Magnesium is emerging as an important mineral for your body and brain. It also helps with disease prevention.
Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in hundreds of important cellular reactions in the body. Because the human body is unable to produce its own source of magnesium, it must be obtained through diet.
Despite the importance of dietary magnesium, it’s estimated that only about a third of people are getting the recommended amounts of this mineral in their diet. Not only is magnesium important in its own right, but it also aids the absorption of other minerals such as calcium and potassium.
Deficiencies of dietary magnesium have been associated with an increased risk of certain types of diseases.
Dietary Magnesium for Stroke Prevention and Treatment
A recent study that looked at the role of dietary magnesium in human health found that low levels of magnesium can increase the risk of stroke by up to 25%. It appeared that those with the lowest levels of magnesium were at the highest stroke risk. Not only does magnesium appear to protect against stroke, but it’s also being investigated as a possible stroke treatment.
A study published on the medical site Medscape showed that giving intravenous magnesium at the time of stroke helped to reduce the incidence of death. Although more research is needed, magnesium appears to hold promise for both the prevention and treatment of stroke.
Role of Dietary Magnesium in Heart Health
The importance of dietary magnesium also extends to the heart. Not only have some studies shown that magnesium reduces the risk of heart disease, but it may also help to improve cardiac function in those that already have it.
A small study showed that supplementing heart disease patients with low magnesium levels resulted in improvement in heart function as measured by EKG tracings. Low levels of dietary magnesium have also been associated with an increased risk of sudden death. Areas that have low levels of magnesium in their water supply were noted in one study to have an increased rate of sudden death.
Magnesium and Blood Pressure
Magnesium also plays a very important role in regulating your blood pressure. Some studies have suggested that higher levels of dietary magnesium are associated with better blood pressure control.
Other small studies have shown some magnesium supplement benefits for blood pressure control, although the final verdict isn’t out on this. Calcium and potassium also play a role in controlling blood pressure. Magnesium aids in the absorption of these minerals, so it’s hard to sort out the effects of each.
Diabetes and the Importance of Dietary Magnesium
Getting adequate quantities of dietary magnesium may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to some studies. Magnesium appears to improve the way insulin works to control blood glucose levels which could lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Ensuring adequate intake of dietary magnesium appears to be important for a variety of reasons. There’s a long list of diseases that magnesium deficiency is thought to play a role in, making it critical to get adequate quantities of this mineral.
Good sources of magnesium include leafy vegetables, soybeans, wheat bran, seed, and beans. Adding these foods to the diet may be a simple way to achieve better health.
Magnesium and Exercise Performance
Magnesium has also been shown to boost exercise performance. Those who exercise regularly may need to supplement with magnesium.
In one study, magnesium was shown to increase glucose availability in the peripheral and central systems, which means moving the blood sugar into the muscles. It also increased lactate clearance during exercise, which can help with performance and reduce fatigue.
Never neglect your blood tests. If you experience magnesium deficiency, which may include feeling tired, having loss of appetite, vomiting or weakness in general, then begin by consulting your doctor and supplementing your magnesium intake.