‘Tis the Season of Insomnia, Weight Gain, & Heart Trouble
During the cold winter months, some health issues seem to creep up more than at other times of the year. Today we’re talking about three biggies: insomnia, weight gain, and heart problems. Why does winter amplify these conditions? Reduced light exposure, holiday indulgence, and cold weather, respectively (not to mention all the added stress of holiday shopping and entertaining).
Luckily, there’s one mineral that’s gaining popularity among naturopaths and wellness enthusiasts alike that can dramatically improve all three of these ailments: magnesium.
Magnesium: Better Than Counting Sheep for Sleep
Dr. Mark Hyman calls it “The Relaxation Mineral,” it’s a component of over 325 enzymes present in the body, and, it plays important roles in hydration, muscle relaxation, and deactivating the adrenaline response when it’s time to settle down.
Studies have shown that magnesium has bold potential to reduce insomnia and promote healthy sleep patterns.
While over one-third of Americans suffer from sleep problems, up to half of the population is also deficient in magnesium. Coincidence? Researchers say not. The brain requires magnesium in order to receive GABA, a calming neurotransmitter the nervous system needs in order to “switch off” and send you to sleep.
Naturopaths suggest taking 400-600mg of magnesium an hour before bed to aid in healthy sleep cycles.
Give Holiday Weight Gain the Boot with Magnesium
As if a lack of sleep isn’t enough to make you gain weight (too little sleep has been found to actually alter the biology of fat cells), sweet treats seem to haunt at every turn this time of year.
WOW: A recent study found that a person’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome decreased by 17 percent with each 100mg per day dose of magnesium. Moreover, subjects with the highest levels of magnesium demonstrated a 31 percent lower risk of metabolic syndrome than those with the lowest levels of magnesium!
While the exact mechanism of action is unknown, researchers suggest that magnesium may thwart weight gain and slash metabolic syndrome risk by regulating glucose metabolism, lipid uptake in the liver, inflammatory responses, and smooth muscle function.
Magnesium is a Must for Heart Muscles & Artery Health
Last but not least, our humble mineral magnesium has one more health benefit to boast today: preventing cardiovascular disease. Magnesium is vital for tissues that have what’s called electrical or mechanical functions, including nerves, muscles, and blood vessels.
Your heart muscles are among the hardest working in your body, but without adequate stores of magnesium they cannot function properly. Studies have shown that people with blood levels of magnesium below the minimum of 1.7mg/dL are twice as likely to develop prehypertension and have elevated blood pressure.
Furthermore, magnesium has been found to prevent or even improve atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by facilitating nutrient-rich blood flow throughout the body. Scientists note that magnesium supplementation is especially important for patients on dialysis for kidney failure, who often experience rapid arterial thickening and blockages.