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Magnesium is an important mineral that your body needs in order to function. It helps you do a variety of important things including produce energy, regulate blood sugar, and cause necessary chemical reactions in the body.
Magnesium helps your body conduct nerve impulses, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm by playing a role in the transport of calcium and potassium.
So how does this relate to weight loss? Some studies suggest the mineral might be helpful for people who need to lose weight. But that doesn’t mean the scale will budge after you start taking the supplement.
Much like other types of magnesium, magnesium oxide has many health benefits. When used regularly, magnesium oxide can help boost low magnesium levels, relieve constipation, manage depression, treat migraines, and more.
Although a diet including magnesium-rich foods usually provides adequate amounts of the mineral for your health, certain situations may cause your body to lose magnesium faster than you are able to replace it. For people with certain medical conditions that don’t allow for the proper absorption of this essential nutrient, magnesium supplements like magnesium oxide may help avoid a deficiency.
Some vitamins and minerals may help keep the metabolism working effectively. While supplements can help, whole foods are the best source of vitamins and minerals.
Without magnesium, the chemical reactions that produce energy in the body cannot happen. This dependency means that magnesium is essential for metabolism and energy production.
There’s no single pill that can improve weight loss but magnesium supplements can certainly help. Correcting a magnesium deficiency can help your body function more efficiently and help normalize metabolism.
Here’s a closer look at how magnesium affects your ability to maintain a healthy weight:
- Magnesium citrate helps you lose water and stool weight – Magnesium citrate is used as a stool softener to keep you regular. More importantly, it can help maintain healthy magnesium levels if you’re deficient, which improves hormone balance and increases energy production.
- Lowers insulin resistance – Magnesium has been shown in numerous studies to reduce insulin resistance. When your body becomes resistant to insulin it can’t keep up with the increased glucose in the bloodstream. This leads to weight gain, fatigue and other health complications.
- Boosts cellular energy – Magnesium is critical in the process that makes cellular energy within your mitochondria. Your cells have an energy currency called ATP that gives them the life they need to complete daily tasks. When you don’t have enough magnesium it lowers your ATP production, which makes you tired and lowers your metabolism.
In order to understand how magnesium could influence body weight, one has to understand insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that helps transport glucose (aka sugar) from the bloodstream into organ cells. When someone is resistant to insulin their body needs to produce more of it in order for this to happen. Of course, doing this causes a person to consume more foods to acquire that glucose and, in turn, pack on extra pounds.
Reduced magnesium in the body has been linked to insulin resistance that could lead to weight gain. In a study that compared 24 nondiabetic, obese children with 24 nondiabetic, lean children, researchers found the children at higher weights consistently had lower magnesium in their body. The study also presented data that showed insulin resistance was present in children with lower magnesium.
Although this does not necessarily mean low magnesium is a direct cause of weight gain, the strong correlation between increased magnesium levels and weight loss is also worth considering.
While magnesium is an essential nutrient, supplementing your diet with the mineral alone may not be the most effective way to help you lose weight. To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns. Magnesium is found in a number of foods that make a healthy addition to any weight-loss diet, including spinach, beans, whole-wheat bread and salmon. Eating a diet that is calorie-controlled and filled with nutrient-rich foods like these can help improve health and promote weight loss.
For people who are unable to maintain normal magnesium levels from food sources, taking a magnesium oxide supplement can help prevent or correct a deficiency. Magnesium deficiency can lead to major health issues, including insomnia, anxiety, muscle pain, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, migraines and leg cramps.
Research published in the journal Open Heart states that “certain individuals will need to supplement with magnesium in order to prevent suboptimal magnesium deficiency, especially if trying to obtain an optimal magnesium status to prevent chronic disease.”
Magnesium is required for the normal electrical activity of the heart, and has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, by widening blood vessels, improving fat metabolism, reducing inflammation, and inhibiting blood platelet aggregation.
Low magnesium and experimental restriction of dietary magnesium increase cardiac arrhythmias. Abnormally low circulating magnesium is associated with an increased incidence of cardiac arrest [20, 21].
Magnesium is used as a first-line therapy for torsades de pointes, a type of arrhythmia of the heart .
An increase in circulating magnesium was associated with a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, while dietary magnesium was associated with a 22% lower risk of ischemic heart disease.
Increased consumption of magnesium-rich foods, such as whole grains, nuts, and vegetables has been estimated to lower the risk of cardiovascular mortality by 28% .
Self-reported magnesium intake was inversely associated with the hardening of the arteries (calcification), which may play a contributing role in magnesium’s protective associations in stroke and fatal heart disease .
Some research has indicated that taking a magnesium supplement could be an effective way to prevent headaches. Other studies have also suggested that the magnesium levels in a person’s brain may be low during a migraine.
The American Migraine Foundation suggest taking a 400–500 milligram (mg) supplement of magnesium oxide daily to prevent migraines.
Some researchers think that magnesium’s effectiveness as a preventive against migraines increases when a person takes higher doses — over 600 (mg) — for at least 3 to 4 months.
Though magnesium supplements are generally considered safe, you should check with your healthcare provider before taking them — especially if you have a medical condition.
The mineral supplement may be unsafe for people who take certain diuretics, heart medications, or antibiotics (1).
Most people who take magnesium supplements don’t experience side effects, but it can cause gut related issues, such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting — especially in large doses (20Trusted Source).
It’s important to note that people with kidney issues are at a higher risk of experiencing adverse effects related to these supplements (23Trusted Source).
Additionally, evidence to suggest that magnesium supplements benefit people who are not deficient is insufficient.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium for young adults is 400 mg per day for men and 310 mg per day for women. In adults over 30 years old, the RDA is 420 mg per day for men and 320 per day for women.
Magnesium oxide supplements should be taken by mouth with meals to reduce stomach upset. Supplements should not be crushed or chewed because doing so will increase the risk of side effects. If taken in liquid form, shake and measure the proper dose according to instructions on the supplement’s label.