What is magnesium?

Magnesium, an abundant mineral in the body, is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids and laxatives). Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm. 

Magnesium is a nutrient that’s involved in several important bodily functions. It plays a role in muscle and nerve function, is involved in regulating blood pressure and blood sugar, and even helps build bones and DNA.

“Magnesium may help regulate neurotransmitters that are directly related to sleep Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit messages between nerve cells in your brain and body. (It’s important to note that magnesium plays only a supporting role in their function.)


Magnesium for sleep

Magnesium plays a role in promoting healthy sleep patterns. It helps regulate melatonin; the hormone responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles. By ensuring sufficient magnesium levels, it may contribute to better sleep quality, which is essential for maintaining good mental health. Magnesium also may help regulate neurotransmitters that are directly related to sleep Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit messages between nerve cells in your brain and body. 


Magnesium for muscle recovery

Magnesium is an essential mineral for the daily function of our bodies. Young, old, or in-between, important biological processes such as energy production, fuel utilisation and muscle recovery and contraction are dependent on magnesium balance. Magnesium has a variety of applications in maintaining muscle function, relieving muscle soreness and optimising muscle recovery.

Magnesium is a natural anti-inflammatory, which means it helps to reduce inflammation and swelling (through reducing the key inflammatory marker C-reactive protein). This means it is great for muscle recovery - relieving tired, stiff, and sore muscles, such as in cases of delayed onset muscle soreness.

Magnesium plays a key role in how the brain communicates with the muscles and in muscle contraction itself. Combine strenuous exercise with low magnesium and you’re more likely to experience muscle cramping. 


Magnesium for stress and anxiety

  • Stress reduction: Magnesium has been known to help regulate the body's stress response by influencing the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Adequate magnesium levels may help reduce the negative effects of chronic stress and promote a sense of calmness and relaxation. Magnesium is believed to benefit a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which helps regulate the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for your response to stress. 
  • Anxiety management: Magnesium is involved in the regulation of neurotransmitters in the brain, including gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is known for its calming effects. Increasing magnesium intake may help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and promote a more balanced mood, as well as improve brain function. This is how magnesium plays a role in neurological health.


Magnesium deficiency 

Symptomatic magnesium deficiency due to low dietary intake in otherwise-healthy people is uncommon because the kidneys limit urinary excretion of this mineral. However, habitually low intakes or excessive losses of magnesium due to certain health conditions, chronic alcoholism, and/or the use of certain medications can lead to magnesium deficiency.

Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. As magnesium deficiency worsens, numbness, tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, seizures, personality changes, abnormal heart rhythms, and coronary spasms can occur.