What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral found in your foods and is stored and used throughout your body. More specifically, magnesium is most commonly found in foods like:
- leafy vegetables (spinach, arugula, kale)
- whole grains (wheat, oats, barley)
- nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts)
- legumes (black beans, pinto beans, edamame)
- seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds)
- dairy (milk and yogurt)
- baked potato with skin
- fruits (bananas and apples)
What Does Magnesium Do For You?
What doesn’t magnesium do for you! Magnesium is involved in over 600 enzymatic processes in your body. Now that’s a lot! Magnesium is involved in energy production, protein synthesis, blood pressure regulation, blood glucose regulation, bone strength, nerve function, and muscle function. Magnesium is important for your body to function at its best
Does Magnesium Help With Weight Loss?
The short answer is yes! However, simply eating magnesium does not mean you will shed some weight. As mentioned before, magnesium is involved in your muscle and nerve functions, protein synthesis, and blood glucose regulation. These functions help you move properly and supply you with energy throughout the day. If you are always feeling tired, if your muscles aren’t functioning properly, or don’t have the energy to move, you will inevitably gain weight. But with the proper amounts of magnesium, you will be able to support all of these essential processes, which will help you feel good, move well, and recover from exercise even better, all of which will help you lose weight!
Let’s explore magnesium’s role in weight loss in more detail:
Muscle Function- As you exercise, the magnesium levels in your body are depleted, eventually leading to muscle fatigue. Once your muscles are fatigued, they don’t move as well, and you eventually need to stop exercising. Additionally, as we use our muscles, we use ATP, short for adenosine triphosphate, which is our energy supply. Magnesium also helps create ATP, or energy, for our muscles. With proper magnesium levels, you can keep your muscles functioning properly during exercise, which will lead to better workouts, less fatigue, and a greater number of calories burned. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.
Nerve Function- Magnesium helps keep your nervous system functioning. The central nervous system helps maintain proper hormone responses. Hormones such as ghrelin, leptin, insulin, parathyroid, estrogen, and calcitonin are all maintained with the help of magnesium. These hormones trigger your cues for hunger or fullness, blood glucose control, and even bone health. Although the exact mechanisms are still not clear, it is widely recognized that magnesium is involved in these processes. We can properly manage our weight with proper control of our hunger and blood glucose.
Protein Synthesis- The more muscle mass you have, the more energy you burn during the day. And the more energy you burn during the day, the more weight you can potentially lose. This means that putting on muscle mass can help you lose weight. But to properly construct protein, we need magnesium. Magnesium is crucial in creating RNA, which instructs your body to make protein. In other words, to provide your body with the necessary nutrients to grow muscles that help you lose weight, you need to get a sufficient amount of magnesium through your diet.
Blood Glucose Regulation- Insulin is a hormone that keeps your blood glucose levels under control. When you do not control your blood glucose properly, this can lead to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. Magnesium is involved in your body's ability to secrete this insulin hormone into your bloodstream. Getting the recommended amount of magnesium is thus essential for your body to properly take care of its blood glucose.
How much should I take?
The recommended amount of dietary allowance for magnesium in adults is 400 mg daily for men and 310 mg for women.
If you don’t have a great diet with a lot of variety or aren’t regularly eating foods rich in magnesium, it is worth checking your body’s magnesium levels. Magnesium deficiency is quite common and can be addressed easily with the proper guidance.
There is also the possibility of consuming too much magnesium. The upper limit or maximum amount of magnesium you can consume in one sitting is 350 mg. Getting more than 350 mg of magnesium from your diet in one sitting is difficult. If you consume more than 350 mg at once, you might feel some symptoms like nausea. Your kidneys will ultimately excrete excess magnesium from the food you eat through your urine. Because of the risks associated with overconsumption of magnesium, it is good to check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
If you want to lose weight, eat a healthy diet that is plentiful in various foods rich in magnesium. This will help ensure you provide your muscles, nerves, and the 600 other processes in your body with the fuel they need to function properly.