Have you heard of using magnesium for weight loss?
If you’re not getting enough magnesium, and weight is an issue, you might be starving your body of the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy weight.
Here, we’ll explain why a magnesium deficiency might be making it harder for you to lose weight. We’ll talk about how magnesium supports reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, plus what you can do to bring your magnesium levels up and ease that weight loss.
Finally, we’ll explain why one of the popular supplement options is magnesium citrate for weight loss.
Signs a Magnesium Deficiency is Sabotaging Your Weight
Sometimes losing weight is more a matter of what you’re not getting, than of what you are. A magnesium deficiency can definitely make it harder to lose weight.
If your diet lacks magnesium (and most North Americans are deficient) you might notice that you:
- Never feel satiated, even when you’ve overeaten
- Crave sugary, starchy foods
- Feel like you’re emotionally eating because you feel low
- Hold onto fat, especially around your abdomen
- Worry that you just have ‘bad genes’ when it comes to fat storage
- Feel too tired to exercise or make good food choices
If you can say yes to the above, you might need more magnesium to reach your weight goals.
Magnesium Deficiency May Trigger Overeating
Your calorie-intake may be adequate, but if you’re magnesium-deficient, you’ll be nutrient-starved. That’s because magnesium activates enzymes responsible for digestion, absorption and use of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Without magnesium, your body may be tricked into thinking you’re not eating enough. Often, we may be overeating to compensate for malnutrition at a cellular level.
Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND and author of The Magnesium Miracle explains:
“Magnesium and the B-complex vitamins are energy nutrients…Lack of these necessary energy nutrients causes improper utilization of food, leading to such far-ranging symptoms as hypoglycemia, anxiety, and obesity.
Food craving and overeating can be simply a desire to continue eating past fullness because the body is, in fact, craving nutrients that are missing from processed food.” (Kindle version p. 2804)
We’ve all been there, right? Cupboard door open, hand in the box of crackers or chips or low fat snack doo-thingies, but endlessly hungry.
And then maybe we hear that more protein or more fat is the key to feeling full, and we try it, but still, something is missing and our body just won’t be satisfied.
If magnesium is missing, you may be caught in the cycle of endless hunger.
Low Magnesium Kick-Starts Sugar Cravings
It’s not just overeating we have to worry about if we’re low in magnesium.
Sugar cravings can spike when we don’t get enough of this essential mineral. That’s because low magnesium allows stress hormones to hijack your metabolism and drive sugar cravings.
Without adequate magnesium your insulin and glucose levels go haywire because magnesium is necessary for insulin to open cell membranes for glucose. Instead of using up the sugar for energy, your body will store fat around your middle, while you get stuck in a never-ending quest for sugar.
Sugar also depletes our magnesium stores, so it’s easy to get caught in a vicious cycle. You crave sugar because you’re low in magnesium and end up even lower because your body used up magnesium metabolosing sugar.
It’s not just risky for your waistline. It’s risky for your health. Studies show that low magnesium leaves you at higher risk for diabetes.
Low Magnesium May Lead to Emotional Eating
When we’re blue, we can be experiencing low seratonin, a ‘feel-good’ hormone that also regulates appetite. We need sunlight to produce serotonin, so if you live in Canada or another northern area, you may really notice the lack in the long, dark winter months.
When we have enough serotonin coursing through our brains, we feel more satiated, and it’s easier to pass up comfort foods, like the simple carbohydrates that give us a temporary lift.
Magnesium aids in the conversion of the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, regulating appetite and exerting a powerful influence on our mood. We’re less likely to fall into the emotional eating trap when we get enough magnesium.
Magnesium Deficiency Linked to Fat Storage
Have you ever been in a situation where you know you’re not overdoing the calories, but you just keep storing fat? It seems so unfair. You wonder if you’ve ruined your metabolism because there seems to be no other explanation.
Or is there?
Dean explains that magnesium is needed for “insulin to usher glucose into cells, where glucose is involved in making energy for the body. If there is not enough magnesium to do this job, both insulin and glucose become elevated. The excess glucose gets stored as fat”. (pp. 2809 – 2810)
In other words, some people really are just storing more fat – and it has to do with magnesium-deficiency.
Magnesium, Vitamin B & Obesity Genes
We’ve come to think of genes as our fate, but Dr. Dean’s research says otherwise. According to Dean, magnesium makes a difference in whether those genes are ‘expressed’, or in other words, whether genes for obesity are allowed to control our weight.
In Dean’s own words, “if a mouse with an obesity gene is deprived of B vitamins, the obesity will be expressed. But if it is fed plenty of B vitamins, it will remain thin. The process of metabolizing B vitamins is called methylation, and magnesium is necessary for one of the most important steps.” (p.2816)
So, if you’re feeling like the weight you carry is intractable; it just doesn’t respond to diet or exercise, think about whether you’re getting enough magnesium.
Low Magnesium Leaves You Exhausted & Hungry
Penelope Cruz once famously attributed her svelte figure to 12 hours of sleep a night. Now 12 hours may be excessive (not to mention, impractical), but she is on to something.
When we sleep poorly, we compensate for fatigue with calorie-rich pick-me-ups.
It’s harder to make good nutrition decisions when we’re tired, and it’s difficult to exercise as well.
Few people realize, however, that insufficient sleep triggers changes in hormones. These hormones (ghrelin and leptin) regulate appetite and calorie intake, and when they’re skewed, we’re more likely to overeat. Many of us know this intuitively. When we’re tired, we just can’t stop snacking.
Luckily, insomnia can be addressed by adding magnesium to your diet.
“Magnesium regulates neurotransmitters which connect the nervous system and the brain, helping to encourage a sense of calm in the body. It also has an effect on the hormone melatonin which is responsible for the body’s sleep/wake cycles. In fact, magnesium binds to the same neurotransmitter, GABA, that is used by prescription sleep medications like Ambien. That’s all-natural sleep power without the drowzy side effects!” – Woman’s World
Foods that are rich in magnesium are, conveniently, foods that are ideal for weight-management: e.g., dark, leafy greens, seeds, whole grains, beans and other fibrous, unprocessed foods.
You may not be able to get enough magnesium through diet, but eating magnesium-rich foods is always a good idea.
Do You Need More Magnesium for Weight Loss?
First, know that magnesium isn’t just for weight loss. Our bodies need this essential mineral for hundreds of biochemical processes. Getting more magnesium can dramatically improve your health and even save your life.
However, it can be difficult to meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium through diet. You’d need two to three cups of beans a day, for example, to get your RDA of 300 – 400 mg per day for adults.
Spinach, nuts, and seeds are also excellent sources. But it can be surprising just how much of a magnesium-rich food you need to reach your RDA.
Some days you may reach your target, but on the days when you don’t, it’s easy to boost your intake of this essential mineral with Natural Calm magnesium citrate.
You should also be sure to get your RDA of the B-complex vitamins and the mineral, chromium. These play vital roles in energy and blood sugar regulation, central to weight-management.
What You’ll Notice When You Boost Your Magnesium
Sometimes the best way to tell if you’re getting enough magnesium for weight loss is to look at your symptoms and how you feel.
When you get enough magnesium, you’ll enjoy more consistent, enduring energy throughout the day.
You’ll find it’s easier to exercise and you feel better afterwards when your magnesium levels are healthy.
Your body will make optimal use of nutrients, and you’ll find relief from insatiability and cravings. You might even notice your sugar cravings disappear. (Natural Calm fans have told us this happens!)
You’ll also notice improvements in your sleep. As discussed, improved sleep is one of the reasons we recommend magnesium for weight loss. (It’s just so much easier to stick to your diet and exercise when you’re rested, and you can skip feeling those tired hangries.)
Magnesium helps to reduce inflammation and blood pressure, so exercise will also be safer and more comfortable.
With enough magnesium (and a healthy diet, high in fiber), you’ll also be regular… which brings us to the next topic: why magnesium citrate for weight loss?
Why Magnesium Citrate for Weight Loss
Magnesium supplements come in many different forms. One of the most popular is magnesium citrate, which you’ll find in Natural Calm award-winning magnesium supplements
In a clinical trial, Natural Calm magnesium citrate was found to be better absorbed than other leading Canadian magnesium supplements.
Why magnesium citrate for weight loss? For one, it’s proven absorbable, so magnesium citrate can be effectively used, whereas other, less absorbable supplements aren’t fully taken up in the bloodstream where magnesium is needed.
Magnesium citrate also draws water into the bowels and helps with regularity. If you experience constipation-related bloating, magnesium citrate can definitely help. You’ll feel lighter immediately and look better in clothes when your bowel movements are regular.
Natural Calm is available in five delicious (sugar-free) organic fruit flavours and in a low-sugar gummy. Shop the full line-up of Natural Calm magnesium supplements here.
Does Magnesium Help with Weight Loss?
To re-cap, magnesium helps with weight loss by:
- Helping the body to metabolize nutrients, to prevent deficiency-related overeating
- Making efficient use of carbohydrates for energy, so you don’t crave sugar
- Generating energy for exercise
- Moderating stress and anxiety, to prevent emotional eating
- Regulating insulin to prevent storage of excess glucose as fat
- Supporting vitamin B metabolism to keep obesity genes in check
- Promoting a restful sleep, so you don’t overeat to compensate for fatigue
Together with a healthy diet, portion control, and exercise, magnesium is an excellent nutritional support for weight loss!