Can Magnesium Help Me Fight Inflammation?

chronic inflammation


Is magnesium a super mineral? Maybe…Your body needs it for many enzymatic reactions. Every cell in your body needs it to function properly. It’s a key player in quality sleep due to its influence on neurotransmitters.

Let’s not forget its impact on inflammatory markers like CRP. It can even help cut your risk of Type II diabetes and aid stress management. But you’re probably wondering– can magnesium help me fight inflammation — let’s find out!



When the body feels stress, it shifts into “Fight or Flight” mode, reprioritizing your needs. This means that its normal workload – things like digestion, absorption, elimination, assessment, and metabolism – takes a back seat to its “fight or flight” efforts.

And today, this happens a lot more than you may be aware of because stress, by the body’s definition, is not just the bad stuff. The body reacts to all your good stress this exact same way too!

Thus, the expression “Life Happens” could really be “Stress Happens” and you need to help your body manage that stress better. To help your body manage stress better, more often, you need enough of this mineral in your cells.

For one thing, it plays an essential stress management role. When stress happens, calcium enters the cell. Magnesium needs to be there to push calcium back out, thereby turning off the stress response and enabling relaxation.

Who isn’t getting enough magnesium? Most of us. >70% of US adults currently do not meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 400 mg. That’s not better!

Food preferences, intolerances, processing, soil health, and intake of other nutrients are just some of the reasons why your intake may be too low. That’s not better either!



If your body does not have enough magnesium to meet its needs, guess what happens? Problems sleeping! Too much or too little of this mineral can result in sleep disruptions, so it’s important to take in the right amount.

Some people are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency. If you have diabetes, digestive problems, alcohol dependence, or are a senior citizen adequate magnesium intake is super important!

Magnesium may help improve your sleep quality by helping your body and brain relax. It does this by regulating neurotransmitters that send signals to your nervous system along with the hormone melatonin.

Melatonin is responsible for guiding the body’s sleep-wake cycle. By calming down the nervous system, magnesium helps get you ready for a much needed good night’s sleep.

Several studies on older adults have confirmed magnesium’s role in promoting restful sleep. Studies with older adults suffering from insomnia Indicated the magnesium group had better quality sleep.

These results may be due in part to magnesium’s ability to block certain molecules which may stimulate the nervous system from binding to neurons thus promoting a more calm nervous system.



Chronic magnesium deficiency is common in people with Type II diabetes, especially if it’s poorly controlled. Low intake of magnesium-rich foods, insulin resistance, and increased magnesium loss in urine may be contributing factors.

A 2004 study of 5400 women diagnosed with type II diabetes found those with the highest dietary intakes of magnesium had a significantly lower risk of developing type II diabetes.

However, it’s not crystal clear if magnesium deficiency is partly a cause of diabetes or the result of having type II diabetes. But these two factors do appear to be linked to one another in this vicious cycle.



So, how are stress, sleep, and diabetes linked to inflammation? Inflammation is a key factor in the development of all three.

Restorative sleep is crucial for so many of your body’s functions. However, chronic inflammation can disrupt your sleep cycle and keep you from getting adequate REM sleep so you’ll feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning.

This lack of restful sleep ends up making your inflammation harder to manage so you feel more stress, anxiety, and pain which leads to problems falling asleep the next night and ultimately, may lead to struggles with insomnia. Not good!

Chronic stress is a common pathway to many chronic diseases according to a 2017 study review. Stress may cause you to eat more “comfort foods” which may be comforting but not always healthy! Chronic metabolic illnesses like obesity and Type II diabetes may be the result.

Stressful life experiences are also associated with an increased risk of developing Type II diabetes. Those with chronic stress have also been shown to develop insulin resistance.

Really intense periods of stress may over-activate your immune system throwing inflammation out of balance. Yikes! Inflammation appears to be a common pathway for many chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

However, there are things you can do to help get inflammation back in check and under control. Making sure you’re getting in enough magnesium is one of those things.



Magnesium is the mineral that switches off your body’s stress response to bring on calm! But are you getting enough? Unlikely as 60-80% (depending on your age, and gender) of US diets don’t meet the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for magnesium (~400mg).

What foods are good sources of this mineral?

  • Nuts: Cashews, Almonds, Peanuts
  • Seeds: Hemp, Pumpkin, Sesame, Sunflower
  • Chocolate: Dark chocolate, Cacao nibs
  • Greens: Spinach, Swiss chard, Beet, Turnip Greens
  • Whole Grains: Oatmeal, Millet, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Buckwheat
  • Beans and Legumes: Kidney, Pinto, Navy, Lima Black Beans, Edamame, Tempeh

What about supplements? When choosing a supplement remember: Not all supplements are created equal. There are many different forms to choose from, but most of us don’t absorb magnesium oxide as well as other sources.

Magnesium, gluconate, magnesium glycinate, and magnesium citrate form are better absorbed by the body. Also, calcium and magnesium, like sodium and potassium work in opposition to each other, so if you get more of one nutrient it will increase your needs for the other. Keeping everything in balance is key!


Since inflammation appears to be the root cause of so many conditions, it’s important to do whatever you have to do to get it under control. Meeting your body’s magnesium requirements is one little thing you can do that may make a big difference in your overall health.

This deficiency is the second most common nutrient deficiency — right behind vitamin D — in most developed countries of the world. It affects many vital processes in your body so you better make sure your intake is adequate to meet your body’s needs.

Want to find out if you’re taking in enough magnesium every day? Well, I can help you figure it out — email me and I’ll send you my free Magnesium Evaluation to find if you’re getting the right amount of magnesium to help fight inflammation and stay on the right track.


  • Susan Taylor, RDN LD

    Meet Susan, registered dietitian / nutritionist and fellow autoimmune warrior who is dedicated to helping women with autoimmune disease get their groove back. With the right diet and lifestyle changes, Susan empowers her clients to take control of their health and feel their best. When she's not busy saving the world you can find Susan strolling along the beach, jet-setting to new destinations, and soaking up quality time with family & friends.

    View all posts