Health Benefits of Magnesium for Men and Women

Magnesium has many health benefits for men and women, and this article breaks down everything you need to know.

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Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a part in more than 300 different processes that occur within the body. It regulates things like blood pressure and heart rate, facilitates muscle and nerve control and even boosts the function of the immune system. Magnesium supplementation can be utilized to improve symptoms associated with pain, trouble sleeping, anxiety and fatigue.

Magnesium can be sourced from some of the foods that we eat, such as spinach, almonds and avocados, but supplementation can also be used to promote optimal health and protect against conditions like high blood pressure and osteoporosis. The recommended daily allowance is between 310 and 420 milligrams per day for the average adult.

If you’re considering starting a supplement regimen with magnesium, let’s take a look at this mineral from the perspective of a registered dietitian. I’ve used this supplement in my own life with great success, and I’ve recommended it to many of my clients as well.

What Does Magnesium Do for the Body?

Magnesium can offer a lot of support and benefits to the body. Let’s take a look at what it can be used for.

Pain:

Magnesium supplementation can help with various kinds of pain. For things like headaches, joint pain, muscle cramps and fibromyalgia, magnesium will decrease your body’s sensitivity to pain so you’re more comfortable. For people who have dealt with chronic pain in their lifetime, you know how debilitating it can be.

Red shades representing back pain on a mans back

Mental Health and Sleep:

There are a number of factors that can affect the quality of a person’s sleep. This includes bouts of depression and anxiety, insomnia and restless leg syndrome. Magnesium quiets down the nervous system, which prepares your body for a restful night of sleep. It’s recommended that you take it a few hours before bed so it can start to take effect. You should sleep soundly through the night, but you won’t experience any kind of grogginess when the morning comes.

Other Conditions:

There are a number of other conditions and ailments that people use magnesium to improve. Eczema, psoriasis and other skin rashes can be treated with the use of magnesium because it reduces the inflammation that makes it so hard to heal these flare ups. Magnesium can also make you feel calmer, and stress can majorly affect your skin.

Magnesium is used for patients with asthma as it relaxes and dilates your airways while also reducing any inflammation that is present. You may experience less asthma attacks when you’re regularly supplementing with magnesium.

People who suffer from diabetes can use magnesium to improve their condition and make it easier to manage. Magnesium helps the muscles relax, and this can impact your insulin levels in a positive way. Magnesium helps convert excess amounts of glucose in the blood into glycogen, which is then stored in the liver. This will help remove excess sugar from the blood.

Osteoporosis is a condition that occurs when the body cannot produce new bone quickly enough to keep up with the loss of old bone. This results in brittle and unhealthy bones. Magnesium can assist with this condition by increasing the density of the bones and keeping osteoporosis at bay.

Is Magnesium Good for You?

Magnesium has a number of health benefits that can improve your quality of life and help you better manage a variety of conditions. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t getting enough magnesium from their diet alone. For those who don’t understand its importance, magnesium deficiency can be affecting men, women and even children.

Magnesium is just one of 15 essential minerals that we need to survive. Some of these minerals are only needed in small amounts, so they’re considered to be trace minerals. There are others that we need in larger amounts, and magnesium is one of them. Other minerals that we should be consuming at least 250 milligrams of per day include calcium, potassium, phosphorus and sodium. We don’t make these minerals on our own, so it’s important that we source them from food or supplements. From balancing electrolyte levels in the body to regulating metabolism, magnesium has a bigger role in our daily processes than you may realize.

Magnesium Uses:

There are a number of ways that we can utilize magnesium from diet or supplements. This includes:

  • Promoting muscle relaxation
  • Providing cardiovascular protection
  • Facilitating nerve messages between the nervous system and brain
  • Regulates the body’s use of calcium
  • Promotes strong bones and teeth
  • Regulates metabolism of acids, fats, carbs and proteins
  • Maintains health cholesterol production
  • Controls insulin sensitivity
  • Helps with the production of energy so you feel less fatigued
  • Aids in DNA transcription
  • Promotes healthy cell membranes
Woman stretching as she wakes up with energy

Why Take magnesium?

There are so many different health benefits that you can unlock with the regular use of a magnesium supplement. From keeping your blood pressure low and controlled to reducing your risk of type II diabetes, you can use this mineral to completely transform your life. A lot of people choose to use it daily to improve their cognitive function, prevent asthma attacks and protect their heart, but it’s something you can also use intermittently for a migraine headache or muscle pain.

We require healthy amounts of magnesium in the blood in order to maintain bone health. It aids in calcium regulation, so we don’t experience bone density loss as we age.

Why Do We Need Magnesium?

Magnesium may very well be the most essential enzyme and mineral that control various functions in the body. Its two most important responsibilities are to regulate the production of energy as well as control cellular reproduction. It's also used for hormone production, bodily movement and cell maintenance before being filtered out of the body by the kidneys.

When not enough magnesium is being taken into the body, this can result in magnesium being taken from the bones. Our body may also proceed to function in a magnesium deficient state, which isn’t healthy. It’s imperative that we’re getting enough magnesium each and every day. This isn’t something that our bodies can function very well without and going days upon days with a magnesium deficiency isn’t ideal. You could start to see side effects rather quickly. These side effects can include things like:

  • Osteoporosis from magnesium being taken away from bone
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor cardiovascular health
  • Asthma or other breathing problems
  • An increased risk of developing diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Anxiety

Can You Get Magnesium from Foods?

Magnesium can absolutely be sourced from food, but you’ll need to make sure that you’re eating enough of those foods in order to meet the recommended daily requirement of magnesium, which is between 310 and 420 milligrams per day for an adult. Some of the high magnesium foods that you can incorporate into your meals include:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bananas
  • Spinach and other leafy greens
  • Fatty fish
magnesium contained in foods such as fruits, nuts, veggies, and herbs

Who Should Supplement Magnesium?

Because magnesium has been largely studied and determined to have many health benefits, it’s recommended as an essential supplement for adults. As many as three quarters of adult American men and women are deficient in magnesium, it’s ideal to work more magnesium-rich foods into your diet as well as consider supplementing. Especially if you’re very active, your body is likely using up your magnesium quickly. Older adults tend to experience less magnesium intake and reserves. You want to avoid being in a higher risk bracket for disease and other health complications.

Your doctor has the ability to order a blood test that will check your magnesium levels if you’re concerned that you may be deficient or if you’re experiencing symptoms or health issues that fall in line with a magnesium deficiency.

Who Should Not Take Magnesium Supplements?

You should speak with your healthcare provider if you’re at all concerned with the safety of taking magnesium supplements. Avoid taking this type of product if you’re currently taking diuretics to flush excess fluid from your body, heart medication or antibiotics. People with heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes may want to avoid taking magnesium supplements as well until they’ve been cleared by a medical professional.

Magnesium Benefits for Men

Magnesium has a very important role in men’s hormone health. It contributes to healthy testosterone levels and healthy physical performance. When a man supplements with magnesium, they may experience an increase in total testosterone, especially in men who are physically active.

Magnesium Benefits for Women

Magnesium is incredibly important for women’s health. When deficient, low magnesium can increase a woman's risk of osteoporosis and bone fragility. This isn’t just because of removal of magnesium from the bones to meet daily requirements, but it’s also because magnesium is needed in order to metabolize calcium the right way. Calcium is essential for women’s bone health.

Magnesium can also help regulate women’s hormone levels by creating a very specific balance of progesterone and estrogen. Some women find that it reduces pain associated with PMS and period cramping. It can also reduce bloating caused by water retention during certain points in a woman’s menstrual cycle. When a woman’s hormones are in proper balance, this can lead to an increased production in serotonin, which improves mood, reduces anxiety and keeps depression at bay.

Conclusion

After learning about the importance of magnesium and the potential health benefits of supplementation, it’s my hope that you will go on to pay close attention to how much magnesium you’re consuming each day. As a dietitian, I like to make sure that I’m getting adequate nutrients from the foods that I eat as part of my meals, but it’s also helpful to supplement with some of those nutrients that really play a role in optimal health. Magnesium is one supplement that really doesn’t result in any kind of unwanted side effects, but it’s extremely helpful for the body.

Photo of author

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, earned her masters degree in Nutrition and Foods from the University of Georgia. She's a Registered Dietitian at Morrison Healthcare and has a strong passion in helping people improve their wellness!

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