Magnesium may enhance your mood, sleep, exercise performance, and blood sugar control.

Magnesium can help improve your mood, sleep, exercise performance, blood sugar regulation, and more. You can get it from supplements and in certain foods like nuts and leafy greens.

Magnesium is found throughout your body. Every cell in your body contains this mineral and needs it to function.

About 60% of the magnesium in your body occurs in bone, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues, and fluids, including blood

One of its main roles is to act as a cofactor — a helper molecule — in the biochemical reactions continuously performed by enzymes. It’s involved in more than 600 reactions in your body, including

Energy creation:

converting food into energyProtein formation:creating new proteins from amino acids Gene maintenance:helping create and repair DNA and RNAMuscle movements:aiding in muscle contraction and relaxationNervous system regulation: regulating neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system

Our collective awareness of magnesium’s magic has been equally deficient, until recently. For Dean it’s been a long time coming; in The Magnesium Miracle, she notes that its beneficial properties have been known for over 75 years, even being prescribed to help treat heart disease back in the 1930s.It wasn’t until the 1980s, when Dr Bella Altura and her husband, Dr Burton Altura, made magnesium the sole focus of their research, that people began to show interest. Conducting over 1000 experiments on the element, the Alturas created the Blood Ionized Magnesium Test to better measure magnesium levels. “When I spoke with them in 1999, they were extremely frustrated that their incredibly important work was not being adopted in clinical practice and mainstream medicine,” Dean says.Since then, the discourse surrounding magnesium has skyrocketed. Social media has played its part: TikTok is obsessed with sharing different supplements, and which are best for what, and it’s no different for magnesium. Search for it and you’ll discover millions of videos endorsing it as a miracle mineral, linking it to pretty much every condition thinkable.

One of its key benefits is to improve insomnia and other sleep issues. “Magnesium helps sleep in three main ways,” Dean begins. “It supports our adrenal glands, which are overworked by stress,” she says. “Secondly, serotonin—a key hormone that regulates our sleep and mood—depends on magnesium for its production and function,” she says. “Insomnia is often greatly improved by magnesium therapy.”Its ability to relax our muscles is also key. “Twitchy, restless, tense muscles keep you from falling into a deep sleep and make you hyper-alert,” she says. Dr Breus agrees, emphasizing the importance of keeping your GABA stable to catch some Zzzs. “Magnesium helps maintain healthy levels of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that promotes deep, restorative sleep.”

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It has many other benefits, too. It can aid exercise performance, blood sugar levels, migraines, PMS, bone health, ADD, anxiety, and depression too. Dean lists 65 conditions that she believes respond to magnesium treatment, while Dr Breus argues that “few dietary elements have more influence over the body than magnesium”.

What type of magnesium to take

There are 11 types of magnesium, so which one should you be using? In short, it depends. “Make sure you do your research and take the type that works best for your symptoms,” says Dr Breus. “Always speak to your doctor to make sure the one you choose is safe for you.”Magnesium citrate, for example, is extremely bioavailable and the most commonly recommended for deficiencies; magnesium lactate is similar but a little gentler on the stomach. Magnesium chloride may potentially be good for muscle pain, while magnesium oxide may treat migraines. There are also all kinds of ways to take it, including in capsule form and transdermally, via oils, sprays, and gels, the latter of which tend to be better absorbed by the body.Before you stock up, are there any caveats? Like any supplement, it’s crucial to consider any contraindications. Magnesium supplements have the potential to interact with antacids, anticoagulant medications, and muscle relaxants among others, plus the side effects of taking too much magnesium could include bloating, an upset stomach, and nausea. Hypermagnesemia, though—essentially overdosing on Mg—is really rare because the kidneys are good at getting rid of any excess in the body.

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