In general, magnesium is a mineral that the general population has no deficiencies. We usually cover our daily magnesium needs with diet alone and excess magnesium can be counterproductive.
It is true that some pathologies – such as migraine – may benefit from high doses of magnesium administered as a medicine, often intravenously. But for the rest of the functions of this mineral, it is sufficient to maintain an adequate intake, not finding benefits to supplement if there is no deficit. If there’s a deficit, then you should consider taking a magnesium orotate supplement with fast absorption.
Therapeutic Benefits of Magnesium
Although it is not a nutrient that worries us, it is becoming more and more important in our health. Before you order magnesium plus online, these are the therapeutic applications of magnesium shown by the latest studies.
#1. Use in Migraine
We know, because there are studies that prove it, that migraine patients have a lower level of magnesium in the blood than the healthy population, and these levels also go down even more during migraine attacks. So, it seems that magnesium levels may have something to do with these headaches and is currently a topic under investigation.
According to a 2016 meta-analysis published in the Pain Physician Journal, supplementation with magnesium – oral and intravenous – reduces the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks, which is why researchers point to it as a therapy to explore in migraine prevention and the improvement of symptoms.
In 2017, another study confirmed it: 2 g of intravenous magnesium reduced the intensity of migraine pain, more than the usual treatment with caffeine citrate. And according to a 2017 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the combined supplementation of chamomile, coenzyme Q10 and magnesium gives good results in prevention and has no side effects.
In the pediatric emergency headache management guide, published in 2016 in Seminars in Pediatric Neurology, 1 g of magnesium sulfate is safe and effective against migraines and can be used during pregnancy because it is safe for the fetus.
#2. In our Cardiovascular Health
Although there is enough scientific literature that relates magnesium intake to better cardiovascular health, a pertinent question may be asked: is that due to magnesium itself or that a diet rich in magnesium is necessarily also rich in healthy foods?
Would cardiovascular health be maintained with an unhealthy diet, based for example on pastries, precooked foods, and fast food, supplemented with magnesium? Probably not. Again we highlight how unhelpful it is to look at a single micronutrient, without paying attention to the complete eating pattern, which is what usually explains the benefits.
#3. Colo-rectal Cancer
Something similar occurs with colorectal cancer. It seems that the higher the intake, the less chance of cancer (at least up to 270 mg daily).
But if we stop to think, a diet rich in magnesium is also richer in fiber because of the foods it contains (green vegetables, whole grains…), and that is directly related to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
#4. Strong Bones
Magnesium has a crucial role in bone metabolism. When ingested with calcium, it improves the absorption of this (so many supplements include both minerals in its formulation).
Magnesium has an inhibitory function of parathormone, which is the hormone that triggers bone degradation to release calcium into the bloodstream. In addition to inhibiting bone resorption, magnesium stimulates bone creation and participates in vitamin D activity. Therefore, the role of magnesium in maintaining strong bones is indisputable.
For magnesium to perform all these vital functions for bone health, it is sufficient to cover the normal requirements with the diet.
But by itself, it is not enough, because it is necessary to add a series of conditions: adequate intake of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and K, physical activity, low salt diet and preferably not being a smoker or a drinker. Focusing only on one of those conditions is a totally useless approach. Both in bone health and in general health.
#5. Against Constipation
The use of magnesium to treat constipation is not a novelty since it has been in the list of traditional remedies for years.
The milk of magnesia has been used traditionally as a laxative and as a remedy for mild intestinal disorders, as in the case of indigestion.
As a laxative, magnesium chloride is more common. This compound has, on the one hand, osmotic capacity; that is, it attracts water to the intestine, thus softening the stool, which helps with evacuation, and also has a stimulating effect on peristalsis (bowel movements).
A 2007 study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and conducted in Japan, seems to indicate that both the diet low in magnesium and the low intake of water and fiber are related to constipation.
#6. As An Antacid
Its effectiveness as an antacid is also within its traditional uses. It is usually administered in the form of magnesium carbonate, which has a more alkaline pH and, therefore, is effective in neutralizing stomach acid.
It acts similarly to the usual bicarbonate, which is usually taken in these cases as well.
#7. Depression, Anxiety, Stress
The deficit of this mineral is associated with psychological and emotional disorders.
Depression, anxiety, and stress are some of the moods that have been studied in relation to magnesium. It is important to note, in the first place, that they are rare situations due to a single component, so pretending that magnesium (or any other isolated substance) will cure or solve these problems would not be realistic in any case. They are simply points to consider when dealing with these disorders.
In depression, an improvement of the symptoms is observed when supplementing with magnesium, but beware, only when there is a previous deficiency, as noted in the journal Nutrition in 2017, which can lead to thinking that maintaining an adequate level of magnesium can be a preventive factor of depression, and its deficit, a risk factor, as published in 2006 in Medical Hypotheses.
Other studies conclude that magnesium supplementation can help when it accompanies the usual treatment of depression.
The combination of several micronutrients, including magnesium, has also been studied as a cocktail to manage stress, but so far it is far from having obtained remarkable results. At the moment, the only valid advice regarding magnesium and mood is simply to maintain adequate plasma values, without appearing above these values to provide significant benefits.