa. While not all of the touted benefits of magnesium have, as of yet, strong research behind them, the following benefits are most frequently associated with magnesium, owing to the strength of the studies that have been tested so far
- Migraines and headaches – migraines can be intensely debilitating, and most often people cannot seem to find the cause of their suffering, even after many appointment and money spent on neurologists, blood tests, and head scans. If this is you, then you may simply be deficient in magnesium.
- Fibromyalgia – a condition that causes muscular pain; thought to be hereditary and quite difficult to treat owing to the wide-spread nature of the pain and lack of understanding as to how it works. Because magnesium works to relax the muscles, it can help to soothe inflammation in those with fibromyalgia.
- Muscular cramps, spasms, and restless leg syndrome – magnesium works for muscular cramps and restless legs much the same as it does for fibromyalgia, by relaxing the muscles.
- Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) – although magnesium mostly works for the cramps involved with PMS, it can also help to minimise mood swings, and the mineral has been suggested as a natural anti-depressant and mood stabiliser.
- Fatigue – owing to its role in creating energy, it stands to reason that low magnesium equals weakness and fatigue, and a little extra magnesium in the diet can therefore boost energy and decrease physical and mental fatigue.