Will Magnesium Supplements Help You Lose Weight?
With the prevalence of obesity being at an all-time high, the general population, or at least 1.9 billion of the adults around the world1, are at an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases that come with obesity2.
Even though millions of people are constantly following a diet in order to help them lose weight, the rate of obesity is still seemingly increasing. One of the primary reasons why many people to fail at losing weight successfully when they follow a weight loss regimen is due to improper education, along with marketing gimmicks that promise the individual they will lose a large amount of weight in just a short period of time.
In order to successfully lose weight, specific strategies need to be implemented and the body, which includes the adoption of healthy habits. Among these healthy habits lie the inclusion of essential minerals and vitamins that the body requires on a daily basis to function properly.
Numerous studies have now suggested that the use of magnesium supplements may be helpful for people struggling to lose weight, but there are certain conditions that first need to be understood before a person decides to follow this new trend.
In this post, we will take a look at what functions magnesium plays in the body and come to a conclusion as to whether or not magnesium may be a useful supplement to take for people who are trying to lose excess fat that has accumulated in their bodies. We will also look at how exactly the supplement can be utilized for better results with a weight loss program.
What Is Magnesium And Why Does The Body Need This Supplement?
Magnesium is classified as a mineral in the human body that is acquired through external sources, including food and supplements. The mineral has a large range of functions to play in the human body, ranging from the regulation of blood pressure to ensure the heart beats normally. The mineral is also involved in the process of ensuring calcium is properly absorbed and carried to bones; thus contribute to stronger and healthier bones as well.
A significant number of people in the United States, as well as around the world, are not ensuring they consume an adequate supply of this particular mineral each day3. This can lead to a number of complications – including higher inflammation markers.
This, in turn, can put a person at risk of certain diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Since magnesium has a role to play in ensuring bones adequately absorb calcium, inadequate intake of the mineral may even be a contributing factor to conditions such as osteoporosis.
Can Magnesium Assist In Weight Loss?
Some publications have reported that magnesium may be a useful supplement for people who are finding that they are struggling to lose weight – the supplement is now often promoted as a potential aid in weight management.
While there is some truth to the facts that have been stated, it is crucial for people to understand that magnesium supplements are not weight loss pills, and simply increasing their daily intake of the mineral will likely not yield benefits in terms of weight management and fat reduction.
The potential benefits that magnesium may have in terms of weight loss lies within its effects on circulating blood glucose levels, as well as insulin levels. The supplement has also been associated with positive effects on people with diabetes and insulin resistance – another way that the mineral may be able to contribute to weight loss possibly.
In order to better understand the effects that magnesium has on these conditions, let us turn our focus to a study, published in the MDPI Journal of Nutrients4. The study included a total of 234 participants, all with diagnosed Metabolic Syndrome. The participants of the study were also diagnosed with insulin resistance; thus they were at risk of type 2 diabetes.
The study lasted for a period of 12 months, during which participants were provided with magnesium supplementation in order to meet their daily requirement of this mineral. At the beginning of the study, participants went through a number of tests in order to determine their current insulin levels, HOMA-IR results, as well as their magnesium levels. The scientists behind the study found that only 23.5% of the participants met the daily recommend magnesium levels in their blood.
By the end of the study, the scientists found that HOMA-IR tests yielded improved results and insulin regulation was improved in the participants as well. Furthermore, a higher percentage of participants in the study met the RDA for the mineral at both month six and after the 12-month period was over.
The conclusion of the study is that adequate supplementation of magnesium in individuals with levels of the mineral that is considered lower than the RDA may yield improvement in insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is not only a major contributing factor to type 2 diabetes, but have also been associated with obesity. Individuals who become insulin resistant are known to gain weight faster and losing weight may become more difficult for them as well. This is essentially how a person would continue to gain weight until they become obese, ultimately opening up a range of other risk factors for them, including a significant increase in their likeliness of suffering from various chronic diseases.
How To Use Magnesium As An Aid In A Weight Loss Program?
Now that we have established the fact that magnesium is not a weight loss pill that will help a person magically start to drop pounds, let us take a look at how this particular supplement may be useful in a weight management program.
As described before, insulin resistance is associated with obesity. The condition is also associated with type 2 diabetes, which, in turn, further raises the risk of gaining weight and becoming obese.
When magnesium supplementation is used adequately in order to provide the recommended levels of the mineral to a person's body, they are gaining a protective mechanism to help with the regulation of insulin in their bodies. This, in turn, may help to reduce the effects that insulin resistance has on their bodies – what this means is that their risk of gaining more weight may be somewhat reduced. Their risk of not being able to lose weight successfully may also be reduced since insulin is now better regulated with the aid of the magnesium supplementation.
Alone, this supplement will not cause excess weight to come off. A person who is interested in using magnesium supplements or including more magnesium-rich foods in their diet to assist in their weight loss journey should still follow an appropriate weight management program. Magnesium supplements should only become part of this program.
A weight management program needs to include a caloric deficit – which is a term used to describe a program where fewer calories are consumed than the number of calories the person would burn each day. Since calories need to be burned, exercise will also need to start playing an important role in a person's day-to-day lifestyle.
When it comes to setting up a diet, it is important to include a range of different healthy food options. This would help a person to obtain adequate amounts of important vitamins and minerals – including magnesium, of course – while still being able to ensure excess weight in their body can be effectively reduced.
An exercise plan should focus on helping the person burn more calories than they will be eating – this is why it is usually recommended that a person would calculate their daily caloric requirements, make appropriate amendments due to their goal of losing weight, and then set up an exercise program that will lead to them burning more calories than the number that they have calculated.
How To Increase Your Daily Intake Of Magnesium?
Magnesium is found in a large range of food products and can also be obtained through a supplement, which usually includes a dietary pill that is taken by mouth with some water.
Foods that are known to be high in magnesium include beans and nuts, yogurt, fish, whole grain foods, leafy green vegetables, tofu, and quinoa. There are many different supplements on the market as well – while some of these will only include magnesium, others will combine the mineral with additional nutrients that are needed by the body to function.
Are There Any Risks To Increasing Your Daily Magnesium Intake?
Magnesium is required by the human body to function properly. Cells, tissues, and organs throughout the body, including the heart, depends on an appropriate supply of the mineral to function normally. Thus, by including magnesium in a diet or as a supplement, a person is generally not considered to be at risk of experiencing any significant side-effects or symptoms associated with toxicity.
It should, however, be noted that taking too much magnesium can lead to potential side-effects. In most cases, a person would experience a range of mild side-effects when they take too much of this supplement. These side-effects may include an upset stomach, which can be accompanied by diarrhea. Some people may also experience nausea, and abdominal cramping is also not unlikely to develop.
There are cases, however, where the symptoms of taking an excessively large dose of magnesium can yield more serious side-effects. When a person consumes too much magnesium, especially over a long period of time, they are at risk of experiencing the following side-effects:
- Excessive thirst
- A loss of their appetite
- Breathing problems
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- An irregular heartbeat
- Lowered levels of blood pressure
How Much Magnesium Does The Human Body Need?
Due to the potential side-effects that may occur with excessive dosing of magnesium, a person should ensure they understand how much magnesium they require on a daily basis and aim to comply with such recommendations.
The recommended daily intake of magnesium depends on a person’s age, as well as their gender. Men are usually advised to consume more magnesium than women. Adults and seniors are also advised to consume higher amounts of this mineral than younger children and teenagers5.
- Adult men under 30 should obtain approximately 400mg of magnesium daily
- Adult women under 30 should obtain approximately 310mg of magnesium daily
- Adult men over 30 should obtain about 420mg of magnesium each day
- Adult women over 30 should obtain about 320mg of magnesium each day
While magnesium has been associated with potential improvements in weight loss, taking the supplement alone without any other specific changes in a person’s habits, such as the way they eat or the amount of exercise they obtain, will not yield positive results.
These supplements should ideally be included in a healthy diet, which will need to provide a person with a caloric deficit if they wish to shed weight. Exercise should also play a crucial part in such a program.
1 Obesity and overweight. World Health Organization. 16 Feb 2018. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight
2 A.M. Ogunbode, A.A. Fatiregun, O.O. Ogunbode. Health Risks of Obesity. Annals of Ibadan Postgraduate Medicine. Dec 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4111009/
3 R.M. Griffin. Magnesium Supplements: Benefits, Deficiencies, Dosage, Effects, and More. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-magnesium#1
4 J. Wang, G. Persuitte, B.C. Olendzki, N.M. Wedick, Z. Zhang, P.A. Merria, H. Fang, J. Carmody, G.F. Olendzki, Y. Ma. Dietary Magnesium Intake Improves Insulin Resistance among Non-Diabetic Individuals with Metabolic Syndrome Participating in a Dietary Trial. MDPI Journal of Nutrients. 27 Sep 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820051/
5 Magnesium. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/