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Top 7 Benefits of Magnesium

Today’s blog is republished from my friends at TheAlternativeDaily, a leading publisher of daily alternative health tips that I personally read every day…The original article can be found here:

Magnesium is intimately involved in over 600 reactions in the body including the metabolism of food, the transmission of nerve impulses, the synthesis of fatty acids and proteins, muscle movements, gene maintenance and protein formation.

It is one of seven essential macrominerals that must be consumed daily in large amounts — 100 milligrams or more. We store about 25 grams of magnesium in our body with more than 50 percent of this being stored in the skeletal system. The rest goes in the muscles, soft tissues and bodily fluids.

Unfortunately, studies note that about 50 percent of the people in the United States and Europe get far less than the recommended amount of magnesium. It is important to know that magnesium levels in soil are lower than they used to be. Plus, the use of chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine in water make magnesium less available. In addition, daily use of sugar and caffeine also deplete magnesium supplies within the body. In addition, if you live a high-stress life, it is likely that you are magnesium deficient.

A magnesium deficiency can lead to a range of chronic health issues. Just to name a few: calcium deficiency, poor heart health, weakness, anxiety and high blood pressure. You can also add type 2 diabetes, respiratory issues, fatigue, poor memory and confusion to the list.

Health benefits of magnesium

Here is just a sneak peek at some of the amazing benefits of this tiny macromineral and why it is so important to be sure you are getting enough of it.

Blood Sugar Balance

Magnesium helps manage insulin levels in the body and can prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes from occurring. It also plays a large role in blood pressure control, preventing high blood pressure from occurring, especially when combined with enough potassium in the diet. This does two things: controls stress that can elevate insulin levels and improves overall blood pressure that, when out of control, increases insulin resistance and can cause type 2 diabetes to occur more easily.

Depression

Magnesium is essential for proper brain function and mood regulation. Research indicates that without enough magnesium, you are more prone to depression. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, major depressive disorder impacts 14.8 million American adults.


In one study of over 8,00 people, researchers found that those 65 years old and under with the lowest intake of magnesium had a 22 percent increased risk of developing depression.

In a randomized controlled trial including older adults suffering from depression, a 450-milligram magnesium supplement improved mood just as effectively as an antidepressant drug.

Anxiety

No one likes being anxious. If you find you are frequently in this state, you may want to try increasing your magnesium. Low magnesium levels have been attributed to an increase in anxiety. According to research, a diet low in magnesium changes the types of bacteria present in the gut and alters anxiety-based behavior.

Heart Health

Studies indicate that even having a slightly reduced level of magnesium can cause severe changes in how the heart, blood vessels, blood cells and other tissues function. Magnesium is critical for proper electrical and mechanical functioning within tissues such as nerves and muscles (such as the heart), and blood vessels.

Migraines

Research has shown that low brain magnesium is evident during a migraine attack. One study found that a regular intake of magnesium reduced the frequency of migraine attacks by just over 41 percent. Another study found that taking a magnesium supplement daily can help prevent menstrual-related migraines.

PMS

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a magnesium expert and Medical Advisory Board member of the Nutritional Magnesium Association, magnesium could be the answer to a host of premenstrual symptoms. These include such things as mood swings, fluid retention, depression, breast tenderness, headaches, poor sleep and sugar cravings.

Brain Power

Research has shown that mice given extra magnesium had better working memory, long-term memory and a greater ability to learn. According to head researcher Dr. Liu, “Magnesium is essential for the proper functioning of many tissues in the body, including the brain and, in an earlier study, we demonstrated that magnesium promoted synaptic plasticity in cultured brain cells.”

Signs of magnesium deficiency

Here are just a few signs that you may be magnesium deficient:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Muscle cramps
  • High blood pressure
  • Hormone problems
  • Sleep issues
  • Low energy
  • Low vitamin D
  • Low vitamin K

Good sources of magnesium

Magnesium-rich foods are found abundantly in nature. Try these delicious options:

Spinach

Spinach is rich in many key nutrients for your health, including magnesium, protein, vitamin E and B vitamins. Raw spinach only has about 78 milligrams of magnesium per cup, but one cup of cooked spinach contains over 760 milligrams! That’s twice the amount from kale and collards, with only Swiss chard beating spinach as the top source from leafy greens.

Seeds

Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, hemp and flax seeds are all great sources of magnesium. Seeds are also rich in anti-inflammatory fats and high in protein. Try sprinkling a couple tablespoons of seeds onto salads, add them to a green smoothie, or toss a few in with some berries and organic Greek yogurt for a high protein, magnesium-rich breakfast or snack.

Cocoa and cacao

Raw nibs and cacao powder are incredibly high sources of magnesium, along with dark chocolate and even cocoa powder. While you shouldn’t rely on chocolate alone for your magnesium intake, having a small square of dark or raw chocolate (or a couple tablespoons of cocoa) is certainly an enjoyable way to add more magnesium to your day!

Almonds

Almonds are high in protein, vitamin E and the highest source of magnesium among all nuts, with cashews being a close second. Almonds contain roughly 76 milligrams per ounce (about 23 nuts), or 15 percent of your daily needs. For the best anti-inflammatory option, choose raw almonds (unroasted) or raw almond butter.

Bananas

Bananas are often avoided for their high sugar content, but this fruit is actually the best source of magnesium among all common fruits. Bananas are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6 and manganese. A medium-sized banana contains 32 milligrams of magnesium.

Coffee

Your morning cup of java just got a bit more exciting — coffee is the highest source of liquid magnesium you can consume! It’s also higher than any food source — just in case you were wondering. Espresso has a higher magnesium content, but all coffee comes in around 1000 milligrams or more in just one eight-ounce cup. Do keep in mind that calcium from milk and refined sugar can interfere with magnesium absorption, so drink your coffee black. Also use a raw, whole-food sweetener like honey instead of sugar.

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About The Watchdog

Mike Geary has been a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for over 15 years now. He has been studying nutrition and exercise for almost 25 years, ever since being a young teenager. Mike is originally from Pennsylvania, but has fallen in love with mountain life and now resides in the picturesque mountains of Utah. Mike is an avid adventurist and when he’s not spending his time skiing, mountain biking, hiking, or paddleboarding on the lake, he has enjoyed skydiving, whitewater rafting, piloting an Italian fighter plane (seriously), scuba diving, heli-skiing, and traveling all around the world, enjoying learning about different cultures. At the age of 40, Mike now feels healthier, stronger, and more energetic than when he was 20... All because of a healthy lifestyle and great nutrition!

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54 comments

  1. How does the Mg (magnesium) increase when you boil it? X Mg is X Mg in the plant unless you add more Mg to the system?
    “Spinach is rich in many key nutrients for your health, including magnesium, protein, vitamin E and B vitamins. Raw spinach only has about 78 milligrams of magnesium per cup, but one cup of cooked spinach contains over 760 milligrams! That’s twice the amount from kale and collards, with only Swiss chard beating spinach as the top source from leafy greens.”

    • Raw (uncooked) cellulose, is the fiber material of most all plants in general, and humans do not digest this material very well if at all, in its raw state. When cooked, this cellulose plant material is partially broken down to allows for humans to digest more of it, and therefore having greater access to the nutrients contained within. With greater access comes greater extraction and utilization of these nutrients.

    • Its not that the Mg increases when you boil it. Its that it takes sooo much more fresh spinach to make one cup of cooked. When you cook it ( its mostly water) it cooks down to nothing. It takes a whole skillet of fresh spinach (many cups) to get one cup of cooked.

      • i looked it up and it said 1 pound of spinach will cook down to about 1 cup. then i converted again. there is about 15 cups of spinach in a pound.

    • it is quite simple really. 1 cup of raw spinach is bulky so if you cook it, it will reduce to about 1/4 cup. so logic would reason that 1 cup of cooked spinach is actually about 4 cups of raw. i prefer my spinach cooked, placing a large amount on top of a pan of food as the cooking process is finishing, in 2 or 3 minutes, it will have wilted down to quite a small serve.
      i hope this helps.

    • Because cooked spinach is more concentrated than raw spinach! The amount doesn’t actually increase…it is just that more spinach fits in the cup!!!!

    • I’m not an expert, but as a home cook, in order to get one cup of cooked spinach, it would take a considerable amount of raw steamed spinach to do so. 10 cups raw and steamed to make 1 cup cooked makes sense. I cup raw steamed makes about one bite. Just food for thought. They didn’t actually explain the full thought they were communicating is my guess…

    • Perhaps cooking it also makes the spinach release the magnesium or it makes it more absorbable?

  2. I suffer from extreme (after sleep morming tearing leg/thigh cramps; Magnesium makes me very sleepy..-so cannot stay awake when driving; I take One Chelated Potasium capsule at night–& but can I rather take 2- as thigh cramps still hugely prevelant? (Which magnesium make will not put me go to sleep (almost instantly?)

    • Leg cramps are mainly due to a lack of Calcium. There are over 275 issues that are due to low calcium levels. There are 90 essential vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids that we need to consume every day to stay healthy. We cannot got it from our food because our soil is depleted of almost all nutrients. We MUST supplement with good quality (NOT CHEAP) supplements.

      • always try to buy from local/small farmers. and organic! they will work on improving the soil. there are some nationally known “organic” companies that i dont think are working as hard to improve the soil.

      • This is so wrong! Too much calcium and not enough magnesium to balance it, is what causes cramps. Supplementing with Mg is good and magnesium glycinate is a readily absorbable form with less side effects than other forms of Mg. But the best way to get Mg into your body is transdermally, through the skin. No risk of side effects this way. Unfortunately, you will never be able to take in enough Mg in a pill to bring your levels up enough, due to the side effects. I have been using about 1 tsp of Mg gel/oil mixed with lotion daily for awhile now and no longer get any cramps, blood pressure is below the 120/80, most of the time it is below 110/70. I sleep much better, too!

    • You do know that you can take magnesium at night before you go to bed, I like to take it in a powder form because it gives me a good nights sleep.

    • Dear Sharon: Your leg cramps might also due to low intake of potassium. I suggest you to watch this issue. Bananas are a good source of potassium. One banana a day should give you enough. If you try my advice for a few days and see an improvement in your cramp ailments, that woud be it.

      • Bananas have about 150 mg of potassium each….the average person needs about 4700 mg a day. There are way better sources of potassium out there….just to name a couple dried apricots, avocados, and leafy greens

    • Try a spoonful of mustard before bed for the cramps. I heard about this and tried it. Works great! Others have tried also with great results too!

    • Try magnesium oil , rub it on . Won’t cause sleepiness or constipation. Stops cramping in legs.

  3. Early in your blog you tell us “It (Magnesium) is one of seven essential macrominerals that must be consumed daily in large amounts — 100 milligrams or more.” Later you tell us “Almonds contain roughly 76 milligrams per ounce (about 23 nuts), or 15 percent of your daily needs.” That math would put our daily needs at closer to 500 milligrams.
    On another point…in your recommended sources of Magnesium, you tell us “coffee is the highest source of liquid magnesium you can consume!” Yet early in the blog you mention that “daily use of sugar and caffeine also deplete magnesium supplies within the body.” The two statements seem at odds with each other.

    • Michael Christopher

      I too believe the coffee magnesium amounts are way off here. 1000 mg in an oz cup matches no other reporting I find anywhere. I find in several respectable publications, a number of 7 mg per 8 oz cup of standard ground caffeinated coffee. That is miles away from 1,000 mg (1 gram) reported here.

    • I too found that 1,000 mg sounded way off for amount of magnesium in coffee along with contradicting info in different paragraphs.

  4. a rare site to know about minerals particularly magnesium

  5. What’s the ideal strength in mgs in pill form to take daily, and is it a fact one should take them at night ?

  6. Even the tiniest magnesium supplement (165 mg) induces a migrain that lasts for three days!!!! Why do I and some other women I know have this “opposite” effect from taking magnesium?

    • Perhaps it’s the type of magnesium that you are taking, or the fillers that might have been added. Double check the fillers first, then try some without those fillers. Dr. Carolyn Dean has a liquid, highly absorbed form that might work for you – no fillers!

  7. daily use of sugar and caffeine (coffee) depletes magnesium, but on lower paragraph it says java aka coffee is best source of liquid magnesium…. can they make up their minds ? Nope! we do need Magnesium. by the way I’ve been drinking magnesium citrate since it’s more absorbable than the other forms, now there is magnesium chelate. OLE!

    • Cramps so bad (legs at night) wanted to call dr.for help age 77 what should I do or how much
      should I take?? Help Please. Q’ Should I have my levels checked?.tx. Ann K.

      • ann, be sure you are drinking enough water. dehydration can cause cramps. no soda! for every oz of reg coffee you drink, drink 2oz water min as coffee is a diuretic. plus your 8 glasses.

        i have had people tell me these work, but they havent worked for me:

        keep gray or pink sea salt by your bed. wet finger and dip in the salt and touch to the cramp. my cousin says this works for her.

        mustard. keep yellow mustard by your bed. put some on the cramp. i have had 3 people tell me this worked for them. gl.

      • Buy Theraworx pump bottle at Walgreens, or drug store. It kept my muscle cramps at bay, just pump some into your hand and rub it on cramp immediately it will stop. It contains topical magnesium.
        I also started taking magnesium supplements, and that has resolved my terrible cramping completely, wish my doctor or someone had told me this info earlier.

        Good luck

      • Are you taking a statin drug? They cause leg pains and muscle cramps. Statins are not for women.

    • FWP – what Magensium brand is best.to drink?
      Thank you

  8. Thank you once again for your informative articles. It helps me to know more about eating the correct food and making the right choices.Greetings from Cape Town SA. Keep up the good work

  9. Paul D comments about Magnesium? You seem to not have verified his Query. What is it Large amounts of Magnesium! Is it 100mg or 1000mg? If you write a column for viewing by the public then You are responsible to supply unambiguous information……Or ignore it? RDR

    • Yes, I am confused as well. I know following keto way of eating we are told we need Potassium amd Magnesium to prevent leg cramps some ppl get from eating that way but, I also have been told how much Magenesium and Potassium we need to take depends on our age and if we are male or female.
      I am 62 and no idea how much my requirement is. I guess I will need to look it up on the internet and hope I do not find different opinions to further confuse me.

      • be careful with the potassium as it can affect kidneys. there is a number on the cbc which is connected to kidneys and mine has gone down. it is now 58 and it should be 60+ best i can tell. if i am starting kidney trouble, i dont need extra potassium.

  10. I suffer from depression, fatigue, insomnia and bloating . It is debilitating could it be a magnesium deficiency. Blood tests show a very low vitamin d count

  11. Another way is to use mineral salt of Schuessler (no.7 = magnesium).

  12. Good article if you disregard a lot of the math and other numerical figures. I have been fighting high blood pressure, as this article has also suggested, with getting enough magnesium and potassium in my food for about 2 years. I get a little leary about pills (whether a drug or supplement), so I put a lot of time into checking into how much K or Mg is in a specific food – I try to have these nutrients outweigh sodium which basically saturates everything that we would pay someone else to prepare for us to eat. Right now, my diet consists mostly of beans, potatoes, raw dairy (milk & yogurt), lean meat, and a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables as well as nuts/seeds. Cocoa and coffee are, in fact, also beans which are ridiculously good for getting enough K and Mg. It is fairly easy to find the recommended amount of magnesium for a day, but I try to shoot a bit higher since I believe that those figures were originally taken as a mean for both healthy and unhealthy individuals.

  13. Suzanne Braunschweig

    I’ve suffered with leg/foot cramps for years which kept me from getting a good night of sleep. Things became very bad about a year ago; the cramps kept me awake and caused great pain. They were in both legs and feet so walking them off was extremely painful. I was crying so much and dreaded going to bed each night, since it would almost start whenever I laid down. A friend told me about magnesium oil and it’s been the answer for me. My cramping were symptoms of Fibromyalgia which I’ve had for 35+ years. I now use Life-flo Magnesium Oil Night Spray which is 8 oz. Rub it into your legs and feet, especially the toes and bottom of the feet. I can’t tell you what a difference it made in my life and I hope it’ll help you also. I also take about 4 magnesium supplements at night with some other supplements. I struggle with ongoing constipation and I think the magnesium helps that issue. Good luck and God bless!

  14. Great article…I too take Magnesium every day. it helps me a lot…How can I post this on FB?..share button doesn’t work.

  15. When I was 16, I suffered severe leg cramps in the middle of every friday night( after cheerleading at football games). My coach told me to drink more milk especially on Fridays. iwas already drinking at least a glass a day. i increased that to a quart a day, and i have never had any more cramps. i am now 85, healthy, strong, med free, and pain free.I have always drunk only whole milk from healthy pasture fed cows.I have also always eaten spinach at least twice a week.I also have always eaten a lot of pecans from native trees and a lot of home grown veggies.

  16. i often have calf/ankle/foot/toe cramps at night. i generally take 1000mg magn daily in addition to what i get from foods. i drink at least 1 cup of decaf a day (use hvy cream not milk in it–is that ok?) and no sugar.

  17. If I want to supplement with a magnesium pill, what would be the best one to take? There are so many different ones. I am interested in lowering sugar, belly fat, better sleep. Which one should I take

  18. She needs to go somewhere away from Washington

  19. My Chiropractor suggested I take Calcium/Magnesium to avoid “acid reflux”. For years I’ve been taking Omopromazole, but my Pharmacist son has studies that show the danger which cause stomach cancer and other disorders.
    Thanks for the article!

  20. I take magnesium, Calcium, & Zinc – 3 in 1 vitamin daily.
    I am instructed (on the vitamin bottle) to take 1 /3 times
    a day. I take 3 at one time. Is this okay or should I take 1
    3/T.A.D.?

    Also, I read testimonials on your post that Magnesium helps with sleep. Should It be taken right before going to bed.
    Melatonin is helping me to sleep right now.

    Lastly, how many milligrams of Magnesium should be taken daily.
    Does Magnesium help with Lupus?

  21. Bless all of you holistic doctors and nutritionists that are keeping us all alive and heathier .
    If had followed my conventional doctors advice when I was 30 (list of aliments too long to share ) I would have died 40 years ago for sure.
    At 84 after 6 surgeries in the last 2 years the holistic “quackery “as it called makes me more focused and more energetic and heathier than at age 15. Yes I do look like an old lady but I feel great . Not at athlete but take no pain medication that I had been using for more then 40 years .Bless you all

  22. Michael Christopher

    The 1,000 mg of magnesium per cup of coffee reported here seem very suspect. Cannot verify this anywhere else???

  23. In addition, daily use of sugar and caffeine also deplete magnesium supplies within the body

    How could coffee be good for you when in your article it says “CAFFEINE DEPLETES MAGNESIUM SUPPLIES”.

    It makes absolutely no sense.

  24. Yes, depleted minerals can result in leg cramps. However, many people find that Vitamin D helps with leg cramps. I take both, a mineral supplement and Vitamin D, and haven’t had leg cramps for a very long time.

  25. DAVID RODGER MOCSNY

    Calcium supplement is stored in the body & excess causes muscle cramps & is easily over consumed. Magnesium excess
    is immediately excreted & relaxes muscles, regulates calcium. Mg is brain & heart healthy. Most people are deficient
    (rarely listed as a processed food ingredient). I take 400 mg via pure mg bisglycinate powder (mildly sweet) b4 sleep.
    Individual requirement varies & is quickly safely determined.

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