Magnesium: An essential mineral your body needs for optimal health
06/15/2022 // Olivia Cook // Views

Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in your body. It also helps you maintain good overall health. This nutrient is present in many foods, dietary supplements and some medicines, such as antacids and laxatives.

The magnesium contained in plants and seafood is not harmful and does not need to be limited. You can easily meet your daily needs by eating magnesium-rich foods, such as green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, beet greens), seeds (pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds), nuts (Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds), legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas), cacao, whole grains (quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat) and fruits (avocados, bananas, raspberries, cantaloupe and strawberries). If you crave seafood, many types of fish offer respectable amounts of magnesium, including salmon, mackerel and halibut.

In supplement form, magnesium should only be consumed in amounts recommended by a professional healthcare provider. The amount of magnesium you need for various biological processes, such as making protein, bones and DNA and regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure, depends on your age and gender.

Science-backed benefits of magnesium

Magnesium has numerous health benefits, such as:

Supports antioxidant glutathione production

Glutathione, the "life-extending master antioxidant," cannot be produced without magnesium. According to Dr. Russel Blaylock, author of "Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients," magnesium plays a critical role in glutathione levels.


Magnesium increases the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), an enzyme that accelerates how quickly glutathione neutralizes free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells causing illness and aging).

Supports a healthy immune system

Magnesium improves the white blood cells’ ability to seek out and destroy germs. Low magnesium can lead to a cytokine storm as the body attacks its own cells and tissues instead of fighting infection – creating inflammation, cell and tissue damage, narrowed blood vessels and blood clots.

According to a study published in Missouri Medicine, magnesium is important for activating vitamin D and has a protective role against oxidative stress that can cause chronic inflammation. Magnesium deficiency weakens immune responses by increasing the susceptibility of endothelial cells (inner lining of a blood vessel that provides an anticoagulant barrier between the vessel wall and blood) to oxidative stress. After supplementing with magnesium, a partial or near full reversal of immunodeficiency occurs.

Supports optimal cardiovascular function

In a normal heart, there is a balance between calcium and potassium ion levels in both the outer and inner walls of the heart. Magnesium plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes—a process that is important to normal heart rhythm. (Related: Magnesium and atrial fibrillation.)

A study that appeared in Open Access evaluated the effect of magnesium supplementation and cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) after acute coronary syndrome (conditions associated with sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart.) Meta-analysis showed that magnesium could decrease the risk of ventricular arrhythmias by about 32 percent and superventricular arrhythmias by about 42 percent.

A study published in Open Heart showed that magnesium plays an important role in cardiovascular health. "It is instrumental for the proper maintenance of cellular membrane potential, functioning of the mitochondria and plays a key role in the body’s antioxidative pathways."

Diabetes affects your heart and your whole circulation, including small blood vessels in your kidneys, eyes, nerves and the big blood vessels that feed your heart and brain and keep you alive. Results of a study published in Nutrients showed that oral magnesium supplementation reduces insulin resistance and improves glycemic control indicators among Type 2 diabetes patients. (Related: Magnesium prevents diabetes.)

Supports strong bones and teeth

Magnesium contributes to bone density and bone crystal formation. Further, it helps regulate vitamin D levels, which helps in the intestinal absorption of calcium. This, in turn, is beneficial for the growth of strong and healthy bones and teeth.

According to a study published in the journal Current Osteoporosis Reports, magnesium plays a vital role in ensuring that calcium ends up in the rich mineral deposits in your bones and teeth. (Related: Magnesium and osteoporosis: 10 reasons why magnesium could prevent osteoporosis.)

A study published in Biometals showed that magnesium benefits bone health both in terms of bone mineral density and fracture risk.

Supports optimal muscle health and function

Magnesium binds to muscle cells to help them relax. A study published in Nutrients indicated that adequate levels of magnesium intake from diet or combined with supplements can maintain muscle integrity by permitting muscle recovery from intense and strenuous exercise, as found in a cycling competition.

A study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management demonstrated the efficacy of magnesium in alleviating pain.

Supports digestive health

Magnesium supports healthy digestion and regular bowel movements when incorporated into your daily food regimen. As soon as you put food into your mouth, magnesium helps make enzymes in your saliva break food down into smaller parts, helping the entire digestive process.

Supports healthy energy levels

According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, magnesium plays a crucial role in your body's natural energy production and metabolism.

Supports deep and restful sleep

Magnesium interacts with GABA, a neurotransmitter that reduces the activity of neurons in the brain, quieting and calming the nervous system and encouraging sleep.

According to a study published in Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, magnesium impacts melatonin, the hormone that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycles and relaxes muscles to induce deeper sleep. Other studies found that magnesium improves total sleep time and quality and shortens the time it takes to fall asleep.

A study in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences showed the efficacy of magnesium supplementation in improving insomnia in the elderly, such as the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) score, sleep efficiency, sleep time and sleep onset latency and early morning awakening.

Helps fight depression

A study that appears in Neuropharmacology shows magnesium’s positive effects on the GABA neurotransmitter come into play again with mood stabilization and stress reduction. This mineral is critical for regulating the stress response system of the body, often referred to as "fight or flight."

Data supports emerging evidence that low magnesium levels are associated with different facets of anxiety behavior, including low levels of serotonin, your body's feel-good chemical that regulates anxiety, happiness and mood.

Watch the video below about magnesium benefits.

This video is from the Holistic Herbalist channel at

More related stories:

Here's what you need to know about vitamin D and your magnesium intake.

A plant-based diet can help prevent asthma, suggests study.

Solving the MSG problem with magnesium.

The detrimental effects of magnesium deficiency.

Sources include: 1 2 1 1 1 2 2 3 2

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