Magnesium is vitally important for biological function and optimal health. It’s the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and researchers have detected more than 3,750 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins.1
More than 300 different enzymes also rely on magnesium for proper function. This reflects the impact magnesium has on your biochemical processes, many of which are crucial for proper metabolic function. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Creation of ATP (adenosine triphospate), the energy currency of your body2,3
- Relaxation of blood vessels
- Muscle and nerve function, including the action of your heart muscle
- Proper formation of bones and teeth
- Regulation of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, which is important for the prevention of type 2 diabetes4,5,6,7 (In one study,8 prediabetics with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by 71 percent)
Lack of Magnesium Can Trigger Serious Health Problems
If you’re lacking in cellular magnesium, it can lead to the deterioration of your cellular metabolic function which, in turn, can snowball into more serious health problems.
This includes migraine headaches,9,10 anxiety and depression (magnesium acts as a catalyst for mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin), fibromyalgia,11cardiovascular disease, sudden cardiac death, and even death from all those other causes.
Magnesium also plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes (including the synthesis of glutathione) and is therefore important for minimizing damage from toxic exposures.
Perhaps most importantly, magnesium is vital for the optimization of your mitochondria. This has enormous potential to influence your health, especially the prevention of cancer, but also for overall energy and athletic performance.
The Importance of Magnesium for Mitochondrial Health
Mitochondria are tiny bacteria-derived organelles residing inside your cells. Your organs need energy to function properly, and that energy (i.e., adenosine triphospate or ATP) is largely produced in the mitochondria.
Mounting evidence suggests that most health problems can be traced back to mitochondrial dysfunction. So, making sure you get the right nutrients and precursors your mitochondria need for optimal performance is extremely important for health, disease prevention, and exercise performance.
As explained by mitochondrial researcher Rhonda Patrick, Ph.D. (in the video above), magnesium plays an important role. Without it, other strategies aimed at improving mitochondrial health simply may not work.
Take athletic performance for example. It is in part dependent on your oxidative capacity, meaning the ability of your muscle cells to consume oxygen, and your oxidative capacity relies on your mitochondria’s ability to produce ATP by consuming oxygen inside the cell.