Magnesium has become something of a buzzword in the wellbeing world in recent years – and rightly so. But what is magnesium good for?
From stress relief and sleep to migraines and muscle mass, magnesium is something of a health all-star. We know we need it, but what is magnesium, what are the main uses, and how should you get it in your body?
Let’s take a closer look…
What is Magnesium?
Back to basics, magnesium is an essential mineral that is required for good health. Know that it shouldn’t be confused with the trace mineral manganese.
Magnesium is required for more than 600 chemical reactions in your body. These include regulating heart rhythm, blood pressure, muscle and nerve function, as well as making bone, protein and DNA. It is also vital for energy creation.
While everybody is different, men require around 420 mg of magnesium every day, while women need around 320 mg per day. You can get this from natural and fortified foods (see below), as well as other sources.
Without enough magnesium in your body, you are susceptible to fatigue, weakness, nausea, numbness, muscle cramps, and abnormal heart rhythms, among other undesirable symptoms.
What is Magnesium Good For?
As you know from the section above, magnesium is essential for a lot of things in the body. Additionally, it has been known to boost health and performance in other ways. Here are some examples:
One of the most popular uses for magnesium is to aid sleep. Multiple studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can reduce the amount of time it takes to drift off to sleep, while improving sleep quality and duration.
Muscle and Power
In terms of physical fitness, magnesium is understood to help exercise performance in both women of all ages and older adults (both male and female). One 2016 study correlated higher magnesium intake with increased muscle mass and power in women of all ages.
Anxiety and Depression
Magnesium is also a popular supplement for anxiety and depression. A 2017 study on magnesium supplementation and depression concluded that ‘magnesium is [an effective treatment] for mild-to-moderate depression in adults’, and one that worked quickly.
Magnesium is also understood to help with uncomfortable migraines. A study from 2015 showed that supplementation with magnesium sulfate was an effective, fast-acting treatment for acute migraine headaches.
How to Increase Your Magnesium
Now you know what magnesium is good for, you will certainly want to ensure you are getting enough of this vital nutrient.
Unfortunately, many people fail to get what they need. Thankfully there are multiple ways of getting more. These include:
When possible, get magnesium from your diet. Luckily there is no shortage of delicious magnesium-rich foods. These include:
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cashews, peanuts)
- Legumes (edamame, black beans)
- Leafy greens (cooked spinach)
- Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice)
- Fortified foods (soy milk, some breakfast cereals)
For those with a sweet tooth, you will be pleased to know that dark chocolate also has around 64 mg of magnesium per ounce!
Finally, mineral water also contains magnesium, although the levels will depend completely on the source and it is therefore tricky to pinpoint exact amounts.
One of the most pleasant ways to increase the amount of magnesium in your body is to soak yourself in a bath full of the stuff!
Epsom salts are naturally occurring mineral salts made of magnesium sulfate. These dissolve in warm bathwater to release magnesium and sulfate ions.
Soaking in dissolved Epsom salts so that magnesium enters the body directly via the skin is known as transdermal absorption, and has been practiced for centuries. Science is only now catching up, with many studies showing the positive effects of transdermal magnesium.
This may sound quite clinical, but the practice of transdermal magnesium soaking can be a delightful experience – especially when you use our WholyMe Relief Salts. We use 100% natural Epsom salts blended with calming and restorative essential oils including eucalyptus and frankincense for a total-body-relaxing experience.
You can read more in our article on how to take an Epsom salt bath for maximum relief.
Finally, another effective means of increasing your magnesium intake is to take a magnesium supplement.
You will come across many different forms of magnesium, including magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, magnesium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and magnesium oxide.
While the jury is still out on which form is most readily absorbed, both magnesium citrate and magnesium glycinate are understood to be the best performers. When shopping, choose a high-quality supplement from a reputable brand.
Stick with a safe dose, which will be the aforementioned 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women. However, if you are considering supplementation, talk to a medical professional, especially if you suffer with any of the following: diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease.
So, what is magnesium good for? Pretty much everything! From stress to sleep, you can see that magnesium is a vital nutrient that no human should be without.
If you feel you may benefit from increased magnesium intake, try some of our recommendations – and be sure to read about the best 7 uses for Epsom salts for more magnesium magic!