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Why Should I Add Magnesium into my Routine?

Research shows that the majority of Americans aren’t meeting their magnesium needs [1]. Magnesium is essential for a number of bodily functions, and can help with muscle relaxation, sleep, and host of other benefits.

Do you suspect that you’re part of this group? Are you unsure about the best time to take magnesium or how this mineral works? 

Read on to learn everything you need to know so you can take it correctly and get the most out of it.

 

 

What Is Magnesium?

Never heard of magnesium? Not sure what it does or where you can get it? Magnesium is an essential macromineral. This is a type of mineral that you must consume in quantities of at least 100 milligrams per day [2]. 

Magnesium plays an important role in hundreds of different bodily processes, and every organ requires a certain amount of magnesium to function properly.

almonds nuts

You can find magnesium in many different foods, including leafy green vegetables, nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate [3]. However, most people aren’t getting enough of it (we’ll touch on what “enough” looks like in a minute) from their diets alone and may benefit from additional sources. 

 

 

Benefits of Magnesium

Adequate magnesium intake offers a variety of health benefits and ought to be a priority for anyone who wants to feel their best. The following are some of the most important ones you can enjoy when you meet your daily magnesium needs:

 

Improved Sleep

One of the most popular reasons for magnesium supplementation is poor sleep. If you struggle with insomnia or have trouble falling or staying asleep, magnesium can help. 

Magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation [4]. It also regulates melatonin (an important sleep hormone) and interacts with the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors, which help to bring about a sense of calmness [5,6]. 

Magnesium has also been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression in some adults [7]. Folks with depression often experience sleep disruptions, so it may benefit them to include magnesium in their evening supplement routine.

 

Improved Hydration

Magnesium also acts as an electrolyte. It works with other electrically charged minerals like sodium and potassium to support proper hydration. That’s why you’ll often find it included in electrolyte drink mixes like Hydrant. We wanted to include it because of its host of benefits and without sufficient magnesium, you may be more prone to muscle cramps and other signs of dehydration while exercising [8]. Definitely don’t want that after a long run! 

 

Reduced Anxiety

Some people find that regular magnesium intake can help to reduce feelings of anxiety. 

Remember, magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system and interacts with the GABA receptors to help you to feel calmer (that’s why it’s a popular sleep aid). It also has an impact on the areas of the brain associated with stress, including the hypothalamus. 

The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating the pituitary and adrenal glands, which trigger the release of certain hormones in response to stressful situations (real or perceived) [9].

 

Improved Bone Health

Most people think of calcium and vitamin D when they think about nutrients for bone health. However, magnesium is good for your bones, too. 

bones xray

Research shows that adequate magnesium levels are linked to increases in bone density, as well as improvements in bone crystal formation and a reduced risk of osteoporosis in women [10]. Magnesium likely supports healthy bones because it helps to regulate levels of calcium and vitamin D in the body. 

 

Improved Blood Sugar Balance

Magnesium contributes to proper blood sugar control and metabolization of insulin (a hormone that transports glucose from the blood into the muscles). This explains why diets high in magnesium are linked to a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes [11]. 

Research shows that low levels of magnesium can make insulin resistance (which is common in type 2 diabetes) worse [12]. At the same time, insulin resistance can also contribute to low magnesium levels, which is why diabetics often need to supplement with additional magnesium. 

 

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Magnesium supports proper relaxation and contraction of all muscles, including the muscles of the heart. Those who are deficient in magnesium face a greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and strokes [13]. 

Those who suffer from congestive heart failure are also more likely to be deficient in this essential mineral [14]. Because of this, it’s often included in congestive heart failure treatment protocols to reduce a patient’s risk of developing an abnormal heart rhythm.

 

 

How Much Magnesium Do You Need?

What does it look like to take in “enough” magnesium per day? The specific recommended dose varies depending on age and gender. 


As a general guideline, though, the Institute of Medicine suggests the following for adults [16]:


  • For women, 310-360 milligrams of magnesium per day
  • For men, 400-420 milligrams of magnesium per day

It’s important to note, though, that when it comes to magnesium supplementation, the Institute of Medicine also does not recommend consuming more than 350 milligrams per day without being supervised by a medical professional. 


Speaking of medical professionals, always talk to your doctor before including supplemental magnesium (and other supplements) in your diet. They will be able to provide specific recommendations based on your health history and unique needs.  

 

 

When to Take Magnesium

Now that you understand the basics regarding magnesium and supplementation, let’s talk about the best time of day to take magnesium. 

When is the best time to take magnesium? There’s no one specific answer to this question. 

drinking vitamins and supplements

If you’re not sure when to take magnesium, start by thinking about your goals. For example, if you are taking magnesium because you’re looking for sleep support, it’s in your best interests to use it close to bedtime. 

If you’re using it in combination with other electrolytes to help with hydration, on the other hand, you’ll likely benefit more from taking it after a sweaty workout.

Keep in mind, too, that what seems to be less important than the timing of your magnesium supplementation is your consistency. Studies indicate that the best results come for those who are taking magnesium daily, whether they’re using the mineral for help with migraine headaches or mood support [17,18].

 

 

Start Using Magnesium Today

Now that all your magnesium questions have been answered, including questions about proper timing and different ways to supplement, are you ready to include it in your routine? 

Remember, magnesium is an essential macromineral, and lots of people can benefit from taking it. Talk to your doctor about giving it a try today so you can start feeling your best!

 

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Sources

[1] DiNicolantonio, J. J., O'Keefe, J. H., & Wilson, W. (2018). Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open heart, 5(1), e000668. https://doi.org/10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668
[2] Britannica. Human Nutrition - Vitamins. https://www.britannica.com/science/human-nutrition/Vitamins
[3] Cleveland Clinic. Magnesium-Rich Foods. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15650-magnesium-rich-food
[4] Wienecke E, Nolden C. Langzeit-HRV-Analyse zeigt Stressreduktion durch Magnesiumzufuhr [Long-term HRV analysis shows stress reduction by magnesium intake]. MMW Fortschr Med. 2016 Dec;158(Suppl 6):12-16. German. doi: 10.1007/s15006-016-9054-7. Epub 2016 Dec 8. PMID: 27933574.
[5] Durlach J, Pagès N, Bac P, Bara M, Guiet-Bara A. Biorhythms and possible central regulation of magnesium status, phototherapy, darkness therapy and chronopathological forms of magnesium depletion. Magnes Res. 2002 Mar;15(1-2):49-66. PMID: 12030424.
[6] Poleszak E. Benzodiazepine/GABA(A) receptors are involved in magnesium-induced anxiolytic-like behavior in mice. Pharmacol Rep. 2008 Jul-Aug;60(4):483-9. PMID: 18799816.
[7] Tarleton, E. K., Littenberg, B., MacLean, C. D., Kennedy, A. G., & Daley, C. (2017). Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PloS one, 12(6), e0180067. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180067
[8] Potter JD, Robertson SP, Johnson JD. Magnesium and the regulation of muscle contraction. Fed Proc. 1981 Oct;40(12):2653-6. PMID: 7286246.
[9] Sartori, S. B., Whittle, N., Hetzenauer, A., & Singewald, N. (2012). Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: modulation by therapeutic drug treatment. Neuropharmacology, 62(1), 304–312. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.07.027
[10] Castiglioni, S., Cazzaniga, A., Albisetti, W., & Maier, J. A. (2013). Magnesium and osteoporosis: current state of knowledge and future research directions. Nutrients, 5(8), 3022–3033. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5083022
[11] Barbagallo, M., & Dominguez, L. J. (2015). Magnesium and type 2 diabetes. World journal of diabetes, 6(10), 1152–1157. https://doi.org/10.4239/wjd.v6.i10.1152
[12] Morais JBS, Severo JS, de Alencar GRR, de Oliveira ARS, Cruz KJC, Marreiro DDN, Freitas BJESA, de Carvalho CMR, Martins MDCCE, Frota KMG. Effect of magnesium supplementation on insulin resistance in humans: A systematic review. Nutrition. 2017 Jun;38:54-60. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2017.01.009. Epub 2017 Feb 2. PMID: 28526383.
[13] Zhao, B., Hu, L., Dong, Y., Xu, J., Wei, Y., Yu, D., Xu, J., & Zhang, W. (2019). The Effect of Magnesium Intake on Stroke Incidence: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis With Trial Sequential Analysis. Frontiers in neurology, 10, 852. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2019.00852
[14] DiNicolantonio JJ, Liu J, O’Keefe JHMagnesium for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseaseOpen Heart 2018;5:e000775. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2018-000775
[15] Dix, Megan, RN, BSN. Hypomagnesemia (Low Magnesium). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/hypomagnesemia
[16] National Institutes of Health. Magnesium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
[17] Gaul, C., Diener, H. C., Danesch, U., & Migravent® Study Group (2015). Improvement of migraine symptoms with a proprietary supplement containing riboflavin, magnesium and Q10: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. The journal of headache and pain, 16, 516. https://doi.org/10.1186/s10194-015-0516-6
[18] Eby GA, Eby KL. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-70. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2006.01.047. Epub 2006 Mar 20. PMID: 16542786.
[19] Bjarnadottir, Adda, MS, RDN. 10 Interest Types of Magnesium. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-types
[20] University of Rochester Medical Center. Magnesium. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=Magnesium