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Mind Your Minerals: The Importance of Magnesium

What is Magnesium and what does it do?

Some call magnesium the “mineral of movement” – which is appropriate as HCB2 talks a lot about bowel movements throughout our work!  Magnesium in appropriate amounts can certainly help to get you regular, but did you know that it is a very important nutrient that serves at least 300 functions throughout the body?

In fact, this mineral acts alongside other electrolytes to help create energy and control fluid in the body, as well as controlling enzyme, cell, nerve, muscle and DNA/RNA function.1 The presence of adequate levels of magnesium has also been associated with reduced risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, PMS and other health issues, and it also can provider pain relief.2

What’s cancer got to do with it?

In regards to cancer, magnesium intake has been associated with a reduced risk of this disease as well.3-9 Looking specifically at colorectal cancer, one study found an estimated 40% reduction in colorectal cancer among women with higher intake of magnesium.3-4 A meta-analysis study also found positive benefit from higher intakes of magnesium and colorectal cancer risk, and a 2015 study of postmenopausal women found that an intake of 400 mg of magnesium helped to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.5, 7 Other studies have found magnesium to play a role in pancreatic cancer risk reduction.  Additionally, it’s been shown to exhibit anti-cancer effects on human gastric cancer cells in vitro.8-9

How can I consume more magnesium?

Great question! Well, eating more nutrient-dense, real food is a start! Raw avocado, sprouted pumpkin seeds, salmon, probiotic-rich yogurt (watch the sugar) and gently cooked spinach are just some of the foods that contain magnesium.1 You may need to consider a supplement (but remember that not all are created equal) and/or possibly apply magnesium (in the form of magnesium chloride oil or flakes) topically through skin. Bathing is a stress relieving way to bring magnesium into the body. Magnesium sulfate (also called Epsom salts) can be tossed into a warm tub or sprinkled into a foot soak.

Of course, there are some side effects of taking too much magnesium, especially all at once. HCB2 wants you to be able to go to the bathroom more regularly, but not like this! For those with health challenges, too much magnesium or perhaps the certain forms of magnesium, may also present some challenges. So, as always, we encourage you to do the research yourself and seek expertise on how this and other dietary interventions may help you.

#eatclean #getscreened #cancerhatesthat


1. National Institute of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. (2018). Magnesium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved July 13, 2018 from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.

2. Oregon State University. Magnesium. Retrieved July 13, 2018 from   https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium.

3. Larsson SC, Leif B, and Wolk A. (2005). Magnesium Intake in Relation to Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Women. JAMA, 293(1). doi:10.1001/jama.293.1.86.

4. Larsson SC and Wolk A. (2005). Magnesium Intake, Drinking Water, and Risk of Colorectal Cancer—Reply. JAMA, 293(21). doi:10.1001/jama.293.21.2599-b.

5. Ko HJ, Youn CH, Kim HM, Cho YJ, et al. (2014). Dietary magnesium intake and risk of cancer: a meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies. Nutrition and Cancer, 66(6). doi: 10.1080/01635581.2014.922203.

6.  Chen GC, Pang Z and Liu QF. (2012). Magnesium intake and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 66(11). doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2012.135.

7. Gorczyca AM, He K, Xun P, Margolis KL et al. (2015). Association between magnesium intake and risk of colorectal cancer among postmenopausal women. Cancer Causes and Control, 26(12). doi: 10.1007/s10552-015-0669-2.

8. Dibaba D, Xun P, Yokota K, White E et al. (2015). Magnesium intake and incidence of pancreatic cancer: the VITamins and Lifestyle study. British Journal of Cancer, 113(11). doi: 10.1038/bjc.2015.382.

9. Bo LY, Li TJ, and Zhao XH. (2018). Copper or Magnesium Supplementation Endows the Peptic Hydrolysate from Bovine Lactoferrin with Enhanced Activity to Human Gastric Cancer AGS Cells. Biological Trace Element Research. doi: 10.1007/s12011-018-1468-x.