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Focus on Health: Spring into March with Magnesium!

By Dr. Schoer


Has your friend ever recommended taking magnesium to help you sleep? Or maybe you have wanted to reduce your stress levels, and someone recommended magnesium?


Well, they are not wrong! Not only does magnesium provide many benefits to your overall health, but this mineral is responsible for over 300 enzymatic processes in your body! It is the 4th most abundant mineral in our bodies, and we cannot function properly without it, so it is important to ensure we have adequate levels of magnesium. In fact, most people have suboptimal levels of this mineral or are at risk of developing a deficiency – this has been linked to several health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.


Though it is possible to get adequate magnesium levels through your diet with foods such as legumes, nuts, and leafy green vegetables, taking a supplement may be helpful if you have difficulty meeting your magnesium needs through food or if you have an underlying deficiency. Taking a magnesium supplement to address a deficiency has been linked to many health benefits related to blood pressure, sleep, blood sugar management, health conditions such as heart disease, and stress levels.


#1. Magnesium may help reduce blood pressure.







 


Studies show that people with high blood pressure, or hypertension, may see improvements when supplementing with magnesium.


In fact, a systematic review of 34 studies concluded that taking around 350 mg per day of magnesium for an average of 3 months significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 2 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 1.78 mm Hg.


Similarly, a systematic review of 7 studies associated supplementing with a dose of 300 mg or more of magnesium daily for at least 3 months with a 5.78 mm Hg drop in systolic and a 2.5 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure in participants with Type 2 Diabetes.


#2. Magnesium may improve sleep.


 







Magnesium has an important role when it comes to sleep. It supports deep, restorative sleep by regulating certain neurotransmitters that calm the nervous system and allow the brain to transition to a restful state.


People with low magnesium levels are more likely to experience sleep problems, such as difficulties falling or staying asleep, and magnesium supplements have been shown to help. In fact, a systematic review of 3 studies among older adults found that supplementing with 320–720 mg of magnesium daily for up to 8 weeks decreased the time it took them to fall asleep and increased total sleep time when compared with placebo!


#3. Magnesium may improve blood sugar management.


 





Many individuals with Type 2 Diabetes also have a magnesium deficiency, and this may be explained by the role magnesium plays in insulin and glucose metabolism.


It has been suggested that taking magnesium supplements may improve insulin resistance, which is a metabolic issue in which your cells don’t respond properly to insulin (an important hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar levels). Thus, improving insulin resistance can promote better blood sugar management, especially in people with diabetes.


In a systematic review of 25 studies, people with or at risk for Type 2 Diabetes who took 250–600 mg of magnesium per day for up to 24 weeks, experienced significant reductions in fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels compared with the placebo group. Additionally, another systematic review found that taking magnesium supplements for more than 4 months had a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar management.


#4. Magnesium may reduce the risk of heart disease.


 





Magnesium regulates nerve and muscle function throughout the body, including the heart muscle. Magnesium helps the heart maintain a healthy rhythm and is involved in the regulation of blood pressure and cholesterol production.


Low levels of magnesium have been linked to higher risk of heart disease, and this may be explained by the relationship between magnesium and blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which are risk factors for heart disease.


A systematic review of 28 studies found that magnesium supplements positively affected some heart disease risk factors in people with Type 2 Diabetes, by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and fasting blood sugar.


#5. Magnesium may help improve anxiety and stress.


 





Magnesium can help control neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers of the brain, to provide an overall calming effect on the body.


Low levels of magnesium can lead to an abundance of excitatory neurotransmitters in the body, triggering feelings of stress and anxiety. Having adequate levels of magnesium can help inhibit excitatory neurotransmitters that ultimately contribute to stress, leading to an overall sense of calmness. Magnesium has also been linked to promote GABA activity. GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which blocks signals in your central nervous system, slowing your brain and producing a calming effect – a welcomed relief in times of anxiety!


Ultimately, adequate levels of magnesium are not only crucial for many bodily processes, but magnesium can also provide many benefits throughout the body. Supplementing with magnesium is a relatively inexpensive, safe, and effective way to ensure adequate levels are achieved.


If you’re interested in magnesium supplementation, the clinic strongly recommends the Genestra Magnesium Glycinate Liquid Mineral Supplement which comes in a natural apple-pomegranate flavour! This product is available at the clinic and is also 15% off for the month of March!



As always, it is recommended to talk with your medical doctor about taking a magnesium supplement if you would like to try one – this supplement may be unsafe for people with kidney conditions and those who take certain diuretics, heart medications, or antibiotics.

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