Is Magnesium good for sleep?
Because of magnesium’s nerve & muscle support, it can be helpful in symptoms that can prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep. Symptoms such as nervousness, anxiety, stress, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, along with many other symptoms magnesium can help with can all be alleviated by supplementing with magnesium, especially at bedtime on an empty stomach. Magnesium is considered the “anti-stress” mineral and natural tranquillizer so it can definitely help!
Benefits of taking Magnesium daily
Taking magnesium daily can have a positive impact on our health. In addition to being used as a preventable measure, it can help prevent and reduce:
- High blood pressure (Also lowers blood pressure in pregnant women with eclampsia)
- Heart palpitations/arrhythmias
- Heart disease, particularly heart attacks due to coronary artery spasm (Magnesium helps relax & dilate coronary arteries). Dilates blood vessels as well.
- Relaxes skeletal muscles & smooth muscles of the blood vessels & GI tract
- PMS symptoms (Menstrual cramps, irritability, fatigue, depression, water retention) especially when taken with calcium & Vitamin B6.
- Natural laxative effects can prevent hangovers (Hangovers are partly due to the depletion of magnesium). Take with Vitamin B1 & plenty of water.
- Reduces stress, anxiety, nervousness, & depression
- Helps with insomnia
- Restless leg syndrome & muscle cramps
- Helps with calcium absorption (Without enough magnesium, calcium is not kept in solution and utilized by the body, but instead deposited in places that can place our body at risk). Magnesium ultimately is helpful in preventing calcification of other tissues and blood vessels (& thereby atherosclerosis).
- Increases enzymatic activity for protein & carbohydrate metabolism
- Allows nutrients to flow back & forth across cell membranes
- Increases energy (Transfers the key phosphate molecule to ATP, ultimately decreasing fatigue)
- Decreases nerve cell excitability (May help to reduce epileptic seizures caused by nerve excitability)
- Autism/hyperactivity in children (along with Vitamin B6)
- Decreases withdrawal symptoms in alcoholics
- Magnesium malate helps with Chronic fatigue syndrome & Fibromyalgia
- Reduces lead toxicity and its buildup, possible by competing for the absorption
- Magnesium used in compresses helps injuries by helping to drain toxins
- Kidney stones (esp. calcium oxalate stones)
- Bronchoconstriction in people who suffer from asthma
- Osteoporosis (Magnesium helps with calcium absorption)
Is Magnesium Good for the Heart?
Yes! Magnesium is an anti-stress mineral, relaxes skeletal & smooth muscles of blood vessels (Calcium stimulates muscle contraction, while magnesium relaxes them).
- Prevents coronary artery spasms; a significant cause and risk of heart attacks.
- Reduces angina & blood pressure
- Spasms of blood vessels lead to insufficient oxygen supply through them and ultimately pain, injury, or death of the muscle tissue they nourish.
- Magnesium helps relax & dilate coronary arteries. Dilates blood vessels as well.
**To function optimally, magnesium must be balanced in body with calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and sodium chloride.** (For example: with decreased magnesium, more calcium flows into the vascular muscle walls, which contracts them, leading to tighter vessels & increased blood pressure. Supplementing with magnesium may prevent this.)
Magnesium has several hundred enzymatic reactions, many of which contribute to production of energy & cardiovascular function.
Which food is highest in magnesium levels?
Perhaps spinach (157mg per cup cooked). (Make sure to cook & not eat raw to break down oxalic acid, which may form insoluble salts with magnesium, causing it to be eliminated rather than absorbed). Cook chard as well (eg: Swiss chard)
Almost all of our magnesium supplies come from the vegetable kingdom, although seafood has fairly high amounts. Magnesium is the “iron” of the plant world. Magnesium is the chlorophyll “blood pigment of plants”. The central atom of the chlorophyll structure is magnesium! This mineral is crucial for plant photosynthesis; therefore, dark green vegetables are excellent forms of magnesium.
Most nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts), seeds (squash & pumpkin seeds), legumes (lima & black-eyed beans), soy products (opt for fermented forms such as tempeh), whole grains such as brown rice (soak grains because they contain phytic acid, which can cause magnesium not to be absorbed), avocado, dried fruit such as figs, prunes, apricot, & dates, dark chocolate (85% cocoa), yogurt, & bananas
Other sources: Hard water
The downsides to taking magnesium
Too much can have a laxative effect, especially in larger amounts and more with certain forms.
Toxicity is rare but can occur if calcium intake is low.
Need to veer on the side of caution when on medication, as certain drugs’ efficiency are reduced by magnesium, or may interact with magnesium, such as certain antibiotics & certain medication for osteoporosis. These are only 2 examples.
When should you not take magnesium?
Please see the answer directly above.
Does coffee deplete magnesium?
Yes! Coffee is a diuretic.
Water pills & many other medications, acid reflux, peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, (along with other malabsorption problems), Type 2 Diabetes, alcoholism, chronic diarrhea also deplete magnesium.
Magnesium requires an acidic stomach environment, so take on an empty stomach between meals & at bedtime.
Meals high in protein or fat or/and a diet high in phosphorous, calcium, or Vitamin D can decrease magnesium absorption. Processed food has given us an artificial abundance of vitamin D in fortified milk and dairy, a surplus of phosphorous acid in soft drinks, and extra calcium in everything from orange juice to pancake mix. There is no surplus of magnesium in processed foods! Professionals recommend calcium & magnesium 2:1 because of this, however, some, including myself, recommend a 1:1 ratio when possible.
Other factors which can deplete magnesium:
- high blood cholesterol
- postmenopausal women
- birth control pills
- processed foods
- too many cooked & boiled foods (particularly vegetables)
- too much soft water consumption
- food consumed from magnesium-deficient soil where synthetic fertilizer containing no magnesium are used
- serious injuries
- liver disease
- excessive zinc
How much magnesium should you take?
Minimum of 6 mg per 2.2 pounds. Many authorities feel that the RDA should be increased by 50% because of the importance of this vital mineral. (eg: 600 to 700 mg daily for adults).
Average diet supplies about 120mg of magnesium per 1000 calories, which gives an estimated daily intake of about 250mg. Unless absorption is great, that is not going to produce adequate tissue levels of the magnesium for most people.
Absorption from various magnesium supplements can range from 75% - 98 %. From food, it’s only 30% to 60%.