The Power of Magnesium

Dr. Milan Patel
March 21, 2020
Magnesium (Mg) is essential to our health but most of us are deficient at the cellular level. (1,2) Every cell in the body needs, stores and uses magnesium to function properly. It is responsible for energy conversion to provide cellular fuel. (1) It helps regulate nutrients and maintain electrolyte balance (2) including absorption of calcium, copper, zinc, potassium and vitamin D.

“Intracellular magnesium provides 300 biochemical reactions” (1)

The Power of Magnesium

“Intracellular magnesium provides 300 biochemical reactions” (1)

Top 10 Benefits of Magnesium

  1. Immune and oxidative support (1): Oxidative damage is the major cause of cell-damaging free radicals. Mg helps counteract this damaging effect.
  2. Anti-inflammatory properties: Magnesium helps reduce global inflammation, which is implicated in a variety of chronic symptoms and conditions.
  3. Helps reduce migraine episodes: Studies have shown magnesium significantly reduce headaches and chronic migraine episodes when compared to placebo. (3)
  4. Provides cardiovascular support: (8) Magnesium works as an anti-platelet aggregator.
  5. Regulates blood sugar, which is beneficial for diabetics and pre-diabetics.
  6. Provides a source of fuel for all cells.
  7. Muscle and neurological function (9): Studies show an improvement in conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke.
  8. Weight management: Involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism.
  9. Important in the formation of bones, connective tissues, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones.
  10. Shown to help with anxiety and stress-related disorders. High levels of stress lead to low levels of magnesium (10). Individuals with depression, anxiety or stress-related disorders can greatly benefit from Magnesium supplementation.

Other Benefits

  • Improves mitochondrial function, which is the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated in autism. (6,7)
  • Magnesium is one of the most gentle and natural laxatives. So it can aid in digestion for those with constipation.
  • Magnesium can help with muscle cramps and eye twitches. Constant muscle cramps can be an indication of severe magnesium deficiency.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Moodiness / Irritability
  • Secondary dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weak tendons
  • Nerve irritation / Neurological symptoms
  • Fainting
  • Hearing loss

Potential Causes of Magnesium Deficiencies

  • Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, a substance which draws water into the lumen of the gut, leading to dehydration and depletion of micronutrients including magnesium.
    • Consumption of caffeine (or alcohol) leads to dehydration, which then depletes the body of nutrients at the cellular level. As a result energy levels drop and we need a boost, so we consume more caffeine. It becomes a vicious cycle many of us go through on a daily basis. So what is the solution, stop drinking caffeine? No, simply replenish the nutrients and hydrate. Drink two glasses of water for every cup of coffee you have; take a daily multivitamin; get tested to see which micronutrients your body needs and supplement accordingly.

“If you drink coffee every day, there’s a good chance you are deficient in magnesium”

vicious cycle of magnesium Deficiency

Increased caffeine -> Increased Dehydration -> Decreased Mg -> Decreased Energy

  • Certain medications or nutraceuticals such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) - used to treat heartburn and GERD; Insulin Glargine Injection for diabetes; birth control; vitamin D toxicity... all of which can deplete the body of magnesium.
  • Stress can lead to depletion of intracellular magnesium. Stress has a very negative response in the body, both physically and mentally.

“Reasons why most people are depleted in magnesium: diet, stress, alcohol, caffeine, and medications"

The reason why most people are deficient in Mg

Deficiencies occur due to diet, stress, alcohol, caffeine, and medications

Physical Activity Increases The Body's Demand For Magnesium

physicial activity increase mg demand

Active people tend to have low levels of magnesium

Physical demand on the body increases its need for magnesium. When these demands are not met, the body feels fatigued; muscles start to cramp. Consequently, we need a boost, so we increase our caffeine intake or supplement it with sugary sports drinks. (4) The secondary dehydration which occurs from the diuretic effects of these drinks, also increases blood pressure, leading to potential cardiovascular problems; (5) hypertension, cardiomegaly (enlarged heart), disruption to the integrity of the blood vessels, and even sudden cardiac death. This could explain why some athletes, as young as 14 years old, develop serious cardiovascular problems.

Food Sources of Magnesium

green vegetables
Green Vegetables
Grains (whole unprocessed)
Grains (whole unprocessed)
Nuts & seeds
Nuts & Seeds

Loss of Magnesium In Our Food Source

Modern farming practices have led to a drastic decrease in magnesium (and other essential nutrients) naturally found in our foods. This is partly due to the fact that the same soil is overused, depleting the natural minerals and nutrients found within the soil.

Side Effects of Magnesium

Generally, magnesium is well tolerated when appropriate doses are used. Most symptoms include mild gastrointestinal irritation (nausea, diarrhea, cramps). In high doses, it can increase the risk of neonatal mortality and cause vitamin B1 deficiencies.

Different Types of Magnesium

There are essentially three forms of magnesium; organic, inorganic, and amino acid chelated. They are all effective, but generally, the chelated magnesium (Magnesium Glycinate) tends to work the best, with minimal GI side effects. The organic and inorganic magnesium are less effective and tend to be inexpensive.
    1. Costello R, Wallace TC, Rosanoff A. Magnesium. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(1):199–201.
    2. Razzaque MS. Magnesium: Are We Consuming Enough?. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1863.
    3. Von Luckner, Riederer. Magnesium in Migraine Prophylaxis-Is There an Evidence-Based Rationale? A Systematic Review. Headache. 2018 Feb;58(2):199-209.
    4. García-Arroyo FE, Cristóbal M, Arellano-Buendía AS, et al. Rehydration with soft drink-like beverages exacerbates dehydration and worsens dehydration-associated renal injury. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2016;311(1):R57–R65.
    5. Stefanos Volianitis, Niels H. Secher. Cardiovascular control during whole body exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2016 Aug 1;121(2):376–390.
    6. Rose S, Niyazov DM, Rossignol DA, Goldenthal M, Kahler SG, Frye RE. Clinical and Molecular Characteristics of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mol Diagn Ther. 2018;22(5):571–593.
    7. Rose S, Bennuri SC, Murray KF, Buie T, Winter H, Frye RE. Mitochondrial dysfunction in the gastrointestinal mucosa of children with autism: A blinded case-control study. PLoS One. 2017;12(10):e0186377.
    8. Rosique-Esteban N, Guasch-Ferré M, Hernández-Alonso P, Salas-Salvadó J. Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review with Emphasis in Epidemiological Studies. Nutrients. 2018;10(2):168.
    9. Kirkland AE, Sarlo GL, Holton KF. The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders. Nutrients. 2018;10(6):730.
    10. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429.

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