Some people always keep sugar, flour, butter and eggs in the house so they always have the essentials needed to whip up something delicious. Some people always have coffee and cream in the house because coffee is life and cream just makes it even better. Some people never go without their green tea or matcha, while others never run out of chocolate or ice cream.
But just as coffee and tea and chocolate are good for the body and mind and good to have in the house, so is magnesium. Magnesium supplements are definitely one of the things to always keep in the house. They’re good for the body and mind, and can come in handy if there’s an emergency such as blood pressure suddenly running very high or if you get a panic attack.
Why keep magnesium in the house?
1) To lower high blood pressure numbers
Of all the reasons to keep magnesium supplements in the house, high blood pressure is probably the biggest. Whether you have consistently high blood pressure numbers or happen to experience an episode of hypertension as a result of getting angry or upset after a stressful event, taking just one dose of a magnesium supplement can act as an effective emergency medication and lower your blood pressure in a matter of minutes.
2) To lower a high heart rate
Heart rate refers to the number of heartbeats or heart contractions per minute. Normal heart rate, defined as resting heart rate, or the number of heart contractions per minute in a healthy resting heart that is not engaged in intense physical activity, is between 60 and 100 heartbeats.
High heart rate is when there are more than 100 heartbeats per minute without there being a cause for it such as performing intense physical activity that drives the body’s need for oxygen higher therefore increasing heart rate.
Going through a stressful event or getting upsetting news that cause an altered psychological status and significant emotional distress can bring your heart rate well over 100 in an instant.
If a high heart rate isn’t lowered and is allowed to continue, it can predispose a person to serious cardiovascular events from heart attack or myocardial infarction to stroke. Taking just one dose of a magnesium supplement can help bring down a high heart rate in a matter of minutes and potentially prevent life threatening cardiovascular events. Studies also confirm magnesium intake can help reduce risks of stroke (source).
3) To calm a panic attack
Panic attacks are difficult to calm, to say the least. But they can be felt coming around and that might just give you enough time to take a magnesium supplement. Magnesium acts on both the cardiovascular and nervous system, exerting a calming effect that can help lower anxiety levels and attenuate the effects of a panic attack, possibly even stop it from happening.
According to research, clinical forms of magnesium depletion with hypofunction of the biological clock have been observed to be associated with various signs of nervous hyperexcitability from generalized anxiety disorder to panic attacks (source). It can be inferred thus that correcting low magnesium levels can have a beneficial effect for anxiety and panic attacks.
4) To lower anxiety levels
Magnesium deficiency has been shown to symptomatically affect the nervous system causing both instances of hypofunction and hyperfunction (see source at no. 3). According to research, clinical forms of magnesium depletion with hypofunction have been observed to be associated with anxiety, from generalized anxiety disorder to panic attacks.
Various studies have also identified a relationship between the manifestations of stress such as anxiety and magnesium deficiency (source). Correcting low magnesium levels with the help of dietary supplements can help improve the ability of the nervous system to resist stress and lower anxiety levels measurably.
When anxiety hits, there is a visible change in psychological status and emotional wellbeing. Taking one dose of a magnesium supplement can help improve mood by lowering anxiety levels, with a beneficial impact on mental health as a whole.
5) To help you sleep well
Magnesium deficiency is scientifically proven to dysregulate normal biological rhythms. According to research, low magnesium levels are associated with instances of hypofunction of the biological clock (see source at no. 3). Hypofunction of the biological clock can cause disturbances in sleep quality, sleep timing and duration.
Difficulty going to sleep, difficulty staying asleep and going back to sleep once sleep is disturbed are associated, among others, with magnesium deficiency. Taking a magnesium supplement at night, a couple of hours before sleep, can help induce sleep faster and achieve a more restful sleep.
Magnesium supplements can help reduce time until sleep onset, increase total sleep time and reduce the number of times you wake up from sleep at night, improving both sleep duration and quality. In part, the benefits of magnesium for sleep are owed to its cardiovascular effects, namely lowering blood pressure numbers and heart rate which are conducive to more restful sleep and help both induce and maintain sleep.
If you frequently experience insomnia, then supplementing with magnesium before sleep can help. If you have an important event coming and you fear insomnia will prevent you from getting your rest, then consider taking magnesium supplements before going to bed for at least a week prior to the day of the event.
Which magnesium form?
If you’ve ever taken magnesium supplements, you may know that there are quite a few different magnesium forms to choose from. But which should you choose? Better said, which is the best magnesium form to take?
The best magnesium form is the one you have immediate access to. If magnesium oxide is all you have in the house, take that to lower dangerously high blood pressure numbers until you can see a professional and get treatment. If it’s a magnesium form with a better absorption rate than oxide whose absorption rate is 4% in some cases, even better.
Magnesium citrate and even magnesium carbonate are both good magnesium forms in terms of absorption rate and price. But you can always go for formulations such as magnesium gluconate which, according to the European Food Safety Authority, has an absorption rate of 67% and a retention value of 49%, but is also more expensive that carbonate or citrate for example.
Or choose what the second best form of magnesium, magnesium aspartate which has an absorption rate of 60% and a retention value of 47%. Or the third best form which is magnesium lactate with an absorption rate of 59% and a retention value of 49%. Find out more about what is the best absorbed magnesium formulation.
How much magnesium?
How much magnesium should you keep in the house to help lower blood pressure numbers, heart rate and anxiety levels, calm panic attacks and help with sleep problems, among other benefits? According to the new dietary guidelines, the average adult woman needs at least 310 milligrams (mg) of magnesium every day while the average adult man needs at least 420 milligrams of the mineral a day. This is the minimum recommended intake so that you don’t develop a deficiency.
However, magnesium is something the body gets into easily if stress levels are consistently high or if a person is physically exhausted, for example. The body eats up magnesium to cope with stress, to sustain intellectual effort and keep up with a physically demanding lifestyle. This is why most magnesium supplements available come in doses of 300 mg (milligrams), 350 mg, 400 mg, 450 mg, 475 mg and even 500 mg and 550 mg.
All of these are safe to take despite the recommended intake of the mineral for an adult for the entire day is set at around 400 mg. Magnesium is never absorbed 100% and only part of what is absorbed is retained by the body. So one supplemental dose is not going to cause any side effects, even if you take it but didn’t need to.
Also, it is estimated that 2/3 of all people have a magnesium deficiency. Add to this the fact that very few diets supply the needed amounts of magnesium every day, not to mention the fact that most people lead a highly stressful lifestyle, have demanding jobs and experience high levels of stress which raises requirements of the mineral. Supplementing with magnesium is not just beneficial, but actually needed.