Doug Cook, RDN
Integrative & Functional Nutritionist & Dietitian
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that most North Americans aren’t getting enough of. In fact, well over 50 percent of us are only getting about 45 to 50 percent of the recommended amount. It’s no wonder that diseases or health states where magnesium plays a vital role are changing for the worse. A lack of magnesium is involved in increases of heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, migraines, diabetes, and stroke. Here are 7 evidence-based facts about magnesium:
1. Not getting enough magnesium predisposes people to heart arrhythmia or irregular and abnormally fast heart beats, also known as atrial fibrillation.
2. Magnesium is nature’s calcium channel blocker. The more magnesium you have in your cells, the less calcium — resulting in lower blood pressure.
3. Magnesium is needed for the production and efficient use of insulin and helps to improve insulin sensitivity. It’s been estimated that lower intake of magnesium increases your risk for diabetes by 33 percent.
4. Although calcium has gotten all the press, magnesium is equally vital when it comes to strong bones and teeth.
5. Half of migraine sufferers have a low magnesium intake, and increasing magnesium has been shown to reduce the duration, intensity, and frequency of migraines.
6. Magnesium is critical for electrical activity in the brain. Lower intake of magnesium can cause less sound sleep.
7. Due to its ability to relax muscles, magnesium can help to reduce the risk for muscle cramps.