Magnesium - a mineral that also serves as one our body’s main electrolytes - has a multitude of uses as a supplement. The two main areas that we use it for are its gentle muscle relaxing effect, and its ability to calm the mind and decrease anxiety and improve sleep.
One of the most-often quoted facts you’ll read about magnesium is that it’s “involved in over 300 different reactions in the body” or something to that effect. And while that’s probably true, the same can be said for most every other vitamin and mineral. Despite the importance of magnesium, it’s estimated that 68% of Americans are deficient!
But more specifically, how can you use magnesium to better your health?
Here’s four reasons we use it in clinic with our patients - we’ve seen some pretty impressive changes in certain conditions just by adding supplementation to a person’s regimen.
- Magnesium acts as a very gentle muscle relaxing agent.
It’s one of our main electrolytes (in addition to sodium, potassium and chloride). It does this by antagonizing the actions of calcium in the muscles. Calcium binds to proteins which generate a contraction, or tightening of the muscle.
Magnesium will compete with calcium, ‘blocking’ it from working in the muscle. If you’re deficient in magnesium, your muscles may contract too much resulting in spasms or cramps. P.S. - muscle absorbs magnesium a bit more efficiently when taken with some vitamin B6.
- I consider magnesium to be the ‘forgotten’ electrolyte.
It plays just as important a role as the other electrolytes do, but it’s overlooked in this capacity. It’s rare to find an electrolyte formula that contains it. And while sodium and potassium get all the attention for preventing muscle cramps in commercial sports drinks, we have all of our athletes add magnesium to their regimen to enhance muscle relaxation.
- Sleep and relaxation
Magnesium binds to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain – GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that slows things down in the nervous system. This is where the sleep and relaxation-enhancing effects come from. A lot of people find that just by taking a small amount of magnesium at bedtime ensures a good night’s sleep.
- Magnesium also plays a role in combatting depression, alleviating irregular heart beats and reducing the risk of heart disease, preventing migraines, lowers blood pressure and improves blood sugar control in type II diabetes.
Best Uses for Magnesium:
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- High blood pressure
- Menstrual cramps
Magnesium citramate provides a mixture of the two best absorbed forms of magnesium, citrate and malate in a 1:1 ratio for enhanced absorption.
Magnesium is extremely safe in recommended amounts and can drastically improve a number of conditions!