Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys, needs magnesium. This mineral also
contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Magnesium activates enzymes, contributes to energy
production, and helps regulate levels of calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other
important nutrients in the body.
You can get magnesium from many foods. However, most people in the U.S. probably do not get as
much magnesium as they should from their diet. Foods rich in magnesium include whole grains, nuts,
and green vegetables. Green leafy vegetables are particularly good sources of magnesium.
Although you may not get enough magnesium from your diet, it is rare to be deficient in magnesium.
However, certain medical conditions can upset the body's magnesium balance. For example, an
intestinal virus that causes vomiting or diarrhea can cause a temporary magnesium deficiency. Some
health conditions can lead to deficiencies, including:
- Gastrointestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis Diabetes
- Hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone levels)
- Kidney disease
- Taking diuretics
Other factors that can lower magnesium levels include:
- Drinking too much coffee, soda, or alcohol
- Eating too much sodium (salt)
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Excessive sweating
- Prolonged stress
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include:
- Agitation and anxiety
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
- Sleep disorders
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Low blood pressure
- Muscle spasm and weakness
- Poor nail growth
Benefits Of Magnesium
Getting enough magnesium may enhance the effectiveness of conventional treatment for the following
Several studies show that intravenous (IV) magnesium can help treat acute attacks of asthma in adults and children, 6 to 18 years of age. Low levels of magnesium may increase the risk of developing asthma. A population-based clinical study of more than 2,500 children, 11 to 19 years of age, found that low dietary magnesium intake may be associated with the risk of asthma. The same was found in a group of more than 2,600 adults, 18 to 70 years of age.
Inadequate magnesium appears to reduce serotonin levels, and antidepressants have been shown to raise brain magnesium. One study found that magnesium was as effective as tricyclic antidepressants in treating depression among people with diabetes.
People who have type 2 diabetes often have low blood levels of magnesium. A study found that getting more magnesium may help protect against type 2 diabetes. Some studies suggest that magnesium may help blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes or prediabetes.
A study found that magnesium improved pain and tenderness associated with fibromyalgia when taken for at least 2 months. Other studies suggest the combination of calcium and magnesium may be helpful for some people with fibromyalgia.
Noise-Related Hearing Loss
One study suggests that taking magnesium may prevent temporary or permanent hearing loss due to very loud noise.
Arrhythmia And Heart Failure
Magnesium is essential to heart health. Studies suggest a possible association between a modestly lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in men and increased magnesium intake. One study shows magnesium was associated with a lower risk of sudden cardiac death. Magnesium helps maintain a normal heart rhythm and doctors sometimes administer it intravenously (IV) in the hospital to reduce the chance of atrial fibrillation and cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). People with congestive heart failure (CHF) are often at risk for developing cardiac arrhythmia. For this reason, doctors may decide that magnesium should be a part of the treatment of CHF. One well-designed study found that taking magnesium orotate for a year reduced symptoms and improved survival rates in people with CHF when compared to placebo. Magnesium and calcium work together at very precise ratios to ensure your heart functions properly. Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium IV if you have a history of cardiac issues.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Eating low-fat dairy products and lots of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis is associated with lower blood pressure. All these foods are rich in magnesium, as well as calcium and potassium. A large clinical study found that a higher magnesium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure in women. A few studies also suggest that magnesium may help lower blood pressure, although not all studies agree.
A few studies suggest that magnesium may help prevent migraine headaches. In addition, research suggests that magnesium may shorten the duration of a migraine and reduce the amount of medication needed. People who have migraine headaches tend to have lower levels of magnesium compared to those with tension headaches or no headaches at all.
Some experts recommend combining magnesium with vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and the herb feverfew when you have a headache.
Not getting enough calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and other micronutrients may play a role in the development of osteoporosis. To prevent osteoporosis, it is important to:
- Get enough calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Do weight bearing exercises throughout life
Preeclampsia And Eclampsia
Preeclampsia is characterized by a sharp rise in blood pressure during the third trimester of pregnancy. Women with preeclampsia may develop seizures, which is then called eclampsia. Magnesium given by IV, is the treatment of choice to prevent or treat seizures associated with eclampsia or to prevent complications from preeclampsia. Some physicians also use magnesium sulfate to manage pre-term labor.