Safe and widely available, magnesium is one of the key ingredients to keeping all of the body’s systems healthy. Without enough magnesium, your body simply can’t function properly.
Fortunately, the body—specifically, the kidneys—do a very good job of maintaining adequate magnesium levels, even with wide variations in intake levels. In short, magnesium deficiency is rare. Most people don’t have to worry about getting enough of it, and can instead focus on the many benefits magnesium can provide.
The problem is, you struggle to list them all. Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 chemical reactions and enzyme systems inside the body. Your muscles and nerves need it to function, your circulatory system needs it to control blood sugar levels and blood pressure, your cells need it to produce energy and synthesize proteins to build healthy tissues, your bones need it to develop, and the list goes on.
Studies also show that magnesium, because it’s so important for nerve and muscle function, can boost exercise performance. When you exercise, you uptake more magnesium than when you’re resting—anywhere from 10-20 percent more. During a workout, for example, magnesium helps move blood sugar into your muscles and remove lactic acid build up, which causes muscles to fatigue and get sore.
Increasing magnesium intake during exercise can therefore boost performance, not just for athletes, but also for elderly folks and people with chronic disease.
In addition to providing health benefits for your body, magnesium can also help to fight depression. That’s because magnesium plays a central role in the brain functions that regulate mood. Researchers have linked low levels of magnesium to an increased risk of depression. So much so, in fact, that some experts believe today’s low-magnesium diet could contribute to many cases of depression and mental illness.
More research is needed, but a couple pioneering studies observed that magnesium supplements helped in some cases to significantly reduce symptoms of depression. For some, magnesium improved mood as effectively as common antidepressant drugs.
Magnesium also provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Low levels of this vital mineral have been linked to chronic inflammation, a major driver of chronic disease. In overweight adults and people with prediabetes, magnesium can reduce inflammatory markers and, reduce triglyceride levels and reduce inflammation.