Magnesium provides an extremely wide range of health benefits.
The benefits of magnesium are widely known, researched, and well documented. These benefits are cited extensively in scientific, medical, and nutrition literature, as well as in popular health literature.
There is increasing awareness within alternative medicine and within the medical establishment regarding the effectiveness of magnesium as a therapeutic mineral providing significant benefits. Notably, the health benefits of magnesium are the subject of works by prominent naturopaths and medical doctors. These works include Dr. Carolyn Dean’s The Magnesium Miracle (2007), Dr. Norman Shealy’s Holy Water, Sacred Oil (2000), Dr. Mildred Seelig’s The Magnesium Factor (2003), and Dr. Mark Sircus’s Transdermal Magnesium Therapy (2007). These medical experts represent a vanguard whose works reflect rapidly growing interest in magnesium among health professionals.
These experts report numerous health benefits provided by magnesium.
Magnesium’s health benefits extend to the powerful role it plays in supporting and preventing certain conditions, and especially for the symptoms and conditions caused by magnesium deficiency.
Health conditions known to benefit from magnesium include:
- Cardiovascular Diseases
- Strokes and Head Injuries
- Metabolic Syndrome, Obesity, and Diabetes
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Depression and Anxiety
- Pain, including Chronic Pain
- Migraine Headaches
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, and Bone Demineralization
- Kidney Stones
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
In addition to conditions related to magnesium-deficiency that benefit from increased magnesium levels, other reported general health benefits include:
- Higher Energy Levels
- Increased Immune System Response
- Improvements in Memory and Cognitive Function
- Improvements in Mood and Subjective Well-Being
- Support for Body During Systemic Stress
- Tissue Inflammation
- Reduced Muscle Tension
- Sports Medicine
The link between magnesium and health continues to grow stronger as scientific studies of magnesium draw much deserved attention to the critical nutrient.
Although the range of magnesium’s benefits is impressive, this fact should come as no surprise given that magnesium is necessary to sustain life.
Indeed, because magnesium is required for most metabolic functions and to sustain all organs, magnesium deficiencies can produce a diverse range of symptoms. Although these symptoms often may be classified or diagnosed by doctors as isolated conditions, this can mask the true nature of their collective cause, especially when the cause is magnesium deficiency.
Another way of looking at the positive effects and actions of magnesium on the human body is to view magnesium as foundational to good health. This means good health in the sense that optimal amounts of magnesium contribute substantially and powerfully to health and well-being. In this model, magnesium is first and foremost a beneficial nutrient that is critically needed for sustaining life and health.
When adequate amounts of magnesium are not available, then pathologies related to deficiency will inevitably occur. In these cases, the fact that less than adequate amounts of magnesium are available to the body denies it magnesium’s contribution to its health. When this happens, a chain of events is set in motion that contributes to processes of degeneration and disease, which directly result from magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium for Healthy Cells
One of the main reasons magnesium acts as such a powerful general tonic is the fact that it plays such a large role in the production of energy at the cellular level. When there is a state of deficiency, then energy production at optimal levels cannot be sustained. When there is abundance of magnesium, then higher levels of cellular energy create energy available for the entire body. When the body produces high levels of energy, then it can readily sustain its cells, organs, and biological processes.
Another important aspect of magnesium for health purposes is its unique ability to relax muscles tissues. Muscle tension is a cause and a symptom of stress, pain, and improper body alignment. Magnesium chloride, for example, is often described as having the capacity to “melt” physical tension when applied locally in sufficient amounts. When tight muscles relax, pain ceases (or lessens), circulation improves, and structural alignment improves.
Health & Magnesium Depletion
The hormone adrenaline wastes magnesium in the body.1 During states of acute or chronic stress, stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (e.g., the “fight or flight” response) significantly depletes magnesium. Because stress depletes magnesium and magnesium depletion magnifies stress response, the relationship of stress to magnesium deficiency can be described as a positive feedback loop (or vicious cycle). In this scenario, decreased magnesium levels amplify stress and lead to increased needs for magnesium.
The body’s response to stress depletes magnesium, creating a lessened capacity to adapt to stress, and then the cycle repeats. Unless magnesium levels are adequately replenished and stress levels reduced, this cycle is difficult to break.
Given the fact of widespread magnesium deficiency and elevated levels of stress in society, this all-too-common scenario aptly describes the situation of millions of individuals with respect to magnesium deficiency status and stress response. However, when the supply of magnesium is plentiful, then the body can maintain its magnesium levels, and respond to stress (whether acute or chronic) from a position of magnesium sufficiency. Sufficient magnesium enables the body to respond to stress with greater balance, recover more quickly, and break or avoid the cycle of magnesium depletion and heightened stress response.
Health Effects of Magnesium
Magnesium’s health benefits are as vast as the many body functions it supports and the over 300 critical enzyme reactions it enables in the body every hour of the day. When available in abundance, the overall health effects of magnesium are like a stabilizing tonic for the entire body. Optimal amounts are needed for vibrant health.
The amount of magnesium required for best health may differ somewhat from individual to individual, but an abundant supply is vital. Given the critical connection between good health and magnesium, benefits should be fully understood. Obtaining plentiful amounts should be given high priority, long before deficiencies can develop or result in weakened health, or contribute to the emergence of symptoms and health conditions related to insufficient magnesium.
- Dean, Carolyn, MD, ND. The Magnesium Miracle (2007 ed.), 47. [↩]