In addition to benefiting the heart and the cardiovascular system, magnesium can benefit other parts of the body as well.
1. Brain Health
As the baby boomer generation ages, concern over cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease continues to mount. But there is reason to believe magnesium could alleviate the problem.
The most recent study, published in 2013, found that a magnesium supplement formula produced positive effects on the brain synapses of mice, helping them reverse cognitive declines, and, in essence, making their brains act like those of younger mice.
This study was built upon earlier research, including a report in the journal “Neuron,” which found that magnesium facilitated learning and memory in young and old rats.
2. Lung Health
Many people with heart disease also suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a major lung disorder that has become one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Because of the close interaction between the lungs and the heart, it can lead to heart failure.
Magnesium is important to healthy lung function, and people with COPD often have low magnesium levels. This may be due to poor nutrition or to drugs taken to manage COPD, which can drain the body’s magnesium levels.
3. Bone Health
When we think of nutrients for healthy bones, calcium is the first that usually comes to mind. But magnesium and calcium actually work together to maintain strong bones.
In fact, adequate magnesium is important for proper absorption and metabolism of calcium; if you want to increase one, you have to increase the other.
Magnesium also stimulates the thyroid gland’s production of the bone-preserving hormone calcitonin, and regulates parathyroid hormone, which regulates the normal breakdown of bone so that calcium can be used by the body.
The third component necessary for strong bones is vitamin D, and magnesium is also necessary for converting it to the active form. This is why even mild magnesium deficiency is reported to be a leading risk factor for osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease that occurs primarily in women.
4. Asthma Prevention
Studies have linked magnesium deficiency with asthma, and there is evidence that supplements can help treat this disorder as well.
In one study, researchers enrolled 52 men and women, ages 21 to 55, who were suffering from mild to moderate asthma. They were divided into two groups: one took 340 mg of magnesium daily and the other a placebo for 6 ½ months. They were then examined for asthma symptoms, along with lung responsiveness, pulmonary function, inflammation, and inflammation markers.
The researchers found that those who took magnesium experienced significant improvement in lung activity and function, as well as improvements in asthma control.
The study, published in the “Journal of Asthma,” adds to the evidence that taking magnesium is helpful for people with this condition.
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