Magnesium deficiency is said to be one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. It is involved in regulation of impulse conduction in the nervous system as well as in the musculoskeletal system, where it functions as an inhibitory ion and muscle relaxant. Magnesium also serves as a cofactor for many biochemical reactions related to energy production in the body as well; for example, glycolysis and the Krebs cycle, both of which are important in the generation of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the chemical form of energy inside each cell. In the digestive system, magnesium also has a gentle laxative effect.
Supplementation with magnesium has been found to benefit conditions affected by muscle spasm, such as migraine, which is caused by spasm of the smooth muscle of blood vessels travelling to the head. Menstrual cramps, which are caused in part by contraction of the uterine muscle, are also improved with magnesium supplementation. Other conditions such as restless leg syndrome or calf cramping like charley horse may also benefit. Because magnesium is also an inhibitory factor in the nervous system, supplementation with magnesium may also help promote relaxation and sleep.
- Chiu, H.Y., et al. “Effects of Intravenous and Oral Magnesium on Reducing Migraine: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Pain Physician Vol. 19, No. 1 (2016): E97–112.
- Parazzini, F., Di Martino, M., Pellegrino, P. “Magnesium in the gynecological practice: a literature review.” Magnesium Research Vol. 30, No. 1 (2017): 1–7.
- Hornyak, M., et al. “Magnesium therapy for periodic leg movements-related insomnia and restless legs syndrome: an open pilot study.” Sleep Vol. 21, No. 5 (1998): 501–505.
- Rondanelli, M., et al. “The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of the American Geriatric Society Vol. 59, No. 1 (2011): 82–90.
Philip Rouchotas, MSc, ND
Well-known in the community as a naturopathic doctor, associate professor,
and editor-in-chief of Integrated Healthcare Practitioners.
Heidi Fritz, MA, ND
A practicing naturopathic doctor since 2007, her areas of focus include
women's health, children's health, chronic pain, and more.