Your body needs magnesium to function normally and maintain your good health. But most of us don't get the recommended amount of magnesium in our diets, according to the National Institutes of Health. The solution? Magnesium malate is a supplement option to help meet your body's need for this essential mineral.
Read more: Magnesium Malate vs. Magnesium Citrate
The health benefits of magnesium malate derive from the magnesium content. So, the malate just functions as the mineral carrier and helps the intestines absorb the magnesium better.
Magnesium supplements like magnesium malate confer several potential health benefits. It serves as an essential cofactor in more than 600 metabolic reactions involved in a broad array of biological functions, such as regulating your energy and making protein, as reported in a January 2015 Physiological Reviews article. It is also essential for healthy bones, muscles and nerves. Think of magnesium as a biochemical multi-tasker.
Talk with your doctor before taking magnesium malate to be sure it is safe for you. This is especially important if you have diabetes, kidney disease, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Why Your Body Needs Magnesium
Fatty acids and the sugar glucose serve as the primary fuels to generate the energy that powers your body — and magnesium plays a significant role in these metabolic processes. Magnesium-dependent enzymes also participate in the production of sugars and fatty acids. Although people with a magnesium deficiency often experience no symptoms, weakness and fatigue are possible, early red flags.
Magnesium malate is touted by some as a remedy to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, including fatigue. However, the authors of a meta-analysis of 11 studies concluded that the use of magnesium and malic acid has little to no effect on fibromyalgia symptoms, as reported in the May 2019 issue of the journal Medwave.
Magnesium supplements are also sometimes promoted to relieve fatigue caused by chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis) and multiple sclerosis. The effectiveness of magnesium supplementation for fatigue relief in people with these conditions, however, has yet to be proven conclusively. Additional research is needed.
Every organ system and tissue in your body relies on magnesium. So if you're not getting enough magnesium in your diet, supplementing with magnesium malate or another form of the mineral will help keep your body systems humming. In fact, magnesium serves a crucial role in so many biological functions that numerous authors have written entire books devoted to the topic!
Here's how magnesium plays a role in maintaining good health:
- Nucleic acid synthesis: Virtually all body tissues undergo turnover, meaning new cells replace old ones. Cell replication requires the synthesis of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). Magnesium is essential to this process. It also stabilizes the new genetic material and participates in repairing nucleic acid damage.
- Protein synthesis: Magnesium-dependent processes enable your body to make the proteins it needs. This supports cell turnover as well as the production of antibodies, hormones and transport proteins, such as fat-carrying lipoproteins in your bloodstream and oxygen-carrying heme in your red blood cells.
- Nerve signaling: Magnesium helps control the conduction of nerve cell impulses. A defiency makes nerves "irritable," which can lead to symptoms such as numbness or tingling. Seizures can occur with severe magnesium deficiency.
- Muscle contractions: The balance of calcium and magnesium is key to normal contractions of both your voluntary and involuntary muscles. Magnesium deficiency can causes muscle-related symptoms such as weakness, twitching and cramps. It can also cause heart rhythm abnormalities.
- Strong bones: Approximately 60 percent of the magnesium in your body resides in your bones, primarily as crystals that impart bone strength. If a magnesium deficiency occurs, the body mobilizes bone magnesium to counter the shortfall in the rest of the body. Over time, this leads to weakened bones and contributes to osteoporosis.
Read more: What Is Healthy Bone Mass?
It's Linked to Reduced Blood Pressure
Magnesium promotes blood vessel dilation and magnesium deficiency is linked to heart diseases such as hypertension and atherosclerosisis, as explained in a September 2015 Nutrients review article.
As of 2019, evidence indicates that magnesium supplementation results in a small but statistically significant reduction in blood pressure. In fact, a meta-analysis that combined the findings from 22 studies involving 1,173 participants showed that magnesium supplementation provoked a 3 to 4 mmHg reduction systolic blood pressure (SBP) and a 2 to 3 mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure (DBP), as reported in April 2012 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, such as 120/80 mmHg. The first number is the systolic blood pressure, meaning the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts/beats. The second number is the diastolic pressure, meaning the arterial pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.
A more recent meta-analysis evaluating the effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure combined the findings from 34 studies involving 2,028 participants. The researchers found that three months of magnesium supplementation at a median dose of 368 milligrams per day reduced both SBP and DBP by 2 mmHg, as reported in the August 2016 issue of the journal Hypertension.
Notably, as of July 2019, neither the American Heart Association nor any other medical authority recommends magnesium supplementation for the prevention or treatment of high blood pressure. Talk with your doctor if you are considering a magnesium supplement like magnesium malate for reducing your blood pressure.
Magnesium supplements are not a substitute for medications prescribed to lower blood pressure. Do not stop or reduce the dosage of any prescribed blood pressure medication unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
Other Possible Health Benefits
Low magnesium intake has been associated with a number of health conditions, including heart attack, stroke, migraines, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer's disease, depression and asthma. But before you stock up on magnesium malate or another magnesium supplement to prevent or treat these conditions, slow your roll!
Research has not yet established that magnesium supplementation decreases your risk for these conditions nor that it alters their course. Keep in mind as well that too much supplemental magnesium can harm you.
Most experts agree that obtaining the nutrients your body needs is best accomplished through your diet. That said, medications and medical conditions can interfere with the effective absorption and maintenance of healthful levels of essential dietary nutrients like magnesium. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking a magnesium supplement like magnesium malate.
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements: "Magnesium"
- Medwave: "Magnesium and Malic Acid Supplement for Fibromyalgia"
- Physiological Reviews: "Magnesium in Man: Implications for Health and Disease"
- Nutrients: "Magnesium and Osteoporosis: Current State of Knowledge and Future Research Directions"
- Nutrients: "Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy"
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Effect of Magnesium Supplementation on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis"
- American Heart Association: "Magnesium May Modestly Lower Blood Pressure"
- Hypertension: "Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials"
- American Heart Association: "Could Adding Minerals to Drinking Water Fight High Blood Pressure?"