The Top 10 Benefits Of Magnesium, According To A Functional Medicine Expert


As a functional medicine practitioner, I am no stranger to nutrient deficiencies. Unfortunately, due to our modern diets and multiple other factors, it can make getting enough nutrients difficult and leaving close to 92% of people deficient in at least one nutrient.

Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common amongst my patients. And while it might not seem super important at first glance, it is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions and plays a role in everything from your sleep quality to your heart health.

That’s why I believe we all should be getting more magnesium into our lives. Read on to learn more about how magnesium can help you reclaim your health.


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Magnesium health benefits

1. It helps you sleep

Magnesium is essential for your brain’s GABA receptors to function optimally, which play a role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. In fact, studies have shown that people with insomnia were able to improve their sleep with regular magnesium supplementation. (1)

2. It reduces headaches

Many people with chronic headaches and migraines are deficient in magnesium and many others have genetic mutations that make metabolizing magnesium difficult. Magnesium helps headache sufferers find relief as it works to relax blood vessels in the brain that are constricted during times of headaches.

3. It alleviates muscle cramps

Have you ever been jolted awake out of a dead sleep from a muscle spasm? If so, you might not be getting enough magnesium since this nutrient is responsible for proper neuromuscular transmission and muscle contraction. 

4. It keeps you regular

Constipation is no fun, especially chronic constipation. Many supplements designed to get you moving again are formulated with magnesium because of its ability to quickly give you relief. Magnesium works by increasing the amount of water in your intestines to loosen up your stool and move it through. While this is great for constipation, be careful with taking too much magnesium in supplement form or you might just experience the opposite problem!

5. It enhances cognitive function

Magnesium can do wonders for your brain in more ways than one. Not only does it help improve short- and long-term memory, it also improves neuroplasticity (your brain’s ability to adapt and heal) to improve your memory in the present as well as preventing age-related memory loss. (2)

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6. It boosts your energy

Feeling tired every day might be common, but it’s certainly not normal. Whether you are suffering from chronic fatigue due to a magnesium deficiency or just looking to enhance your energy with magnesium’s ability to regulate cortisol levels - the hormone that contributes to adrenal fatigue when out of balance - magnesium supplementation can help! (3)

7. It calms anxiety

In cases of anxiety, your excitatory NMDA receptor in your brain has gone out of control. It’s a case of “too much of a good thing” and magnesium can help calm this down to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

8. It strengthens your bones

Magnesium really does everything doesn’t it? Studies have even shown that magnesium is necessary for healthy bones to reduce your risk of fractures and breaks as you age. (4)

9. It helps manage ADHD

Due to magnesium’s role in brain function and neurotransmitter activity, studies have shown its ability to help calm symptoms of the neurodevelopmental disorder ADHD, with regular supplementation. (5)

10. It supports cardiovascular health

High blood pressure has long been associated with poor cardiovascular health. Studies have looked at the correlation between magnesium and heart health, with results showing a significant decrease in both blood pressure (6) and overall heart disease risk (7) when magnesium supplements were added.

How to get more magnesium

Thankfully, it’s not hard to add more magnesium into your life. In fact, a lot of foods contain magnesium and it’s a matter of adding more into your diet. Some of my favorites include pumpkin seeds, avocados, dark chocolate, almonds, and wild-caught salmon.

However, if you are dealing with a magnesium deficiency or looking to really target one of these health problems, supplementation might be necessary along with dietary changes. A functional medicine doctor can run labs to help you determine if you are deficient.

While you can get magnesium supplements at most health food stores, the absorption rate is pretty poor. This is because most magnesium supplements are primarily used for constipation relief rather than targeted health support. Plus, there are often a lot of unnecessary added ingredients that aren’t doing your health any favors.

That’s why I went ahead and formulated my supplement The Magnesium with carefully curated magnesium compounds backed by research and studies for their enhanced bioavailability – specifically Albion chelated magnesium plus MagteinTM (magnesium L-threonate), the only form of magnesium proven in animal studies to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Because I know firsthand just how important magnesium is for your overall health I wanted to make getting more magnesium easier for you.

As one of the first functional medicine telehealth clinics in the world, we provide webcam health consultations for people around the globe.


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  1. Abbasi, Behnood et al. “The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of research in medical sciences : the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences vol. 17,12 (2012): 1161-9.
  2. Kirkland, Anna E et al. “The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders.” Nutrients vol. 10,6 730. 6 Jun. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10060730
  3. Cox, I M et al. “Red blood cell magnesium and chronic fatigue syndrome.” Lancet (London, England) vol. 337,8744 (1991): 757-60. doi:10.1016/0140-6736(91)91371-z
  4. New, S A et al. “Dietary influences on bone mass and bone metabolism: further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health?.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 71,1 (2000): 142-51. doi:10.1093/ajcn/71.1.142
  5. Starobrat-Hermelin, B, and T Kozielec. “The effects of magnesium physiological supplementation on hyperactivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Positive response to magnesium oral loading test.” Magnesium research vol. 10,2 (1997): 149-56.
  6. Kass, Lindsy S, and Filipe Poeira. “The effect of acute vs chronic magnesium supplementation on exercise and recovery on resistance exercise, blood pressure and total peripheral resistance on normotensive adults.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol. 12 19. 24 Apr. 2015, doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0081-z
  7. Abbott, Robert D et al. “Dietary magnesium intake and the future risk of coronary heart disease (the Honolulu Heart Program).” The American journal of cardiology vol. 92,6 (2003): 665-9. doi:10.1016/s0002-9149(03)00819-1

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Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.