Why Magnesium is Critical on a Low Carb Keto Diet

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Why Magnesium is Critical on a Low Carb Keto Diet - Thomas DeLauer


Drinking water, combined with a lack of carbs, results in minerals being excreted through urination, one of which being magnesium

About 50% of magnesium in the body is stored in bones and the other half is mostly located in organs and tissues and is the body’s calming mineral; helping to keep your brain, heart and muscles relaxed - also essential for protein synthesis, blood sugar control, energy metabolism and over 300 other biochemical reactions in the body

A study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that 68% of Americans do not consume the recommended daily intake of magnesium and 11% do not consume even 50% of the RDA

Depleted soil conditions mean that plants (and meat from animals that feed on these plants) are lower in magnesium - use of chemicals like fluoride and chlorine in the water supply make magnesium less available in water since these chemicals can bind to magnesium

I took common problems associated with Keto and looked to see how Magnesium treated them:


Carbs improve entry of the amino acid L-tryptophan into the brain - tryptophan contributes to the production of serotonin, which calms the body and assists the production of melatonin, helping you sleep

Since keto diets mostly eliminate carbs, dietary sources of tryptophan are also eliminated

Mag & Sleep

Magnesium aids the sleep process by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the system responsible for getting you calm and relaxed

The parasympathetic nervous system is one of three divisions of the autonomic nervous system - also called the rest and digest system as it conserves energy as it slows the heart rate

Magnesium also binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors - GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for quieting down nerve activity

It’s the same neurotransmitter used by sleep drugs like Ambien

Keto Breath

Bad breath consists of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). You may not consider that cheeseburger as something that causes bad breath; however, it still provides protein for oral bacteria to eat and convert into sulfur gas
Magnesium is thought to interact with sulfur - this interaction can help prevent and cure bad breath as magnesium may neutralize sulfur molecules before they form odor

The laxative effect of magnesium appears to come through two different mechanisms

Muscle Relaxation: Magnesium relaxes the muscles in the intestines, which can help to establish a smoother flow as the stool passes through the bowels

Stool Softener: Magnesium draws water into the intestines, working as an osmotic laxative

This increase in water stimulates bowel motility - it also softens and increases the size of the stool, triggering a bowel movement and helping to make stools easier to pass


Magnesium directly interacts with your muscle tissue through a process called ion transportation

It bonds with specific receptor sites that open up the cell membrane and allow other mineral ions to enter, such as calcium and potassium - these ions help regulate muscle contractions and might ease muscle tension


Gluconeogenesis increases on keto, demanding more ATP

ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main source of energy in cells, must be bound to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically active. What is called ATP is often actually Mg-ATP
Keto Diet
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