Not Getting Enough Magnesium? Here Are 7 Health Benefits You're Missing Out On

Written by Claire Hannum
Medically Reviewed by Felicia Newell, M.S., RDN

Updated on July 19, 2023

Over 50% of Americans are not meeting the dietary recommendations for magnesium and thus are potentially deficient —and it may be responsible for poor sleep quality, chronic stress, and even osteoporosis (1).

So, how can you make sure you’re getting enough of this important mineral?

I sat down with Dr. Chad Walding, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Co-founder of NativePath to get some answers. Read on to find out…

What Is Magnesium?

Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral in your body. It’s involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions, influencing things like mood regulation, bone health, hormone levels, and more (2).

“Its role is especially important during menopause, helping to ease certain health issues and symptoms associated with this mid-life change,” says Dr. Chad Walding.

He continues, “Food sources of magnesium include tasty options like nuts, legumes, green leafy veggies, and seeds. Meat and fish also contain magnesium, but in smaller quantities.”

Although magnesium is a powerhouse for the body, at least 50% but potentially higher (up to 68%)% of Americans don’t get enough of it (3). Let’s find out why…

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How Magnesium Works In The Body

Every cell in your body relies on magnesium. In fact, it operates as a “helper molecule” in the biochemical reactions carried out by enzymes (4).

Dr. Walding explains, "Magnesium also helps produce the energy needed to build proteins, while simultaneously facilitating metabolic processes—and this is just the tip of the iceberg…"

When it comes down to it, magnesium is part of more than 600 functions that are vital to the body, including (4)…

  • Converting food into energy
  • Repairing DNA and RNA
  • Assisting in muscle movements
  • Regulating your nervous system
  • Using protein to create amino acids
  • Binding hormones to specific proteins

Unfortunately, there are still millions of people across the globe that don’t experience the above benefits due to having a magnesium deficiency. This deficiency can be caused by kidney failure, alcohol consumption, malabsorption issues caused by indigestion, a poor diet, diabetes, and long-term use of diuretics (5).

7 Health Benefits of Magnesium

With all that in mind, it’s no surprise that adding more magnesium to your diet has plenty of health perks. In this next section, you’ll learn about seven of them…

1. Improves Your Sleep

Did you know that with each passing year, it becomes harder and harder to get the deep, quality sleep that you had when you were young?

This is because as the body ages, its internal clock ages, too. This results in a disrupted circadian rhythm, reduced melatonin production, and—you guessed it—worse sleep. Not only that, once menopause hits, symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, and mental health start to sabotage sleep, too (6).

"With that being said," Dr. Walding states, "it becomes all the more important to incorporate a supplement that includes both magnesium AND melatonin into your nighttime ritual…"

The reason magnesium is so optimal for sleep is because it helps (4, 7)…

  • Relax your muscles
  • Regulate your body’s circadian rhythms
  • Regulate several sleep-related neurotransmitters like GABA

Studies have found that adults supplementing with magnesium may experience an increase in sleep quality and melatonin production, as well as a reduced likelihood of falling asleep or feeling excessive tiredness during the daytime. One review even found that magnesium helped older adults with insomnia decrease the amount of time it took them to fall asleep by an average of 17 minutes!

So, if you’re one who has a hard time falling asleep, you regularly wake up in the middle of the night, or you’re wanting to swap your sleeping pills for a more natural solution, a high-quality magnesium supplement may be what’s between you and the best night’s sleep of your life.

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Boost Your Mood, Naturally.

With Native Balance, you’re getting a 3-in-1 supplement intentionally crafted to elevate mood, relaxation, muscle recovery, and more.

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2. Helps Slow Bone Loss In Menopause

Around 60% of the magnesium in your body is stored in your bones, making magnesium a bone health staple (8).

Because of this, it plays a key role in preventing osteopenia and osteoporosis in older adults (8). One 2014 study found that women with osteoporosis who consumed high amounts of magnesium had a 3% greater hip bone mineral density than the women who consumed lower levels of magnesium (9).

A deficiency in magnesium has also been found to negatively impact vitamin D and PTH (a parathyroid hormone), leading to hypocalcemia—a condition in which you have too little calcium in your blood (8). With that being said, it may be wise to start taking a vitamin D supplement as well.

3. Brightens Your Mood

Magnesium is an important part of your mood and overall brain function (2). It even affects your stress response, which can have an impact on anxiety, depression, and your day-to-day mood.

Research has linked magnesium to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. One study of postmenopausal women found that those with low magnesium blood levels were more likely to report experiencing low or moderate depression (10).

4. May Ramp Up Your Workout

A number of animal studies have looked into the effects of magnesium supplementation in relation to exercise…

What was found was that magnesium may help to delay the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles, helping to delay muscle fatigue and assist in muscle tissue recovery (11).

Like many minerals, your body uses more magnesium while exercising than while resting. This is because while you’re sweating through your cardio workout, magnesium is working overtime to move blood sugar into your muscles (11).

"With all that being said," says Dr. Walding, "increasing your magnesium intake may help make your day-to-day movements less painful, muscle damage less likely, and your quality of life much more enjoyable—whether you’re gardening, partaking in an aerobics class, or running around the yard with your kids or grandkids" (12).

So, not only can magnesium make fitness less exhausting, it can actually help you perform better, too.

Your tennis opponent is about to get a run for her money…

5. May Help Ward Off Migraines

There are two types of people in this world: those who know the excruciating misery of migraines, and those who are fortunate enough not to. While head pain would be unpleasant enough on its own, migraine attacks can also include symptoms like nausea, light sensitivity, and vomiting.

Fortunately, magnesium may help ease those migraine moments. Some scientists believe that those who suffer from migraines are more deficient in magnesium than the general population (13).

Current research suggests that magnesium supplements may help prevent and even treat migraines (13). So much so that in one 2015 study, magnesium helped ease acute migraine attacks more quickly and effectively than other migraine medications (14).

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Boost Your Mood, Naturally.

With Native Balance, you’re getting a 3-in-1 supplement intentionally crafted to elevate mood, relaxation, muscle recovery, and more.

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6. May Help Ease Inflammation

In one 2016 study, it was found that low magnesium levels were linked to increased inflammation and oxidative stress (an issue relating to inflammation) (15).

Research has indicated that magnesium supplements taken by those with chronic inflammation can decrease two common inflammation markers in the body: CRP (C-reactive protein) and interleukin-6 (16).

7. May Boost Heart Health

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in postmenopausal women (17)?

This is because, after menopause, women are at a higher risk of heart concerns like high blood pressure, triglycerides, and increased levels of LDL cholesterol (sometimes called “bad” cholesterol).

This, combined with low levels of magnesium, can take a real toll on one’s health…

So how can magnesium improve heart health?

For one, magnesium helps to control your heart’s contractions and nerve impulses—two key components of a healthy heartbeat (18). Studies have also found magnesium supplements to lower blood pressure and one’s risk of heart disease and stroke (19).

While more research is still needed, one review even indicated that magnesium supplements may improve levels of triglyceride, systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol (20).

Foods high in magnesium also happen to be rich sources of antioxidants, healthy fats, and fiber—all key ingredients in keeping your heart happy and healthy.

How to Know If You Have A Magnesium Deficiency

The official name for magnesium deficiency is hypomagnesemia, but even just having levels of magnesium that are considered ‘low-normal’ (often referred to as subclinical hypomagnesemia) can have negative effects (11). In one study of postmenopausal women, 81.9% of the participants were found to have low blood levels of magnesium, so it’s definitely a concern worth paying attention to (10).

With that being said, signs of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Low potassium and/or calcium levels
  • Muscle cramps or twitching
  • Muscle weakness or fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma 
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased anxiety 
  • Elevated feelings of depression 
  • Increased apathy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Sleepiness 
  • Osteopenia or osteoporosis 
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Migraine headaches

To determine your magnesium levels, all that’s needed is a simple blood test from your doctor.

A bottle of NativePath Native Balance with a white tile background

Boost Your Mood, Naturally.

With Native Balance, you’re getting a 3-in-1 supplement intentionally crafted to elevate mood, relaxation, muscle recovery, and more.

Shop Magnesium

The Best Time of Day to Take Magnesium

Dr. Walding's suggestion?

Take your magnesium in the evening.

Just two capsules of Native Balance every evening equip you with 300 mg of Magnesium Glycinate and Magnesium Oxide, and 100 mg of Ashwagandha. This will make it easier for you to soothe inflammation, destress, and wake up feeling more energized—so that you can enjoy all the daytime benefits of magnesium, too.

Say hello to better rest and brighter morning moods!

However, as we know, too much of a good thing can also be negative (even water!), and too much magnesium can lead to magnesium toxicity (21). The upper limit for magnesium is 350 mg daily (from supplements only) which may lead to gastrointestinal discomfort (larger doses of 600 mg or more may be even more harmful). So be sure that you’re not taking multiple supplements at once that puts you consistently over this limit.

The Bottom Line

Getting adequate amounts of magnesium each day comes with an impressive list of benefits…

From improvements in sleep, bone loss, mood, and more, magnesium is an essential mineral that at least 50% but up to 68% or more% of Americans don’t get enough of (3).

So if you’re feeling groggy, anxious, or just plain off, a nightly dose of magnesium may just make all the difference. Upgrade your bedtime ritual with Native Balance—the magnesium supplement you’ve been tirelessly dreaming about. 

Claire Hannum
Article by

Claire Hannum

Claire Hannum is a New York City-based writer, editor, wellness seeker, and reiki practitioner. Her writing has appeared in Self, Health, Prevention, and over a dozen other publications.

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    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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