How to Improve Gut Health With Magnesium
Posted on May 07 2020
You might not know how important magnesium is in your body. Many people don't even know what magnesium is but are shocked to hear about the critical functions it plays a role in for all living things (plants and animals!).
In this piece, we'll discuss the vital importance of getting a high enough daily intake of magnesium, particularly as it supports your gut health, protects your intestinal microbiome, and fends off diseases that have to do with digestive function.
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is considered to be one of the seven essential macrominerals that humans need in large amounts per day to allow for the optimal function of a range of different body systems.
The average person has about 25 grams of Magnesium in their body, with about 50% to 60% in the bones and the rest in muscle, fluids, and other, soft tissue.
Magnesium plays a role in over 300 known enzyme reactions in the body, playing a role in supporting bone and muscle health, immune responses, heart function, and more.
Magnesium and Gut Health
The benefit of magnesium that research has been growing to support more and more recently, though, is with gut health.
What is Gut Health and Why is it Important?
"Gut health" actually refers to two aspects of a healthy gastrointestinal tract. The first is digestive health. A healthy GI tract means better digestion, something that gets more challenging as people age.
The digestive system contains enzymes that help break down food into nutrient particles and waste.
If those enzymes aren't present in high enough amounts or if any part of the digestive system is not working right, it can cause diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory colitis.
The other crucial function of the gut has to do with being home to a massive amount of the body's beneficial bacteria, called the gut microbiome.
Amazingly, the human body contains an estimated 40 trillion good bacteria, most of which are located in the length of the intestinal tract.
If this so-called "intestinal flora" goes out of balance, it may lead to a range of autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease, marked by chronic inflammation of the bowels.
How Does Magnesium Support Gut Health?
We mentioned previously that magnesium plays a critical role in more than 300 enzymatic processes in the body. These processes include several that help to break down food that enters the body at various points during digestion.
That means that low magnesium levels may lead to the development of new digestive issues, or cause existing, often-genetic, digestive disorders to worsen.
As far as the intestinal microbiome goes, most people think that taking probiotics and fermented foods that contain live cultures are the only ways to supplement this mass of good bacteria.
While these are thought to be helpful, it's important to make sure your body has enough nutrients and minerals. In fact, one study found that magnesium deficiency can alter the bacteria colonies in the gut.
Worried About Gut Health?
It should be noted here: because the recommended daily intake for magnesium is so high, most people don't get enough in their diet.
This means that if you're suffering from a digestive issue (like irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, Crohn's disease, and many others), your symptoms may improve with a higher daily intake of magnesium.
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