What is magnesium and how do our bodies use it?
Magnesium is a major mineral that our bodies need in order to maintain health and functionality. We need major minerals in higher quantities than trance minerals, such as iron and selenium, as it contributes to so many processes in the body. Magnesium plays a vital role in the development of DNA, muscle and bone, as well as nerve function and blood sugar regulation.
Magnesium is a part of over 300 enzymatic processes and is one of the few minerals proven to support brain plasticity, a sign of a youthful mind that is primed for learning and the formation of memories.
It is advised that men should consume between 400mg and 420mg per day and woman slightly less, between 300mg and 320mg.
Why magnesium is linked to weight loss and weight gain.
We acquire magnesium naturally through the foods that we eat. These foods are usually considered healthy from a general standpoint too.
Magnesium rich foods include:
- Whole grains - including brown rice, spelt and quinoa. A 1 ounce serving of buckwheat contains 65mg of magnesium and is also full of complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre B vitamins.
- Fish - Both white-fleshed and oily fish are plentiful in magnesium, with half a fillet of salmon containing up to 53mg. The same size portion also offers 39g of protein and ample amounts of omega 3.
- Beans - Butter beans, pinto beans and kidney beans are fantastic example of beans high in magnesium. Beans are easily added to the diet by including them in your next homemade chilli, or by dressing them and enjoying as a mixed bean salad.
- Yoghurt - Organic, unrefined natural yoghurt is a healthy source of dairy, that will not only increase your daily magnesium intake but will also aid in digestion thanks to the healthy bacteria found in live-cultured yoghurts.
- Leafy greens - Kale, spinach, mustard greens and other leafy green vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals. 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 157mg of magnesium, which is 39% of your recommended daily amount.
- Tofu - Made from not GMO soya beans tofu is a great alternative to meat products for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Tofu contains 53mg of magnesium in a 3.5-ounce serving.
- Dark chocolate - Surprising to most, dark chocolate is actually incredibly beneficial to our health. Filled with powerful antioxidants it is known to reduce bad cholesterol, excellent for cardiovascular health. In a small 1 ounce serving, 70% dark chocolate contains up to 64mg of magnesium. Use dark chocolate as an occasional treat to benefit most from is health benefits. Dark chocolate can also be accompanied by lots of refined sugar, so should be eaten in moderation.
Magnesium is linked to weight loss not only through it being found in healthy foods, but also because of is ability to help the body function more efficiently with more energy. Magnesium is also thought to normalise and potentially increase the bodies metabolic rate.
Magnesium's relationship with insulin.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which regulates the levels of glucose in our blood. Insulin enables the body to use the sugar derived from carbohydrates as energy or to store it for later use. Regulating blood sugar is important because if levels get too high you will become hyperglycemic and if blood sugar gets to low you will become hypoglycemic, both are equally dangerous and can lead to death.
Studies have shown that magnesium helps with the circulation of insulin in the blood, making it more efficient at regulating glucose levels. Not being able to carry out this task effectively is referred to as insulin resistance. Being insulin resistant leads to higher blood sugar and often results in weight gain.
Magnesium and fluid retention.
Whilst retaining less fluid in the body isn't directly related to fat loss, reducing fluid retention does result in a decrease in body weight. Multiple studies have shown positive magnesium weight loss results. One study where participants supplemented with 250mg of magnesium a day reported feeling less bloated, reduced abdominal swelling and maintained a lower body weight throughout the study. However, it should be noted that when lowering magnesium levels reduced water retention is not maintained.
How much magnesium a day to help with weight loss?
How much magnesium per day for weight loss? The daily recommended amount of magnesium per day depends on gender and age. It is suggested that adult males consume around 400mg a day and woman should aim slightly lower at around 300mg a day.
Increasing this amount will not necessarily lead to a faster rate of weight or fat loss, as such magnesium should not be seen as a fat-melting mineral and capsules should not be considered "weight loss" pills.
Consuming enough magnesium daily should instead be seen as a way to optimise your bodies abilities to regulate blood sugar levels, and promote a healthy metabolic rate. Keeping both of these bodily functions working at their best will promote fat and weight loss.
Magnesium weight loss results.
The results of magnesium supplement for weight loss is pretty conclusive in terms of its ability to reduce water retention, but this is reduction in weight is short-lived and water weight quickly returns when magnesium consumption is returned to normal levels. For magnesium to be used most effectively, it must be used in conjunction with proper diet and exercise for fat and weight loss.
Magnesium may help with improving the bodies metabolic rate, which is essential for weight loss. The body can only reduce body fat and in turn, lose weight by metabolising more calories than what is consumed.
Can magnesium deficiency cause weight gain?
Due to magnesium's effect on insulin and blood sugar, having a magnesium deficiency can lead to an increase in body weight. Consuming less than the recommended amount of magnesium over a period of time can lead to deficiency. One of the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency is unexpected weight gain, along with:
- Muscle twitches and cramping. Serious deficiency can even lead to seizures.
- Mental health disorders including depression, generalised panic and anxiety.
- Osteoporosis, a disorder that causes weak, brittle bones that are susceptible to fracture.
- Physical or mental exhaustion, otherwise known as fatigue.
- High blood pressure. Multiple studies have shown a correlation between magnesium deficiency and high blood pressure.
- Asthma. It is believed that low levels of magnesium can lead to a build-up of calcium in the lungs muscle lining, leading to more severe asthma symptoms.
- Arrhythmia, the term given to those suffering from an irregular heartbeat, is one of the most serious symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Treating arrhythmia patients with magnesium injections has shown to significantly increase heart function.
Maintaining a healthy diet filled with magnesium-rich foods is the best way of avoiding deficiency, that may lead to weight gain. If you believe that you are at risk of developing a magnesium deficiency, it would be best to consult a qualified physician before symptoms present themselves.
Magnesium is essential to overall health and well-being. Luckily, magnesium is a mineral that occurs naturally in many healthy foods, so deficiency is rare. Consuming the recommended daily amount may help to aid the body in weight loss through its ability to reduce the retention of water, its effect on insulin and the regulation of blood sugar, as well as benefiting from its ability to optimise metabolic rate.