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The Sciences

Magnesium Levels Change as we Age, but Supplements can Help

Some studies found that taking a magnesium supplement could slow aging and combat age-related illnesses.

By Elizabeth GamilloApr 5, 2024 8:00 AM
Magnesium in foods
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As we age, we start looking for ways to slow down its process. Magnesium supplements might help keep age-related illnesses at bay.

Various studies have found that magnesium deficiencies are linked to aging. A survey in Magnesium Research found that when we get older, the magnesium levels in our bodies also decrease because of changes in our ability to absorb magnesium.

Our magnesium intake decreases because our ability to absorb it in our intestines also decreases. However, a reduced amount of magnesium could also be due to medications commonly prescribed to the elderly, including diuretics and a few antibiotics, contributing to magnesium deficiencies.

While having enough magnesium causes health problems, it has yet to be fully known how well magnesium supplements work to help a deficiency.

Magnesium as a Super Nutrient

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Our bodies need magnesium to function correctly. The nutrients in grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens help the body regulate everyday processes like blood sugar, blood pressure, and nerve functions. Magnesium also keeps muscles like the heart contracting properly.

Most of the magnesium in the body is stored in bones, and some is stored in tissues as well. If there isn’t enough magnesium in the body, it might lead to health problems. Because magnesium is a vital mineral for the body, its deficiencies might cause diabetes, atherosclerosis, and muscle loss, to name a few.

Magnesium is an important nutrient because it works in tandem with other vitamins. For example, it can help convert vitamin D into a form the body can use. Enzymes that break down vitamin D need magnesium as a cofactor to carry out enzymatic reactions.

Read More: Here’s Why You May Want To Take Vitamin D and Magnesium Together

Magnesium and Age-related Illness

(Credit: Yeexin Richelle/Shutterstock)

Magnesium is also essential in the cell metabolism processes in the mitochondria, according to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. It plays an important role in over 600 enzyme reactions that the body needs to maintain DNA structure, healthy cells, and cell metabolism. Maintaining a lifelong healthy balance of magnesium might help with oxidative stress and conditions like diabetes, dementia, osteoporosis, and hypertension.

A magnesium deficiency, or low magnesium intake however, might make it easier to develop an illness over time, since magnesium is responsible for many of the chemical pathways that keep the body in working order.

According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, clinical trials are mixed on whether a magnesium supplement can help the issues caused by a magnesium deficiency. Still, some studies found that eating a diet high in magnesium can lower disease rates, and if someone has a magnesium deficiency, a provider might prescribe a supplement.

Read More: Magnesium Deficiency Can Come From Celiac Disease and Other Medical Issues

Magnesium and Oxidative Stress

(Credit: ustas7777777/Shutterstock)

One study found that age-related diseases and aging in general cause chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. When someone has a chronic magnesium deficiency, the body produces oxygen-derived free radicals that collect in the body and cause inflammation. This creates oxidative stress or cell and tissue damage, which can lead to increased aging.

Magnesium is thought to help slow the aging process because it’s used to repair and maintain DNA and remove DNA damage. Less magnesium means less protection against cell damage from oxidative stress. Magnesium was also found to protect telomeres from shortening, which are linked to aging and life expectancy.

Maintaining the right amount of magnesium in our diets and correcting deficiencies might increase life expectancy and reduce disease risk. One study even found that patients with congestive heart failure taking oral magnesium supplements improved their symptoms and survival rate.

Overall, it is important that you check with your healthcare provider if you suspect you have a magnesium deficiency or if you want to start taking a magnesium supplement.

Read More: 5 Different Types of Magnesium and How They Affect the Body

This article is not offering medical advice and should be used for informational purposes only.

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Our writers at Discovermagazine.com use peer-reviewed studies and high-quality sources for our articles, and our editors review them for accuracy and trustworthiness. Review the sources used below for this article:

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