Ancient Magnesium: Can you afford to do without it?

6 August 2019  |  Editor

Magnesium is one of the six essential macro-minerals that comprise 99% of the body’s mineral content. Magnesium helps build bones, enables nerves to function, and is essential to the production of energy from food.

Magnesium has been shown to have therapeutic value in treating conditions such as headaches, chronic pain, asthma, and sleep disorders. And in recent large scale study, magnesium has been linked to a reduced incidence of conditions such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

Hundreds of studies have been published supporting magnesium’s benefits toward health. This article overviews some of the most important research.


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How Magnesium Helps Prevent Health Problems

Your body could not produce energy without magnesium, muscles could not contract and relax, and bodily functions could not be controlled as well without it.

The National Institutes of Health says, "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."

Here are some of the conditions that magnesium has impacts on:

Osteoporosis and Magnesium

In a bone health published by the American College of Nutrition, it was found that a lack of magnesium:

  • Decreased bone strength
  • Decreased bone volume
  • Resulted in poor bone development
  • Resulted in too much calcium being released from bone into the blood without accompanying bone formation. 

Analysis of bone mineral density and diet suggested that long term diets high in magnesium protect against loss of Bone Mineral Density.

Depression and Magnesium

Depression is not normally something people think about when considering the benefits of magnesium yet one study showed that 100% of chronically depressed people in the study ALSO showed them to be deficient in magnesium. This was later confirmed by a further more extensive study.

Diabetes and Magnesium

In 2004, Harvard School of Public Health found 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. 

Hypertension and Magnesium

High magnesium intake reduces the risk of hypertension. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health of 30,000 male health professionals without high blood pressure showed lower risk of hypertension when diets had increased magnesium and dietary fibre.

Heart Health and Magnesium

The Atherosclerosis Risk in studies found that higher levels of magnesium meant lower risk of heart disease.

Migraine Headaches and Magnesium

The use of magnesium in both acute and preventive headache treatment has been researched as a potentially simple, inexpensive, safe and well-tolerated option. Studies have shown that preventive treatment with oral magnesium and acute headache treatment with intravenous magnesium may be effective, particularly in certain subsets of patients.

Preeclampsia and Magnesium

Intravenous doses of magnesium are a standard treatment for preeclampsia, a form of pregnancy-induced hypertension. In 2002, a trial of 10,000 women confirmed the use of magnesium to be effective in preventing the progression of preeclampsia to eclampsia and its accompanying eclamptic seizures. Among those treated with magnesium, risk of eclampsia was reduced by no less than 58%. 

Reasons for the reduction of dangerously high blood pressure by magnesium include both:

  • Magnesium’s action as a calcium antagonist
  • A magnesium-facilitated release of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that reduce inflammation and mediate blood pressure

Asthma and Magnesium

Magnesium has shown promise in the short-term treatment of asthma attacks. It is thought that magnesium relaxes and smooth muscles in the bronchia as it does on smooth vascular muscle (blood vessels), by blocking excess calcium.

In a review of seven trials examining intravenous emergency room magnesium for patients with acute asthma, it was found that magnesium is safe and beneficial for those patients presenting with severe acute asthma.