Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body requires in order to function properly. As one of the five key electrolytes, magnesium plays an important role in the cell nuclei of all living organisms. Specifically, cells use magnesium to produce energy, synthesize enzymes, and to initiate hundreds of chemical reactions within a living body.
In the human body, magnesium plays an essential role in the contraction and function of muscles. The interplay of magnesium and phosphate helps transport calcium and potassium, thereby helping the heart muscle to maintain a stable rhythm. Magnesium also influences the regulation of blood sugar, the filtering mechanism of the kidneys, and the neurotransmitters that influence the nerves. As one of the five key electrolytes, magnesium can also help with the absorption of calcium and thereby helps strengthen your teeth and bones.
Even with this range of possible benefits, most people prefer to know more details before adding another pill or supplement to a daily regimen. A look at the best reasons to consider using magnesium for weight loss can help you make an informed decision for your fitness strategy.
Magnesium May Have a Positive Impact on Glucose Metabolism
Magnesium’s role in the regulation of blood sugar may help improve glucose parameters in people who are overweight or at-risk for developing diabetes. A 2016 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that magnesium helped stabilize glucose levels in participants with insulin resistance. Participants who took oral magnesium had more sensitivity to insulin hormones for weight loss, improved plasma glucose levels, and less bloating and water retention. The reduction in bloating was high enough that researchers suggested magnesium as a possible remedy for the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is important to note that participants also restricted calories and engaged in a regular exercise to facilitate weight loss.
Magnesium May Help Relieve Stress and Improve Quality of Sleep
Studies have shown that magnesium may help relieve stress and anxiety and lead to better quality of sleep. Researchers have linked stress and lack of sleep to the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that also causes the body to store excess fat. A 2017 study found that taking magnesium may reduce subjective anxiety symptoms like high cortisol levels. The study also suggested that additional studies may help further confirm the effectiveness of using magnesium for weight loss.
Magnesium May Boost the Cellular Energy Needed for Workouts
If your weight-loss regimen includes high-intensity workouts that require a lot of sweat and energy, you will need electrolytes to support and replenish your cells. Magnesium is one of the five major electrolytes your body needs (along with calcium, sodium, chloride, potassium, and phosphate). Specifically, magnesium is a required co-factor in the production of ATP, the coenzyme needed to transport energy within and among cells. Magnesium works with ATP as a cellular “battery” to convert energy from food and coordinate cell respiration. This process may help you expend energy in endurance workouts, thereby leading to fat loss.
Magnesium Plays an Essential Role in Muscle Contraction
If you are interested in losing extra pounds, many nutritionists and exercise physiologists recommend building lean muscle. This process typically requires cardiovascular exercise as well as working with weights. Magnesium is necessary to allow muscles to contract and relax during exercise. Within the body, magnesium works as a calcium blocker to help muscles relax.
Specifically, calcium binds with the fibrous proteins troponin C and myosin to produce a contraction. Magnesium balances this process by binding with enough proteins to cause a relaxation in return. If you do not have enough magnesium in your system, over-contraction without relaxation can result in spasms, twitching, pain, or cramps. Using magnesium for weight loss can aid in muscle recovery and reduce soreness after exercise.
Magnesium May Help Boost Athletic Performance
In addition to playing a primary role in muscle contraction, magnesium may help boost overall exercise performance. First, studies have demonstrated that the body needs up to 20 percent more magnesium during exercise than during the resting state. Specifically, magnesium helps reduce lactic acid buildup from muscles during exercise. Since an excess of lactic acid can cause pain and muscle fatigue, magnesium may help increase the effectiveness of workouts and lead to weight loss.
Along with transporting lactic acid, magnesium moves blood sugar into the blood for energy during exercise, and it increases the availability of oxygen to working muscles. A 2014 study in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that professional volleyball players who ingested a 250-milligram supplement of magnesium each day improved their jumping ranges and arm movements. Another study in Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy found that triathletes who took magnesium supplements for four weeks performed better in cycling, swimming, and long-distance running. In addition, these athletes tested lower for insulin resistance and for the stress hormone cortisol. If you are looking for a way to enhance the impact of your workout, using magnesium for weight loss may be an easy way to help make exercising worth the effort.
Magnesium Can Help the Body Maintain a Healthy Heartbeat
Weight loss regimens and regular physical activity also require that the body maintains the stable electrical activity of the heart. Since the heart is a muscle, magnesium plays a major role in its contraction and relaxation. Heartbeats and blood pressure depend in large part upon the body’s major electrolytes (magnesium, calcium, sodium, chloride, potassium, and phosphate). When calcium makes contact with heart muscle cells, the mineral binds with proteins and causes the heart muscle to contract.
Magnesium helps create balance by binding with proteins and causing the heart muscle to relax. The correct amount of magnesium also helps regulate the body’s sodium-potassium pump for muscular impulse control. Having enough magnesium in your system can help prevent atrial arrhythmias, palpitations, and spasms from occurring during rigorous exercise for weight loss. Proper contraction and relaxation of muscles can also lower the risk of atherosclerosis, a hardened buildup of plaque and fat that occurs on the inner walls of arteries.
On a related note, magnesium may also help maintain healthy blood pressure in those at-risk for hypertension. Magnesium helps relax blood vessels, reducing the over-stimulation that can cause serious health problems. A 2009 study in the Journal of Human Hypertension found that participants who took a 450-milligram magnesium supplement daily significantly lowered their systolic and diastolic pressure levels. Since there is an important relationship between body weight and the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, taking magnesium for weight loss is a good way to reap heart-healthy benefits with minimal effort.
Magnesium May Help Fight Inflammation Within the Body
Magnesium may also help reduce inflammation within the body. As one of the leading causes of weight gain, chronic inflammation disrupts the body’s normal hunger mechanism and inhibits metabolism-regulating hormones. Inflammation of the cells can also lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, and it can cause the body to stubbornly retain water weight. Unfortunately, a 2014 study found that individuals with low magnesium intake had the highest rates of the inflammatory marker CRP, the highest blood sugar level, and highest triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
Fortunately, the same study found that regular magnesium supplementation can reduce the level of inflammatory marker CRP as well as the risk for syndrome X and prediabetes. The proper amount of magnesium also induced the synthesis of fatty acids, indicating that it can also help maintain desired weight and body mass index (BMI). As magnesium is a natural electrolyte that balances out excess sodium, it can reduce the fluid retention associated with inflammation and extra water weight. Since magnesium is naturally anti-inflammatory and can improve lipid profiles, taking magnesium for weight loss may be a great way to lower the effects of chronic inflammation in cells.
Magnesium May Perform as a Natural Mood Booster
Dedication to a weight loss and exercise program often requires motivation and a proper mindset. Ongoing research suggests that magnesium may work to boost the mood and lower the risk of apathy and depression. Scientists have established that magnesium reduces anxiety and the release of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, a major study from the American Board of Family Medicine in 2015 found that people who lack magnesium can have a 22-percent greater chance of developing depression. Related research found that magnesium supplements can reduce symptoms of depression and boost the mood. For example, a study published in Medical Hypotheses found that adults who took 450-mg of magnesium daily boosted their moods as effectively as individuals on prescription antidepressants. Since the modern diet often lacks this mineral, taking magnesium for weight loss may give you the mood boost needed to sustain your fitness journey.
Veronese, N. et. al; Effect of magnesium supplementation on glucose metabolism in people with or at risk of diabetes; European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27530471
Boyle, N. et al; The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review; Nutrients; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452159
Jahnen-Dechentcor, W. et al, Magnesium Basics; Clinical Kidney Journal; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4455825
de Baaij, J. et al, Magnesium in man: implications for health and disease; Physiological Reviews; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25540137
Nielsen, F. et al; Update on the relationship between magnesium and exercise; Magnesium Research; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17172008
Iseri, L. et al; Magnesium: nature’s physiologic calcium blocker; American Heart Journal; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6375330
Guerrero-Romero, F. et al; The effect of lowering blood pressure by magnesium supplementation; Journal of Human Hypertension; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19020533
Nielsen, F. et al; Effects of magnesium depletion on inflammation in chronic disease; Current Opinion on Clinical Nutrition; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25023192
Tarleton, E. et al; Magnesium intake and depression in adults; American Board of Family Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25748766
Eby, G. et al; Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment; Medical Hyptheses; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16542786