My first experience with the massive benefits and therapeutic effect of magnesium was several years ago. I was experiencing a lot of restless sleeping nights, and I also was noticing an uptick in my anxiety. I felt for a period of time like my nerves were always on alert, and the lack of deep, regenerative sleep was adding to these feelings of anxiety and stress.
I just couldn’t “turn it off”. Interestingly, I also happened on a totally unrelated health article about, of all things, why many people have a hard time losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, after they reach a “certain age”.
More specifically, it was being looked at for its benefits in reducing a very dangerous type of fat - belly fat. The fat that accumulates around the abdomen has long been suspected of having serious health consequences. This includes an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and strokes among others. Magnesium is thought to help control belly fat and have an overall effect on fat storage, and this is probably due to a combination of factors.
You Don’t “Make” Magnesium So You Must Get This Mineral Daily from Other Sources
Much like something we are going to talk about in an upcoming post about vitamin C, magnesium is a nutrient that your body cannot make on its own. Therefore, it must be taken in via the diet or supplementation. There are actually some vital nutrients that can be “made” by the body. They can be synthesized from other nutrients, or there is a way the body can “recycle” some vitamins and nutrients.
Not so with magnesium. So we really have to make sure we get this vital mineral elsewhere. Whether this means through soaking in epsom mineral salt baths, or getting magnesium orally through consumption of certain type of food, or just a supplement, we really have to get this into our bodies daily some other way.
It is estimated that a large portion of the population, perhaps as high as fifty percent, is deficient in this important nutrient. Magnesium deficiency is linked to a lower pain threshold (aka more feelings of pain), weight gain, anxiety, depression and even heart conditions and irregular heartbeat.
List of Known Health Benefits of Magnesium
1.) Regulates heart beat
2.) Calms nerves, acts as a sort of sedative to the central nervous system
3.) Detoxifies when used in the bath (Epsom salts)
4.) Helps convert the food you eat into energy
5.) Aids in brain function and may also play a role in alleviation of depression
6.) Plays a role in blood sugar regulation
7.) Plays a role in keeping blood pressure at healthy levels
The Potential Weight Maintenance and Magnesium Link
Magnesium is pivotal in helping to convert the food you consume in to energy. This is an interesting dichotomy since one of magnesium’s most coveted physical effects is to increase relaxation and calm the nerves.
Magnesium is thought to be a powerful mood regulator as well. Some studies even point to magnesium supplementation as a natural alternative to antidepressants to help lift mood.
This isn’t all that surprising since depression and mood irregularity can be linked to over eating. When people feel better, more energized, and positive, they tend to have less desire to over eat and compensate for feelings of depression and anxiety with food. Related: Impactful Mood and Health Benefits of Sun Exposure
So if you combine this potent little mineral’s impact on reducing anxiety, regulating mood, calming the nervous system, all while simultaneously facilitating the conversion of calories to energy, it makes sense that magnesium could be a powerful ally when trying to lose weight.
Reduce Pain and Inflammation, Repair with Restorative Sleep
Magnesium is also really helpful for regulating and reducing pain. It happens to be helpful as an anti- inflammatory agent, and since it helps to regulate the nervous system and calm muscle activity, it really can pack a powerful pain relief punch.
Add to this the fact that it can help you get a deep more restful sleep. Deep, regenerative sleep has a profound impact on pain relief because the daily hours of sleep serve as a time for the body to heal itself. Related: Why Scent Profoundly Impacts Emotion and Cognition
Sleeping provides our body with the necessary time to recuperate from injuries, illness and overall wear and tear of everyday life. When we experience regular restorative sleep, it really helps us to get over injuries and manage painful conditions much more efficiently.
Heart Rhythm and Overall Heart Health
Because magnesium is a sort of electrolyte, it has an important role in helping to regulate the heart’s rhythm. Irregular heart beat is actually a fairly common problem. Heart palpitations can be really scary. Some people have reported really positive results when it comes to heartbeat regulation from taking a magnesium supplement.
The most absorbable format of magnesium if you want to take it orally is supposed to be magnesium glycinate. This form of the mineral is (of course) more expensive than other forms, however it is supposed to be more highly absorbable and also better-tolerated.
If you’re into bath-taking, then you really will want to look into adding Epsom salts to your bath. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. Magnesium sulfate is best absorbed by the body when it is topically applied.
You can achieve this in one of two ways. You can soak in Epsom salts for about 30 minutes, or you can buy yourself magnesium oil. It’s probably best to keep both around, because who always has 30 minutes to soak? I will say soaking in Epsom salts is one of the most relaxing experiences.
If you want to sleep like a baby, an epsom salt bath is one of the surefire ways to achieve this. It’s also excellent for if you have an injury like a swollen ankle or bruising. It helps draw out toxins as well, and overall is one of the best ways to get a nice hefty dose of magnesium delivered right to a large part of your body.
If you do not get a lot of magnesium in your diet, then you really should be supplementing with it one way or another. It is vital to so many bodily functions, and can really help with important things like mood and pain relief. It’s also relatively inexpensive as a supplement, so it wouldn’t put too big a dent in the budget.