Magnesium is the most important mineral in our body. It accounts for over 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies. Unfortunately most are not aware if they are deficient because less than 1% of our bodily stores exist in the blood. The rest is found in our bones and cells. Which is why Magnesium is one of the most overlooked minerals essential to our health.
Magnesium can be found in dark, leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and legumes.
Often we look at Magnesium’s sister mineral Calcium, which we will go into more detail about how the two go hand in hand.
In this article, we are going to discuss a number of reasons why you should consider Magnesium to be essential to your health. Especially if you are an athlete or doing any kind of strength training because this increases your magnesium requirements extensively.
To explain how magnesium affects anti-aging we must first understand one key element and it is this – cells can divide only a limited number of times before replicative senescence (limitation of Mitosis) occurs .
Also, this happens with Meiosis, which is the cell division resulting in eggs and sperm.
The danger of replicative senescence lays within what can result when cells can no longer divide – Cardiovascular Disease, Metastatic Cancers, and a number of other age-related diseases.
In very real terms, Magnesium is like the fountain of youth, and yet 80% of the population is deficient in it.
2: Improve Mood.
Is it any wonder that so many people are depressed and so many are magnesium deficient in today’s population, when you see the two go hand in hand? I’m talking half the population of most industrialized countries. Magnesium is a powerhouse when it comes to brain health.
When you incorporate Magnesium-rich foods, or supplements into your diet, you will notice an increased level of focus, learning and memory functions. This increase in cognitive plasticity is in direct relation to neurotransmitter release.
One such neurotransmitter
that benefits from this is serotonin. One of the many functions of serotonin is to help regulate mood. If you have too little Magnesium in the diet and your serotonin levels will drop in conjunction.
The way most anti-depressants work is they boost levels of magnesium. But they also increase your chance of heart attack. The better alternative is to just make sure you are getting enough magnesium in your diet.
According to Emory University:
“Antidepressants’ effects on blood vessels may come from changes in serotonin, a chemical that helps some brain cells communicate but also functions outside the brain… Most of the serotonin in the body is found outside the brain, especially in the intestines… In addition, serotonin is stored by platelets, the cells that promote blood clotting, and is released when they bind to a clot. However, serotonin’s effects on blood vessels are complex and act in multiple ways. It can either constrict or relax blood vessels, depending on whether the vessels are damaged or not.”
3: Activate Muscles and Nerves.
As I mentioned earlier Calcium is the sister of Magnesium. In many countries, we are told to drink our milk, to make sure we have enough calcium for strong teeth and healthy bones. But did you ever hear about the importance of balancing that with Magnesium.
For a moment lets reflect on the function of calcium and magnesium as it relates to our muscles.
Calcium causes your muscles to contract while magnesium causes the muscle to expand. We know this is essential in relation to activating muscle for growth, but imagine what this can do to your heart if there is an imbalance.
One general cause of heart failure is when the heart does not have enough magnesium to balance out the calcium and goes into spasm. that relax and contract caused by the balance of these two is normal activity for the heart. To keep a healthy heart, you want to even out your intake of these two.
Another reason Magnesium is great for activating muscles is that Magnesium levels directly influence testosterone levels. Testosterone levels influence muscle growth and fat loss.
As we discussed earlier, magnesium is essential to learning and memory. Also for transfer of neurotransmitters for the release of hormones that result in a better mood. Even a small decrease in magnesium can result in irritability, depression and mental confusion. Elevate that and we have the foundation of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
4: Improve insulin sensitivity.
For anyone interested in weight loss, you should place close attention to this. Magnesium directly influences your insulin levels which has a massive impact on lean body composition and diabetes.
I’ll be the first to admit that I never really got into or followed the glycemic index in my early years. I knew it was important, but for me it ranked right up there with counting calories.
The good news for you, if you are like me where it comes to absorbing glycemic numbers, is that you can get all that under control with the use of magnesium as glycemic control is effective through the use of magnesium.
What does this mean in layman’s terms? When magnesium is present, your body is more effect in its use of glucose for energy which in turn balances insulin levels.
Which brings me to number 5:
5: Increase in energy.
Anyone with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome will be interested in this section of the article. In fact anyone who is keen on taking pre-workouts, IGF-1 supplements, or even if you just have to have your coffee just to function… this is for YOU.
How our body creates energy is called the KREB cycle. This is what turns your fat into the cellular hamster wheel that gets your body moving otherwise known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
ATP is known as cellular currency. Its how we create chemical energy for cellular metabolism.
Now here comes the game changer. Did you know that ATP is not stable without Magnesium? That if it were not for magnesium’s role in the production of energy, ATP would fall apart.
Yeah, heavy huh?
Think about this next time you reach for that coffee. Do you absolutely need to chug 5 coffee’s a day? Or do you maybe throw down some spinach and make like Popeye?
- A connection between Magnesium deficiency and aging: new insights from cellular studies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18705534
- Sudden cardiac death secondary to antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2365731/
- Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20352370
- Effect of testosterone on muscle mass and muscle protein synthesis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2917954
- Central Nervous System Magnesium deficiency http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2001142
- Dietary intake of heavy metals and risk of Parkinson’s disease http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21497832
- Magnesium intake, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes http://najms.net/wp-content/uploads/v06i01p009.pdf
- Red blood cell Magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1672392
- The role of magnesium in fibromyalgia http://web.mit.edu/london/www/magnesium.html