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Magnesium Performs 300 Functions to Keep You Healthy - Here's How to Optimise It

J. Hsu
December 26, 2023

As a working professional focused on health and longevity, you owe it to yourself to understand the critical role of magnesium in your body and how to properly manage it.

By learning about magnesium, testing your levels regularly, and making both lifestyle changes and supplements as needed, you can avoid these health risks and promote healthspan and longevity.

This comprehensive guide provides an overview of magnesium, why you need it, how much is ideal, and how to get more of it into your life.

TLDR: Magnesium is an essential mineral that the body needs to perform over 300 functions.

  • Most adults are deficient in magnesium due to diet, stress, medication, and aging.
  • Long-term magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's.
  • Getting enough magnesium through diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes can promote health and longevity.
  • The article provides information on how much magnesium you need and ways to increase your intake.

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral found in the body that is vital for many physiological functions. It activates hundreds of enzymes and participates in thousands of biochemical reactions that regulate blood pressure, metabolism, protein synthesis, and various other processes.

Health Conditions Linked to Low Magnesium

Low magnesium levels are linked to several health conditions that can reduce longevity and healthspan.

High Blood Pressure

Magnesium deficiency can contribute to high blood pressure. Magnesium helps relax blood vessels and improves blood flow, so lack of it may lead to hypertension. According to studies, magnesium supplements or increasing magnesium-rich foods may help lower high blood pressure.

Diabetes

Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes risk increase with low magnesium. This mineral helps your cells properly respond to insulin and absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Supplementing with magnesium or consuming more magnesium-rich foods could help improve insulin sensitivity and lower diabetes risk.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is associated with magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is vital for proper heart rhythm and blood pressure, so lack of it may lead to arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and other heart problems. Adequate magnesium intake is important for heart health and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Bone Weakness

Osteoporosis and bone weakness are linked to insufficient magnesium. This mineral is essential for bone health and helps with calcium absorption and bone mineralization. Getting enough magnesium, in combination with calcium and vitamin D, is important for building and maintaining bone density and preventing conditions like osteoporosis.

Other Conditions

Other conditions associated with low magnesium include migraines, depression, and chronic inflammation.

Magnesium deficiency is common in adults and can have serious health consequences if left unaddressed. Even mildly low magnesium levels may accelerate aging and increase the risk of age-related diseases. Screening for magnesium deficiency and maintaining optimal levels is crucial for overall health, longevity, and quality of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

As magnesium levels decrease in the body, certain signs and symptoms may appear to indicate a deficiency. Recognizing these signs early on can help prevent complications and guide appropriate treatment.

Muscle Cramps and Spasms

Magnesium helps regulate muscle and nerve activity in the body. A lack of magnesium can lead to painful muscle cramps, spasms, and twitches, especially in the legs and feet. Supplementing with magnesium citrate or sulfate can help relieve these symptoms.

Fatigue and Low Energy

Magnesium plays a key role in converting the food we eat into cellular energy. When magnesium levels drop, a person may feel persistent fatigue, low energy, and a lack of endurance for physical or mental activity. Addressing an underlying magnesium deficiency may help improve energy levels and reduce feelings of tiredness.

Insomnia and Sleep Issues

Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters involved in sleep-wake cycles, like melatonin and GABA. A deficiency in this mineral can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Supplementing with magnesium before bed may help establish a calming bedtime routine and promote better sleep quality and duration.

Anxiety and Irritability

Magnesium influences many of the neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation and stress response. Low magnesium may contribute to increased anxiety, irritability, and mood changes. Correcting a magnesium deficiency through diet and supplements could help alleviate anxiety and stabilize mood.

High Blood Pressure

Magnesium helps relax blood vessels and regulates blood pressure. A lack of magnesium is associated with elevated blood pressure. Supplementing with magnesium may help lower blood pressure to a healthy range, especially for those with hypertension.

Neurodegenerative Disorders

Insufficient magnesium levels have been associated with an increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Magnesium plays an important role in nerve and brain function by regulating neurotransmitter release, synaptic plasticity, and nerve conduction. Studies suggest that magnesium deficiency may lead to oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and protein aggregation - processes that are involved in the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

Getting adequate magnesium from whole foods and supplements may help prevent or relieve these common signs of deficiency, supporting healthspan and longevity. However, severe or persistent symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional to determine appropriate treatment.

Ideal Magnesium Levels for Optimal Health

To achieve optimal health and longevity, maintaining adequate magnesium levels is essential.

Maintaining a serum magnesium level of 2.2-2.5 mg/dL (0.91-1.04 mmol/L) can help maintain optimal cardiovascular health.

The only way to determine your magnesium levels is through a blood test, typically called a serum magnesium test.

How Often to Test Your Magnesium Levels

To maintain optimal magnesium levels and overall health, adults should have their magnesium levels tested regularly. The frequency of testing depends on several factors, including age, health conditions, and risk factors.

For those healthy and under 65:

For most healthy adults under 65 years of age, magnesium levels can be checked every 3 to 5 years or as recommended by your physician. Magnesium testing may be part of routine blood work during an annual physical exam.

If you have health conditions or over 65:

For those over 65 or with certain health conditions like diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, or kidney disease, more frequent testing, such as every 1 to 2 years, is recommended.

If you have these medications/lifestyle factors:

Certain medications may also affect magnesium levels and require more consistent monitoring. These include proton pump inhibitors, diuretics, and some antibiotics. Lifestyle factors like alcohol use, caffeine or nicotine consumption, and a diet high in processed foods could increase the need for magnesium testing.

Mito Health's flagship package, priced at $499, offers testing for magnesium as well as 66 other carefully curated biomarkers that provide insight into various aspects of your health - this comprehensive suite of tests allows for early detection of cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and more.

In addition to testing, you will receive a personalized health optimization plan from our doctors incorporating supplements, nutrition, exercise and sleep strategies, discounted pricing for specialized additional tests, and access to exclusive health and longevity events.

Food Sources High in Magnesium

Magnesium can be obtained through various food sources. Consuming a diet high in magnesium-rich foods is an easy way to increase your magnesium levels and gain the associated health benefits. Some of the best sources of magnesium include:

Dark leafy greens

Foods like spinach, swiss chard, and kale are excellent sources of magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach contains 157 mg of magnesium, which is about 38% of the daily value. These greens are also high in other vitamins and minerals, so consuming them regularly promotes overall health and longevity.

Nuts and seeds

Pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds, along with almonds and cashews, contain high amounts of magnesium. Just 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds has about 190 mg of magnesium, which is 47% of the daily value. Nut butters made from these nuts and seeds can also boost your magnesium intake.

Beans and lentils

Black beans, kidney beans and lentils are high in magnesium, with about 120 mg per cooked cup. These foods are also high in fiber, protein and various antioxidants. Adding beans and lentils to your diet a few times a week can significantly increase your magnesium levels over time.

Avocados

One medium avocado contains about 58 mg of magnesium, which is 15% of the daily value. Avocados are considered a superfood, as they are also high in potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

Bananas

Bananas contain 32 mg of magnesium per medium fruit, which is 8% of the daily value. Bananas also contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Most people can easily add one banana to their diet each day.

Yogurt or kefir

One cup of plain yogurt or kefir contains about 50 mg of magnesium, which is 13% of the daily value. These cultured dairy products also contain calcium, protein, vitamin B2 and probiotics for digestive health. Choose unsweetened, full-fat versions for the most nutritional benefits.

In summary, a diet high in leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, avocados, bananas, and yogurt provides many magnesium-rich food sources. Consuming a variety of these foods on a regular basis is the best way to boost your magnesium levels through diet alone.

Lifestyle Changes to Boost Your Magnesium Levels

Certain foods, beverages, and habits can deplete your magnesium levels. Limiting or avoiding the following will help maintain healthy magnesium levels:

Excessive alcohol consumption:

Consuming more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men can deplete magnesium stores over time.

Excessive caffeine:

Drinking more than 200 to 300 mg of caffeine per day, which is roughly 2 to 3 cups of coffee, may reduce magnesium absorption.

Chronic stress and lack of sleep:

Both stress and insufficient sleep can elevate cortisol and adrenaline levels in the body, which can increase magnesium excretion and lead to deficiency.

Certain medications:

Long-term use of diuretic medications, which increase urination, may require magnesium supplementation to prevent deficiency, according to your doctor's advice.

Making changes to limit these depleting factors will help preserve your magnesium stores.

Magnesium Supplements for Working Adults

Magnesium supplements can help ensure working adults maintain adequate magnesium levels for optimal health and longevity. As magnesium levels tend to decrease with age and certain lifestyle factors like stress, supplementation may be warranted for some individuals.

Forms of Magnesium

Magnesium supplements come in several forms, including magnesium citrate, chloride, lactate, and sulfate. Magnesium citrate and chloride tend to be most readily absorbed by the body.

The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is around 310 to 400 mg per day for most adults. However, some individuals may require higher doses to restore depleted magnesium levels. It is best to start with a moderate dose, around 200 to 260 mg per day, and increase slowly as needed based on blood test results and symptom improvement.

When to Consider Supplementing

It is a good idea for working adults to get their magnesium levels tested every few years, especially if experiencing symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, irritability, or muscle cramps. A simple blood test can determine if magnesium levels are in the normal range.

If levels are low or borderline low, magnesium supplements may help prevent long term health issues and maintain vitality and healthy aging. Some studies show that maintaining adequate magnesium levels may lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes.

Conclusion

As you have learned, magnesium plays a vital role in your overall health and longevity. By understanding your magnesium levels, making appropriate lifestyle changes, and supplementing when needed, you can optimize this critical mineral and support healthspan into your later years.

At Mito Health, we specialize in advanced health diagnostics to test your magnesium levels (along with 66 other biomarkers) - to form a science-based, personalized health plan to help you optimize your health. Sign up for our flagship package today to take control of your health and your future. 

Kickstart your health optimisation journey from $499 today

Sign Up
Blood, stool and urine tests for in-depth insights into your health and longevity
Health optimisation plan incorporating supplements, nutrition, exercise and sleep strategies
Exclusive access to low-cost add-on tests and retests for one year
The information provided by Mito Health is for improving health and wellness only, and not to be taken as medical advice or medical recommendations.

Magnesium Performs 300 Functions to Keep You Healthy - Here's How to Optimise It

Magnesium helps your body perform over 300 essential functions. Learn how to avoid deficiency and optimize your magnesium intake through food and lifestyle for better health.

As a working professional focused on health and longevity, you owe it to yourself to understand the critical role of magnesium in your body and how to properly manage it.

By learning about magnesium, testing your levels regularly, and making both lifestyle changes and supplements as needed, you can avoid these health risks and promote healthspan and longevity.

This comprehensive guide provides an overview of magnesium, why you need it, how much is ideal, and how to get more of it into your life.

TLDR: Magnesium is an essential mineral that the body needs to perform over 300 functions.

  • Most adults are deficient in magnesium due to diet, stress, medication, and aging.
  • Long-term magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's.
  • Getting enough magnesium through diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes can promote health and longevity.
  • The article provides information on how much magnesium you need and ways to increase your intake.

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is an essential mineral found in the body that is vital for many physiological functions. It activates hundreds of enzymes and participates in thousands of biochemical reactions that regulate blood pressure, metabolism, protein synthesis, and various other processes.

Health Conditions Linked to Low Magnesium

Low magnesium levels are linked to several health conditions that can reduce longevity and healthspan.

High Blood Pressure

Magnesium deficiency can contribute to high blood pressure. Magnesium helps relax blood vessels and improves blood flow, so lack of it may lead to hypertension. According to studies, magnesium supplements or increasing magnesium-rich foods may help lower high blood pressure.

Diabetes

Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes risk increase with low magnesium. This mineral helps your cells properly respond to insulin and absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Supplementing with magnesium or consuming more magnesium-rich foods could help improve insulin sensitivity and lower diabetes risk.

Heart Disease

Heart disease is associated with magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is vital for proper heart rhythm and blood pressure, so lack of it may lead to arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and other heart problems. Adequate magnesium intake is important for heart health and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Bone Weakness

Osteoporosis and bone weakness are linked to insufficient magnesium. This mineral is essential for bone health and helps with calcium absorption and bone mineralization. Getting enough magnesium, in combination with calcium and vitamin D, is important for building and maintaining bone density and preventing conditions like osteoporosis.

Other Conditions

Other conditions associated with low magnesium include migraines, depression, and chronic inflammation.

Magnesium deficiency is common in adults and can have serious health consequences if left unaddressed. Even mildly low magnesium levels may accelerate aging and increase the risk of age-related diseases. Screening for magnesium deficiency and maintaining optimal levels is crucial for overall health, longevity, and quality of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

As magnesium levels decrease in the body, certain signs and symptoms may appear to indicate a deficiency. Recognizing these signs early on can help prevent complications and guide appropriate treatment.

Muscle Cramps and Spasms

Magnesium helps regulate muscle and nerve activity in the body. A lack of magnesium can lead to painful muscle cramps, spasms, and twitches, especially in the legs and feet. Supplementing with magnesium citrate or sulfate can help relieve these symptoms.

Fatigue and Low Energy

Magnesium plays a key role in converting the food we eat into cellular energy. When magnesium levels drop, a person may feel persistent fatigue, low energy, and a lack of endurance for physical or mental activity. Addressing an underlying magnesium deficiency may help improve energy levels and reduce feelings of tiredness.

Insomnia and Sleep Issues

Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters involved in sleep-wake cycles, like melatonin and GABA. A deficiency in this mineral can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Supplementing with magnesium before bed may help establish a calming bedtime routine and promote better sleep quality and duration.

Anxiety and Irritability

Magnesium influences many of the neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation and stress response. Low magnesium may contribute to increased anxiety, irritability, and mood changes. Correcting a magnesium deficiency through diet and supplements could help alleviate anxiety and stabilize mood.

High Blood Pressure

Magnesium helps relax blood vessels and regulates blood pressure. A lack of magnesium is associated with elevated blood pressure. Supplementing with magnesium may help lower blood pressure to a healthy range, especially for those with hypertension.

Neurodegenerative Disorders

Insufficient magnesium levels have been associated with an increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Magnesium plays an important role in nerve and brain function by regulating neurotransmitter release, synaptic plasticity, and nerve conduction. Studies suggest that magnesium deficiency may lead to oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and protein aggregation - processes that are involved in the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

Getting adequate magnesium from whole foods and supplements may help prevent or relieve these common signs of deficiency, supporting healthspan and longevity. However, severe or persistent symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional to determine appropriate treatment.

Ideal Magnesium Levels for Optimal Health

To achieve optimal health and longevity, maintaining adequate magnesium levels is essential.

Maintaining a serum magnesium level of 2.2-2.5 mg/dL (0.91-1.04 mmol/L) can help maintain optimal cardiovascular health.

The only way to determine your magnesium levels is through a blood test, typically called a serum magnesium test.

How Often to Test Your Magnesium Levels

To maintain optimal magnesium levels and overall health, adults should have their magnesium levels tested regularly. The frequency of testing depends on several factors, including age, health conditions, and risk factors.

For those healthy and under 65:

For most healthy adults under 65 years of age, magnesium levels can be checked every 3 to 5 years or as recommended by your physician. Magnesium testing may be part of routine blood work during an annual physical exam.

If you have health conditions or over 65:

For those over 65 or with certain health conditions like diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, or kidney disease, more frequent testing, such as every 1 to 2 years, is recommended.

If you have these medications/lifestyle factors:

Certain medications may also affect magnesium levels and require more consistent monitoring. These include proton pump inhibitors, diuretics, and some antibiotics. Lifestyle factors like alcohol use, caffeine or nicotine consumption, and a diet high in processed foods could increase the need for magnesium testing.

Mito Health's flagship package, priced at $499, offers testing for magnesium as well as 66 other carefully curated biomarkers that provide insight into various aspects of your health - this comprehensive suite of tests allows for early detection of cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and more.

In addition to testing, you will receive a personalized health optimization plan from our doctors incorporating supplements, nutrition, exercise and sleep strategies, discounted pricing for specialized additional tests, and access to exclusive health and longevity events.

Food Sources High in Magnesium

Magnesium can be obtained through various food sources. Consuming a diet high in magnesium-rich foods is an easy way to increase your magnesium levels and gain the associated health benefits. Some of the best sources of magnesium include:

Dark leafy greens

Foods like spinach, swiss chard, and kale are excellent sources of magnesium. One cup of cooked spinach contains 157 mg of magnesium, which is about 38% of the daily value. These greens are also high in other vitamins and minerals, so consuming them regularly promotes overall health and longevity.

Nuts and seeds

Pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds, along with almonds and cashews, contain high amounts of magnesium. Just 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds has about 190 mg of magnesium, which is 47% of the daily value. Nut butters made from these nuts and seeds can also boost your magnesium intake.

Beans and lentils

Black beans, kidney beans and lentils are high in magnesium, with about 120 mg per cooked cup. These foods are also high in fiber, protein and various antioxidants. Adding beans and lentils to your diet a few times a week can significantly increase your magnesium levels over time.

Avocados

One medium avocado contains about 58 mg of magnesium, which is 15% of the daily value. Avocados are considered a superfood, as they are also high in potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

Bananas

Bananas contain 32 mg of magnesium per medium fruit, which is 8% of the daily value. Bananas also contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Most people can easily add one banana to their diet each day.

Yogurt or kefir

One cup of plain yogurt or kefir contains about 50 mg of magnesium, which is 13% of the daily value. These cultured dairy products also contain calcium, protein, vitamin B2 and probiotics for digestive health. Choose unsweetened, full-fat versions for the most nutritional benefits.

In summary, a diet high in leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans, avocados, bananas, and yogurt provides many magnesium-rich food sources. Consuming a variety of these foods on a regular basis is the best way to boost your magnesium levels through diet alone.

Lifestyle Changes to Boost Your Magnesium Levels

Certain foods, beverages, and habits can deplete your magnesium levels. Limiting or avoiding the following will help maintain healthy magnesium levels:

Excessive alcohol consumption:

Consuming more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men can deplete magnesium stores over time.

Excessive caffeine:

Drinking more than 200 to 300 mg of caffeine per day, which is roughly 2 to 3 cups of coffee, may reduce magnesium absorption.

Chronic stress and lack of sleep:

Both stress and insufficient sleep can elevate cortisol and adrenaline levels in the body, which can increase magnesium excretion and lead to deficiency.

Certain medications:

Long-term use of diuretic medications, which increase urination, may require magnesium supplementation to prevent deficiency, according to your doctor's advice.

Making changes to limit these depleting factors will help preserve your magnesium stores.

Magnesium Supplements for Working Adults

Magnesium supplements can help ensure working adults maintain adequate magnesium levels for optimal health and longevity. As magnesium levels tend to decrease with age and certain lifestyle factors like stress, supplementation may be warranted for some individuals.

Forms of Magnesium

Magnesium supplements come in several forms, including magnesium citrate, chloride, lactate, and sulfate. Magnesium citrate and chloride tend to be most readily absorbed by the body.

The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is around 310 to 400 mg per day for most adults. However, some individuals may require higher doses to restore depleted magnesium levels. It is best to start with a moderate dose, around 200 to 260 mg per day, and increase slowly as needed based on blood test results and symptom improvement.

When to Consider Supplementing

It is a good idea for working adults to get their magnesium levels tested every few years, especially if experiencing symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, irritability, or muscle cramps. A simple blood test can determine if magnesium levels are in the normal range.

If levels are low or borderline low, magnesium supplements may help prevent long term health issues and maintain vitality and healthy aging. Some studies show that maintaining adequate magnesium levels may lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes.

Conclusion

As you have learned, magnesium plays a vital role in your overall health and longevity. By understanding your magnesium levels, making appropriate lifestyle changes, and supplementing when needed, you can optimize this critical mineral and support healthspan into your later years.

At Mito Health, we specialize in advanced health diagnostics to test your magnesium levels (along with 66 other biomarkers) - to form a science-based, personalized health plan to help you optimize your health. Sign up for our flagship package today to take control of your health and your future. 

Written By
J. Hsu
December 26, 2023
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Kickstart your health optimisation journey from $499 today

Sign Up
Blood, stool and urine tests for in-depth insights into your health and longevity
Health optimisation plan incorporating supplements, nutrition, exercise and sleep strategies
Exclusive access to low-cost add-on tests and retests for one year
The information provided by Mito Health is for improving health and wellness only, and not to be taken as medical advice or medical recommendations.
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