If you keep up with fibromyalgia news, then you may have heard about the benefits of magnesium. In a 2011 study, published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science, researchers discovered that women with fibromyalgia have lower levels of magnesium, calcium, manganese, and iron[i]. Another study, from Rheumatology Today, found that among fibromyalgia patients, lower magnesium is associated with worse symptoms[ii].
There is also a great deal of overlap between the symptoms of magnesium deficiency and those of fibromyalgia. For example, some of the common symptoms of magnesium deficiency are muscle pain, gastrointestinal difficulties, fatigue, weakness, and sleep problems – sound familiar?
Most Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets, and it can be difficult to test for a deficiency, since 99% of magnesium is found in bones and tissues, rather than blood[iii]. But preventing a deficiency isn’t the only reason you should consider including magnesium in your fibromyalgia treatment.
Here are 7 ways that magnesium can help relieve your symptoms.
Did you know that magnesium is crucial for muscle functioning and relaxation? It’s so important in this process that one of the main symptoms of deficiency is muscle pain and spasms.
Magnesium helps to regulate the body’s production and disposal of lactic acid, which is what causes muscle soreness after exercise[iv]. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that magnesium can help treat the primary symptom of fibromyalgia: muscle pain.
Depression is very commonly found among fibromyalgia patients[v]. Struggling with so many symptoms can certainly contribute to feelings of loneliness, despair, and worry.
Magnesium plays a major part in regulating mood and it can alleviate both depression and anxiety. It has a calming effect, which is attributed to its impact on GABA neurotransmitters[vi]. Magnesium also regulates the HPA axis, which is an important component in the body’s ability to handle stress[vii].
In addition, numerous studies have shown that magnesium is not only an effective treatment for depression, but that it’s potentially on the same level as antidepressants[viii] [ix]. Importantly, magnesium has also been shown to reduce depressive symptoms specifically among people with fibromyalgia[x].
You may be most familiar with magnesium in its laxative form (milk of magnesia). This is because magnesium’s muscle-relaxing effects also extend to the gastrointestinal system, making magnesium a gentle, effective treatment for constipation.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very common among those with fibromyalgia[xi] [xii], and is often characterized by indigestion and constipation. This makes magnesium an appealing natural option for soothing the digestive tract.
Insomnia and other sleep disorders are frequently associated with magnesium deficiency as well as fibromyalgia. Magnesium is excellent for treating this frustrating and disruptive symptom. Its ability to regulate melatonin (the “sleep hormone”) [xiii] and GABA levels means it can improve overall quality of sleep and help you fall asleep faster[xiv] [xv].
Unfortunately, migraine and fibromyalgia are comorbid conditions. It’s been estimated that over 30% of people with chronic migraines also have fibromyalgia[xvi]. Migraine can be difficult to treat, especially for those who wish to avoid pharmaceuticals. That said, numerous studies have demonstrated magnesium’s effectiveness at reducing migraine frequency as well as lowering the intensity of migraines[xvii].
Magnesium is an essential part of energy production in the body – specifically, a chemical called ATP (adenosine triphosphate)[xviii]. It’s been suggested that fatigue is the body’s way of protecting its supply of ATP[xix]. In fact, researchers have found a link between low ATP and chronic fatigue[xx].
Studies have also shown that magnesium can improve exercise tolerance and performance[xxi] [xxii]. Exercise is often suggested as a necessary part of fibromyalgia treatment, which makes this especially important to keep in mind.
Magnesium plays a critical role in many bodily processes, and the heart is no exception. Specifically, magnesium helps regulate over 300 functions – including your heartbeat! It can also improve your overall heart health and lower blood pressure, according to multiple studies[xxiii] [xxiv] [xxv]. And although it isn’t a typical symptom, irregular blood pressure and heart disease are both associated with fibromyalgia[xxvi] [xxvii] [xxviii].
Fibromyalgia comes with many challenges, but treatment doesn’t have to be one of them. Including a versatile mineral like magnesium in your treatment plan is something to consider, since it can address so many symptoms at once.
Still, it can be cumbersome taking so many pills every day. To make it easier, try increasing your consumption of magnesium-rich foods, such as almonds, cashews, and spinach. You can also try a combination supplement, like Everyday Optimal’s Fibromyalgia Relief CBD. It contains 17 ingredients with proven benefits for fibromyalgia, including magnesium.
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