What Are The Health Benefits Of Magnesium? It Can Calm Anxiety, Help You Sleep, And A Zillion Other Things

Plenty of people vastly prefer natural supplements to help them cope with insomnia and anxiety. I remember how leery I was of the medications my doctor recommended when I had trouble sleeping, although they totally worked for me. I'm all for traditional medicine, but I'm also open to taking supplements to support different body functions, and there's one supplement in particular that seems to have lots of people abuzz. If you aren't familiar with the health benefits of magnesium, you're probably side-eyeing me right now. I get it: I'm usually skeptical of anything that's advertised as a magical natural supplement, but this mineral actually has some surprising advantages, and people can't stop talking about it. Psychology Today called magnesium "the original chill pill" because of its purported effects on anxiety.

Magnesium is found in mineral deposits and in the ocean, and its also essential for our bodies because it improves enzyme function. If you're looking for a way to add it to your diet, it's is found in foods like spinach, Swiss chard, salmon, tuna and nuts and seeds. A woman between 19 and 30 years old should have 310 milligrams of magnesium daily, but the average woman takes in about 260 milligrams, according to a report from Oregon State University. Basically, we need way more magnesium than we're actually consuming, and a daily magnesium supplement may be a way to fix that. Talk to your doctor before you add any new supplements to your regimen — they'll be able to give you all the advice you need.

1Magnesium May Help With Anxiety

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Magnesium's anti-anxiety benefits are widely advertised, but scientists have warned us to be cautious about it. According to one study, more trials need to be conducted before we can definitively say that magnesium relieves anxiety. But proponents of magnesium point out that the supplements have been shown to reduce anxiety because it can mitigate your brain's response to stress. If you're dealing with high levels of anxiety, it's best to talk to a medical professional instead of relying on any supplement or natural cure, but magnesium may be worth a shot.

2It Might Help You Fall Asleep

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Not being able to fall asleep is the worst, especially because you often spend the next day feeling groggy and unmotivated. Enter magnesium, which activates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps you feel calm. Additionally, not having enough magnesium in your body can make it harder to sleep. If you pop a magnesium supplement regularly, you may notice your sleep schedule change for the better.

3It Can Help With Digestion

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Digestive problems can be difficult to deal with, but magnesium may provide a solution. Some of the enzymes magnesium helps regulate include the ones that absorb nutrients from your food. If you don't have enough magnesium in your diet, you'll probably have trouble digesting foods properly.

4It Can Strengthen Your Bones

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Magnesium is vital for enzyme function, but it also is super important for bone health. Even though we usually think about calcium when we think about strong bones, magnesium can help strengthen your bones because it stimulates your thyroid's production of bone-preserving hormones.

5It May Lower Your Heart Disease Risk

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One 2013 study argued that low magnesium, not cholesterol, is the biggest predictor of heart disease. If you eat a diet that's mainly processed foods, you probably aren't getting enough magnesium, which increases your heart disease risk. (Unfortunately, fresh foods aren't always accessible to everyone, whether because of high prices or living in food deserts.) The link between heart disease and magnesium hasn't been 100 percent proven, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on.

6It Can Help People With Fibromyalgia

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Fibromyalgia is a debilitating disease that causes muscle pain, fatigue, and memory issues. There's no cure for the condition, but magnesium malate has been highlighted as a supplement that can potentially alleviate symptoms. Researchers aren't sure what causes fibromyalgia but suspect that it could be due to a magnesium imbalance, which is why the supplement may provide relief.

7It Can Help Prevent Migraines

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If you've ever had a migraine headache, you know it's serious business. You may feel nauseous and sensitive to light, and you might even be stuck in bed for several days. There are a range of medications and therapies for migraine prevention and treatment, but magnesium has been shown to help reduce migraines. Taking magnesium regularly can reduce migraines by more than 40 percent, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

It's a total pain to pop pills every day, but magnesium may be a game-changer. Talk to a medical professional about whether they think you should add magnesium to your medicine cabinet. You may end up surprised at how it can help.