The Power of Magnesium

From Paleo Village:

It is a known fact that magnesium is one of the most important minerals that is needed for many biochemical reactions in the human body. It has been known that magnesium is needed for more than 300 of these reactions in our body, making magnesium essential to good health.1


Magnesium is abundantly found in the tissues of our body. It is found in bone, blood; and its primary role is mainly protective. Though it has been known that magnesium deficiency is rare in US, it has been suggested by surveys that Americans still do not get the recommended amounts of magnesium in their diet.1 In connection with this, there has been a rising concern of magnesium supplementation.

The paleo diet recommends a food list that encompasses your needed nutrients daily. Supplementation becomes necessary for certain situations. In this topic, we see how important magnesium is; and later, know the facts on correct supplementation. When do you need to supplement with this mineral? Do you really need to supplement in the first place?

Magnesium Health Benefits:

            Magnesium is responsible for normal muscle and nerve function, for keeping a healthy heart (it keeps normal heart rhythm), for providing healthy immune system, and for keeping the bones strong.1 Magnesium has been also known to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and protein synthesis.There are a lot of other health effects you may find in the internet for magnesium and these only signify that it is a really beneficial mineral.    

            Medicinal effects of magnesium are currently being investigated. One of the medicinal effects of this mineral worth mentioning is on bronchial asthma. In a study, “a single dose of intravenous magnesium sulfate given to patients with acute asthma exacerbation has been shown to be safe, but its efficiency is still under discussion.2 This study has premised on the concept that magnesium deficiency is a common electrolyte disorder in acute severe asthma.2 This approach is suggested and permitted for patients not responding to treatment, but the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA-2005) has not recommended magnesium for routine treatment.2

Another condition that magnesium can address is constipation. The connection of magnesium and the relief of constipation lie on two important facts. One is that magnesium can relax the intestinal muscles by providing smoother rhythm to eliminate constipation; and that magnesium attracts water making the stool soften inside the colon.3

                Magnesium is also known to have effects on neuropsychiatric disorders and stress.4 And being referred to as the “antistress” mineral, magnesium may be indicated for migraines.5

                Collagen is also influenced by magnesium. In a study, the use of the so –called magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or MAP (an encapsulated vitamin C derivative) can boost both new cell growth and the ability of MAP to stimulate collagen synthesis in fibroblasts.6

                Other health effects of magnesium include bladder function control as well as helping other minerals to get absorbed by the body and activating other enzymes for other processes.7

To Supplement or Not to Supplement?

            This is a somewhat controversial question if we look at the facts discussed above. We have learned that magnesium has been rarely reported to be significant in terms of deficiency in the US, but still a lot of Americans do not get the recommended daily requirement. Magnesium supplementation is recommended for of course deficiency states (for this mineral), but the next question is: will you benefit from supplementation though you know you get magnesium from your daily diet?

If you are following paleo diet, for sure you will not get deficient of magnesium. Magnesium is found in many vegetable or plant sources and these food stuffs are advocated in paleo. So why worry on not getting the right amount?

You should take note that the problem in magnesium deficiency lies on the very reason of its poor absorption. There are reasons behind this poor absorption. One can be due to consumption of certain food substances that react and prevent  the absorption of magnesium; and the other is gut problem (in the intestinal lining).

People tend to make sure that they absorb important minerals such as magnesium. This is secured by taking in supplements available in the markets and drugstores. But if you take too much supplementation on top of the good diet you have, hypermagnesemia (or magnesium overdose) may also occur. But as long as you take the recommended amount of supplements, this may happen very rarely.

If you try to arrive to a point to decide on this dilemma of taking or not taking magnesium supplements, review your aim, your resources, and your diet. If you think you have been suffering from certain conditions correctible by magnesium, then it is okay to take supplements. If you think you do not get enough magnesium in your diet, then it is okay to take supplements. Finally, if you think you can afford to add supplementations in your daily needs, then go ahead…. cover for the expenses of magnesium supplementation. Just make sure you take the recommended dosage and never take in “too much.”

            However, if you think you are healthy enough, following the paleo diet by heart without missing magnesium in your meal, then by all means – supplementation can be secondarily considered in your list.


1Office of Dietary Supplements: National Institutes of Health ‘Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Magnesium’ . Accessed: 08-18-11.

2Kowal, A et al (2006) ‘The Use of Magnesium in Bronchial Asthma: A New Approach to an Old Problem’ (Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis; Volume 55, Number 1, 35-39) . Accessed: 08-18-11.

3Allison L ‘Magnesium and Constipation’ . Accessed: 08-18-11.

4Galland L (2007) ‘Magnesium, Stress and Neuropsychiatric Disorders’ . Accessed: 08-18-11.

5Feder S S ‘Migraine Treatments: Must Include Magnesium’ . Accessed: 08-18-11.

6Tiedtke J et al (2007) ‘Stimulation of Collagen Production in Human Fibroblasts’ (Cosmetic Science Technology) . Accessed: 08-18-11.

7Organic Facts ‘Health Benefits of Magnesium’ . Accessed: 08-18-11.


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