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Study Suggests Magnesium May Play Essential Role in Circadian Rhythm

The circadian rhythm refers to physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in a person’s environment. A recent study suggests that the amount of magnesium a person consumes may directly affect their circadian rhythm.

For this study, researchers examined human cells, algae, and fungi. They found that magnesium levels increased and decreased in sync with the day’s cycle. They also found that magnesium levels were linked with the rate of metabolism in cells. They theorized that this was due to the fact that magnesium acts as fuel for the body’s biochemical reactions and those needs change throughout the day and night.

They also noted that magnesium levels were controlled within a feedback loop that helped regulate the genes that control circadian rhythms.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology in Cambridge conducted the study. It was published on April 21, 2016, in the journal Nature.

Magnesium helps build bones, enables nerves to function, and is essential to the production of energy from food. Previous studies have linked magnesium to reduced incidences of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Magnesium deficiency, which tends to be especially prevalent in older populations, is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.

Eating more magnesium rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, meats, starches, grains, nuts and milk is one way to increase your magnesium intake. Taking a supplement is also a good option.

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