How Does Magnesium Influence Our Health
Magnesium is one of the essential minerals in our body. It provides more than 300 biochemical reactions in our organism to work well, thus supporting our muscles, nerves, immune systems, heart and bones to perform optimally their daily activities. Furthermore, hundreds of studies prove that magnesium can prevent many diseases and ill bodily functions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, osteoporosis, diabetes etc. Magnesium is, also, responsible for proper consumption of other minerals, and the best example is calcium, which our body cannot absorb thoroughly without enough magnesium. The article “Health Benefits of Magnesium” describes magnesium’s influence on our health condition.
How Does Magnesium Influence Our Health
Without the presence of magnesium in the body, energy could not be produced or used in the cells, muscles could not contract and relax, and key hormones could not be synthesized to help control vital bodily functions.
It is not surprising, then, the role that magnesium has been shown to play in the prevention of common diseases and conditions.
According to the National Institutes of Health:
Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.”
In a review of nutrition and bone health published by the American College of Nutrition, it was noted that among four unique population studies each found a positive correlation between magnesium and bone mineral density.
These studies are backed up by research demonstrating that magnesium deficiency results in:
• Decreased bone strength
• Decreased bone volume
• Poor bone development
• Excess release of calcium from bone into the blood without accompanying bone formation.
Researchers from the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University studied the bone mineral density (BMD) of members of the original Framingham Heart Study cohort, a longitudinal study initiated in 1948.
Statistical analysis of bone mineral density and diet for members of the study suggested that long term diets high in magnesium protect against loss of BMD.
Studies show a high percentage of chronically depressed people exhibit magnesium deficiency.
Experimental and clinical data suggest an association between magnesium deficiency and depression. As early as 1996, a study by Dr. Richard Cox and Dr. Norman Shealy, neuroscientist, noted a correlation between low magnesium and rates of depression, finding 100% of 475 chronically depressed exhibited deficient magnesium in magnesium tolerance testing.
A more recent and much larger study published in 2009 in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry confirms these findings. Examining data from 5700 adults in the Hordaland Health Study in Norway, researchers noted a statistically significant relationship between magnesium intake and depression. Participants who reported dietary habits low in magnesium were more likely to test positive for symptoms of depression using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Results remained significant when adjusted for age, gender, blood pressure, and socioeconomic status.
In January 2004, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported a significant correlation between magnesium intake and risk of Type II diabetes. Their report was the result of two large scale, long term studies following over 170,000 health professionals and evaluating diet and its impact on disease: The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study.
High magnesium intake has been shown to reduce the risk of developing hypertension. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health examined 30,000 male health professionals without high blood pressure. A lower risk of hypertension was associated with diets with increased magnesium and dietary fiber.
Among those who did not develop hypertension during the four year study, higher dietary fiber, magnesium, and potassium were related to decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, with increases in systolic and diastolic figures connected to lower intakes of magnesium and related nutrients.
The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study similarly found that higher blood levels of magnesium were associated with lower risk of heart disease. The study followed 14,000 adults free of coronary heart disease for over 4-7 years, comparing blood magnesium levels between those who did and did not develop heart disease.
The Honolulu Heart Study followed 7,000 men over a period of 30 years, comparing those with magnesium intakes below 186 mg per day to those with intakes above 340 mg per day. After observing a twofold increase in heart disease rates among those with the lowest magnesium intake, the study concluded that higher intake of dietary magnesium was associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Unfortunately, due to industrial cultivation of crops and vegetables as well as food processing in the last 50 years, we cannot benefit from the rich nutritive food sources as did our ancestors. Also, our bad habits, such us a lot of caffeine, alcohol, junk food, and too much sugar not only that are poor in magnesium and cannot contribute beneficially to our health in general, but also may prevent or reduce an absorption of magnesium in our body. However, the well balanced diet, rich with food high in magnesium, can enhance our overall health condition and affect positively our vitality. If we avoid processing food as much as we can and increase our diet with the magnesium rich foods, such as cocoa, almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, whole wheat bread, spinach, quinoa, etc., we will improve our immune system and strengthen our resistance to many illnesses.