Magnesium: A Jack-of-all-Trade Nutrient

If you work out hard, there’s a pretty good chance you suffer from magnesium deficiency. A recent study showed that only half of all Americans are meeting their daily magnesium requirements. That number jumps up to almost 80 percent for older Americans, who slowly lose the ability to absorb magnesium from their diet as they age. Athletes are also at risk since profuse sweating can deplete magnesium stores by up to 20 percent.

Magnesium is one of the most valuable utility players of all nutrients. Firstly, it’s a critical component in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. Here are just a few of the many benefits that magnesium provides. 

Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

In a massive meta-study performed last year, researchers concluded that maintaining healthy levels of magnesium can have a profound effect on your life. They concluded that high levels of magnesium intake are associated with a lower risk of major cardiovascular disease risk factors such as diabetes, insulin resistance, and hypertension, as well as incidence of stroke and heart attack. In fact, the scientists stated that elevated magnesium levels were associated with decreased risk of dying for any reason.

Unleashes Vitamin D

If there is another deficiency epidemic that rivals the dearth of magnesium in this country, it is undoubtedly Vitamin D. And there’s a reason for that. A study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that Vitamin D can't be utilized without the presence of magnesium. Fifty percent of Americans are walking around with vitamin D stored in their cells, but it remains inactive because they don’t have enough magnesium to unleash it. Vitamin D is crucial for healthy hormone levels, bone health, immune support, weight management, and more.

Supports Bone Health

Fending off osteoporosis (a condition in which bones lose density and strength) might sound like an “old person” condition, but bone health is vital for longevity and vitality. In fact, one of the main benefits of lifting weights is the increase in bone density that comes from it. Many factors go into promoting strong bones, including proper intake of calcium and vitamin D. But over the last few years, a mountain of research has come out that points to magnesium as a crucial ingredient in a recipe for strong bones.

Improves Testosterone levels

We saved the best for last when it comes to the body benefits of magnesium. A study published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research examined athletes and sedentary subjects who were given 10 mg of magnesium per kilogram of body weight. (This would put the user over the recommended daily allowance, but well below the threshold of magnesium toxicity.) After four weeks of supplementation, both sedentary and athletic subjects experienced increases in free and total testosterone. The increases were higher in the subjects who exercised regularly.

The recommended daily allowance for magnesium is 420 mg for men and 320 mg for women. Rich food sources of magnesium include almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, avocado, black beans, and soybeans. While it’s nearly impossible to eat too much magnesium from whole foods, ingesting too much supplemental magnesium can cause gastrointestinal distress. The best move is to eat magnesium-rich foods and then top off your levels with a multivitamin that provides some, but not all, of the recommended daily allowance.