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Why Your Blood Needs Magnesium (Know The Benefits)

Why Your Blood Needs Magnesium

When you are feeling stressed, your body starts pumping out adrenaline which can cause you to feel more anxiety and panic.

Our bodies need magnesium for many important functions, such as regulating blood sugar, blood pressure and the nervous system, and reduces feelings of anxiety. It also helps to regulate muscle contractions and is the key mineral that keeps the DNA in our cells healthy.

Magnesium is a mineral that is found naturally in foods, it is a vital nutrient for all living organisms including humans.

The adult human body contains about 25 grams of magnesium. Over 60% of all the magnesium in your body is found in the skeleton, 27% is in the muscle and 10% is in the blood.

In this blog article, we will discuss the health benefits of magnesium, talk about how you can get enough magnesium in your diet, explore it’s importance in blood health, and signs that show you’re lacking this mineral nutrient.

What is Magnesium and What Does it Do in Your Blood?

Magnesium is a mineral nutrient that your blood needs to stay healthy. It’s important for regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar, blood pressure, synthesis of protein, bone function, and DNA.

A sufficient intake of dietary magnesium is important as it helps the body to:

  • Use carbohydrates and fats to produce energy
  • Conduct nerve impulses
  • Contract muscles
  • Regulate heart beat
  • Regulate calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, and vitamin D levels.

The european food safety authority which provides scientific advice to assist policy makers has confirmed that, clear health benefits has been established for the intake of magnesium in contributing to electrolyte balance, energy-yielding metabolism, cell division, maintenance of bones and teeth, and protein synthesis.

Why Your Blood Needs Magnesium (Know The Reasons)

Dietary intake or supplementation of magnesium has beneficial effects on your health, and there are several reasons why your blood needs this mineral nutrient.

High Blood Pressure

Eating low-fat dairy products along with lots of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis lowers high blood pressure.

All of these foods are rich in magnesium as well as calcium and potassium.

Singling out which of these nutrients is responsible for lowering blood pressure is hard to tell but we’ll give you a couple of relevant studies that supports the claims that magnesium lowers blood pressure.

A clinical study found that a higher intake of dietary magnesium may decrease the development of high blood pressure in women.

There is research supporting the link between magnesium intake and reduced risk of high blood pressure in women.

  • A study published in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) looked at over 8,500 women and found an inverse association between dietary magnesium intake and risk of developing hypertension. Women with the highest magnesium intake (around 434mg/day) had a lower risk compared to those with the lowest intake (around 256mg/day).[1]

Other relevant studies supporting the evidence about the link between magnesium intake and reduced risk of high blood pressure:

  • A review found that a 100 mg/day increase in magnesium intake was associated with a 5% reduction in developing hypertension.[2, 3]
  • A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension looked at data from multiple trials and found that magnesium supplementation resulted in a small but significant decrease in blood pressure, with a greater reduction seen at higher doses.[4, 5]
Heart Disease

One large study found that, increasing magnesium levels in the blood decreases the risk of heart disease in women but not in men.

A research study investigated the link Between Dietary Magnesium Intake and Incident Heart Failure Among Older Women.[6, 7]

The study found that low intake of dietary magnesium by postmenopausal women was linked to a higher risk of heart failure.

Participants involved in this study were over 97,000 postmenopausal women.

Researchers assessed the women’s dietary magnesium intake at the study’s beginning. The researchers monitored the women’s health over a period of 8 years.

They tracked how many older women developed heart failure during this time.

The results revealed a link between low magnesium intake and a higher risk of heart failure in postmenopausal women.

This means that women who consumed less magnesium in their diets tended to experience heart failure more frequently compared to those with higher intakes.

Stroke

Results from population studies suggest that people with low intake of magnesium may be at greater risk of stroke. Here are relevant studies that supports this claims:

Intakes of Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium and Risk of Stroke [8]

  • This population-based, prospective cohort study investigated the link between dietary intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium, and the risk of stroke.
  • The study involved over 62,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and over 48,000 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). Participants were followed for an average of 14 years.
  • Dietary magnesium intake was assessed via questionnaires every four years. The highest intake group consumed an average of around 500mg of magnesium daily, while the lowest intake group consumed around 200mg daily.
  • The study found that compared to the lowest intake group, those in the highest dietary magnesium intake group had a 10% lower risk of stroke.

Magnesium intake and all-cause mortality after stroke (a cohort study) [9]

  • This retrospective cohort study examined the association between magnesium intake after stroke and mortality rates.
  • The study involved 2,223 ischemic stroke survivors in China. Data on their magnesium intake was collected within 3 months of the stroke event.
  • Participants were categorized into groups based on their daily magnesium intake: low (<100mg), medium (100-300mg), and high (>300mg).
  • The study found that stroke survivors with the highest magnesium intake had a significantly lower risk of death from all causes compared to those with the lowest intake.

Note that these are observational studies and don’t necessarily prove cause-and-effect. They suggest a potential link between sufficient magnesium intake and a reduced risk of stroke.

Insulin Sensitivity

Magnesium deficiency can worsen insulin sensitivity. Magnesium acts as a cofactor for enzymes that is involved in insulin signaling and carbohydrate metabolism.

Without enough magnesium, these processes become less efficient, leading to cells becoming resistant to insulin’s message to take up glucose from the blood.

This can contribute to higher blood sugar levels leading to T2DM (type 2 diabetes).

There is an evidence supporting the connection between magnesium intake and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Here are some relevant studies:

  • A large meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies found that people with the highest magnesium intake had a 26% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with the lowest intake. [10, 11
  • Another study also investigated the link between magnesium intake and type 2 diabetes risk specifically in the context of carbohydrate quality. It was found that higher intake of magnesium was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, mainly for people who eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates or low in fiber. [12, 13]

Other clinical studies have found similar results, especially in old age people.

Magnesium deficiency in people with diabetes may decrease immunity, making them more susceptible to infections and illnesses.

What Foods Provides Magnesium?

Magnesium is found in a wide variety of foods. Here’s a list of 10 magnesium-rich foods:

  • Almonds – 65mg/23g serve
  • Bananas – 120mg/440g serve
  • Buckwheat groats – 270mg/520g serve
  • Black beans – 60mg/120g serve
  • Pill nuts – 155mg/48g serve
  • Oatmeal – 105mg/73g serve
  • Spinach – 100mg/100g serve
  • Pumpkin seeds – 80mg/14g serve
  • Cashews – 80mg/26g serve
  • Turkey breast – 80mg/260g serve

There are other foods that contains low amounts of magnesium, some of which includes: Barley, Beans, Beets, Blackberry, Broccoli, Cheese, and Tofu.

What About Magnesium Supplements?

Magnesium is available in multivitamin-mineral supplements and other dietary supplements.

Some magnesium supplements are easily absorbed, such as magnesium aspartate, magnesium lactate, magnesium citrate,  and magnesium chloride.

Magnesium is also add in some laxatives and products for treating heartburns and indigestion.

Eating foods that are rich in magnesium is not always enough to correct a low blood magnesium level, especially if you are taking cyclosporine.

Intravenous magnesium or may be oral magnesium supplements may be needed.

Oral supplements may cause looser stools and should be increased gradually for best tolerance.

Compared to magnesium-rich foods, supplements provide more magnesium which is beneficial if the level is low.

Some commonly used magnesium supplements include:

  • Magnesium Complex 500 – 7-in-1 Multi-Magnesium-Complex for all-round supply of elemental magnesium.
    • Quick immediate resorption AND long-term intracellular uptake (depot effect)
    • High dose per capsule: 770 mg Mg-Complex with 250 mg elemental Mg
  • Magnesium Malate 360 (capsules) – The best magnesium for cellular energy.
    • 100% pure Magnesium Malate
    • very high bioavailability and bioactivity
    • Highest possible quality and purity
  • Magnesium Synergy Powder – With 3 highly bioavailable Magnesium forms.
    • Reduces and prevents muscle cramps
    • Helps reduce tiredness & fatigue
    • Natural anti stress agent, promotes inner peace.
  • Magnesium Malate Powder – The best magnesium for more energy.
    • 100% pure Magnesium Malate powder
    • Supports hydration by contributing to balanced electrolyte levels
    • Highly bioavailable form of magnesium

For optimal absorption, magnesium supplements should be taken with meals, do not combine with phosphorus and calcium supplements.

Magnesium supplements should be taken at different time intervals, distribute throughout the day, rather than taking once or twice daily.

How Much Magnesium Do You Need?

The amount of magnesium you need depends on certain factors like your age and gender. The average recommended daily amounts are listed below in mg:

Infants

  • 0-6 months: 30mg
  • 7-12 months: 75mg

Children

  • 1-3 years: 80mg
  • 4-8 years: 130mg
  • 9-13 years: 240mg

Teens

  • Teen boys 14-19 years: 410mg
  • Teen girls 14-19 years: 360mg

Adults

  • Men: 400-420mg
  • Women: 310-320mg
  • Pregnant women: 350–360mg
  • Breastfeeding women: 310–320mg

Despite the fact that dietary levels of magnesium are low, actual deficiency of this nutrient is rare.

Certain medical conditions, however, can upset the body’s magnesium balance.

For example, intestinal flu with vomiting causes temporary magnesium deficiency.

Certain stomach and bowel diseases, diabetes, pancreatitis, kidney malfunction, and use of diuretics leads to magnesium deficiency.

Too much of coffee, soda, salt, and alcohol intake, as well as heavy menstrual periods, excessive sweating, and chronic stress can lower your magnesium levels.

Side Effects of Magnesium

Magnesium itself isn’t toxic. In fact, it is an essential mineral that your body needs for many functions.

Magnesium that is naturally present in food is not harmful to your health and does not need to be limited.

In healthy people, the kidneys can get rid of any excess magnesium in the urine.

However, it is possible to have too much magnesium in your blood, which is called hypermagnesemia. This condition can be dangerous, and cause serious problems.

Hypermagnesemia is most common in people with kidney problems because, the kidneys are responsible for removing or getting rid of excess magnesium from the blood. It also occurs if you take too much magnesium supplements.

Symptoms of hypermagnesemia can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing

In severe cases, hypermagnesemia can lead to coma and death.

Treatment for hypermagnesemia will depend on the severity of your condition, it may include dialysis, or intravenous fluids.

Takeaway

Magnesium is a mineral nutrient that helps with many of the body’s systems, such as the immune system, heart, bones and teeth.

It plays a key role in many processes and is vital to your body’s ability to function properly. In fact you need magnesium to help you achieve optimum health and prevent deficiencies.

Make sure you eat magnesium-rich foods, and combine supplements to get enough of this mineral nutrient in your diet.

Adding magnesium-rich foods into your diet should follow the recommended daily amounts and must not exceed the upper limits.

We hope you found this useful on our blog and that you’ll consider adding magnesium to your diet for better health.

References:

  • Dietary magnesium intake and risk of incident hypertension among middle-aged and older US women in a 10-year follow-up study. [view article]
    • Authors: Yiqing Song 1, Howard D Sesso, JoAnn E Manson, Nancy R Cook, Julie E Buring, Simin Liu.
    • Published in: Am J Cardiol.2006 Dec 15;98(12):1616-2. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2006.07.040. Epub 2006 Oct 23.
  • Magnesium and Hypertension in Old Age. [view article]
    • Authors: Ligia Dominguez,
      Nicola Veronese, Mario Barbagallo
    • Published in: MPDI Nutrients, December 202013(1):139 DOI:10.3390/nu13010139
  • Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. [view article]
    • Authors: Xi Zhang, Yufeng Li, Liana C Del Gobbo, Andrea Rosanoff, Jiawei Wang, Wen Zhang, Yiqing Song.
    • Published in: Hypertension. 2016 Aug;68(2):324-33. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.07664. Epub 2016 Jul 11.
  • Relationship Between Dietary Magnesium Intake and Incident Heart Failure Among Older Women: The WHI. [view article]
    • Authors: Wen‐Chih Wu, Mengna Huang, Tracey H. Taveira, Mary B. Roberts, Lisa W. Martin, Gregory A. Wellenius, Karen C. Johnson, JoAnn E. Manson, Simin Liu, and Charles B. Eaton.
    • Published in: J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Apr 7; 9(7): e013570. Published online 2020 Mar 20. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.013570
  • Intakes of Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium and Risk of Stroke. [view article]
    • Authors: Ivonne Sluijs, Sebastien Czernichow, Joline W.J. Beulens, Jolanda M.A. Boer, Yvonne T. van der Schouw, W. Monique M. Verschuren and Diederick E. Grobbee.
    • Published: 11 Feb 2014, https://doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.004032. Stroke. 2014;45:1148–1150
  • Magnesium intake and all-cause mortality after stroke (a cohort study). [view article]
    • Authors: Mengyan Wang, Jianhong Peng, Caili Yanga, Wenyuan Zhang, Zicheng Cheng, Haibin Zheng.
    • Published in: Nutr J. 2023 Oct 30;22(1):54. doi: 10.1186/s12937-023-00886-1
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37899441/
  • Meta-analysis of prospective studies of magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes. [view article]
    • Authors: Jia-Yi Dong, Pengcheng Xun, Ka He, Li-Qiang Qin.
    • Published: Diabetes Care 2011;34(9):2116–2122
      https://doi.org/10.2337/dc11-0518
  • Magnesium Intake, Quality of Carbohydrates, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Results From Three U.S [view article]
    • Authors: Adela Hruby, Marta Guasch-Ferré, Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju, JoAnn E. Manson, Walter C. Willett, Nicola M. McKeown, and Frank B. Hu.
    • Published in: Diabetes Care. 2017 Dec; 40(12): 1695–1702. Published online 2017 Oct 4. doi: 10.2337/dc17-1143

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