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Magnesium and Acne

by
author image Linda Tarr Kent
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.
Magnesium and Acne
Magnesium is available in many foods, including green leafy vegetables. Photo Credit Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Some theorize that boosting magnesium intake will help clear up acne. However, it’s not recognized as one of the most effective natural treatments for acne by the Mayo Clinic or the National Institutes of Health. Still, magnesium can help reduce inflammation. Lessening inflammation is a technique often used to combat acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Effects

Most of the magnesium in your body is found in the skeleton. The second-highest amount is found in the muscle tissues. The rest is other tissues and fluids. The body needs magnesium for cellular replication, energy production and protein formation. It is just as important as calcium and phosphorus. Magnesium works in conjunction with calcium for muscle contraction and relaxation, and helps to regulate calcium metabolism. It also works along with Vitamin D, potassium and other minerals. It used in 300 enzymatic reactions within your body. Many of these relate to energy. Magnesium helps reduce your blood pressure and improve heart function, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Significance

Taking one portion of magnesium citrate with two portions of calcium might clear a person’s acne, according to Ygoy. Adding Vitamin C the mix can help your body absorb the magnesium. This can help because magnesium plays a role in hormone balance, which can affect acne, reports the Acne Resource Center Online, which also speculates that magnesium also may help to combat acne by reducing stress. Having more dietary magnesium intake also has an association with reduced markers of systematic inflammation, according to an April, 2007 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” The Mayo Clinic, however, recommends zinc supplements to reduce inflammation, which the clinic says can help improve acne.

Considerations

Taking a zinc supplement will decrease magnesium absorption, reports a study published in the October, 1994 “Journal of the American College of Nutrition.” Magnesium also may be depleted by drinking lots of coffee or tea, irritable bowels, chronic diarrhea, laxatives, oral contraceptives, excessive exercising and emotional stress, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. People who have gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, are alcoholics, who use diuretics for a long time and who have reached old age also can become deficient. Along with high doses of supplemental zinc, high protein consumption also can interfere with magnesium absorption, advises MIT.

Expert Insight

Most U.S. residents likely do not consume enough foods with magnesium in them as they should, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. There are actually many good sources of magnesium, according to MIT. These include green leafy vegetables, such as spinach parsley and Swiss chard; nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans; and whole grains including wheat bran, wheat germ, shredded wheat, brown rice and oat bran. Magnesium also is found in whole milk, sunflower seeds, blackstrap molasses, dried apricots, garlic, avocado, fresh green peas, sweet potatoes and cheddar cheese. It’s in chicken, stewing beef and white fish, and in many vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus and tomatoes. Fruits with magnesium include blackberries, bananas and oranges. Lima beans and black-eyed peas are other sources.

Types

Magnesium supplements come in many forms. Recommended types include magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate and magnesium gluconate, advises the UM Medical Center. These are easier for a person’s body to absorb than other forms. Time-release preparations, the center notes, can improve absorption. It’s also a good idea to take a B vitamin complex with magnesium, as the level of Vitamin B6 in a person’s body determines how much magnesium can be absorbed into his cells. Dietary reference intakes, or DRIs issued by the Food and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements call for 270 to 400 mg daily for teen-age boys and men and 280 to 300 mg daily for teenage girls and women.

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