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The Vital Magnesium-Vitamin B6 Connection: Are You Missing Out?

You may be familiar with the connection between magnesium, calcium and vitamins K2 and D, and how they work in tandem in your body. But have you heard of the vital link between magnesium and vitamin B6?

Individually, magnesium and vitamin B6 are both essential for your brain health, blood sugar levels and heart health, but there’s an important reason why you need to take these two together as well.

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Being the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body, it’s not surprising that magnesium has plenty of biological functions in your system — over 600, in fact. Magnesium can:

Help relax your muscles as well as your blood vessels — Being deficient in it can cause muscle cramps and weakness

Promote mental and physical relaxation — It’s a stress antidote that works by boosting GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that relaxes your nervous system. Magnesium also helps boost your melatonin production

Help with detoxification and reduce damage from EMFs

Help regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, potentially protecting against Type 2 diabetes

The good news is that magnesium is abundant in foods. Leafy greens like broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and kale are wonderful sources. Love berries and avocados? They also pack a magnesium punch. You can even get magnesium from seeds and nuts, as well as raw cacao nibs and cocoa powder (just make sure to grab the unsweetened variety). So as long as you consume a well-balanced diet, your magnesium stores are not likely to run out.

Yet, plenty of people are still deficient in this nutrient. In the U.S., 45% of adults are not meeting the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium. The primary culprit: eating mostly processed foods instead of fresh, whole foods. In this case, taking a magnesium supplement may be a good idea.

So what happens if you fail to get enough magnesium? Your body will then leach this nutrient from your bones, muscles and internal organs, leading to severe health issues like kidney and liver damage and osteoporosis.

Here’s where vitamin B6 comes in. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble nutrient that works by “escorting” magnesium to where your body needs it. This helps ensure that the magnesium you’re getting, whether from foods or supplements, is being used adequately and, in effect, helps prevent deficiency.

Aside from its role in optimizing your magnesium absorption, vitamin B6 itself has plenty of vital benefits, particularly for brain health. Research has found that being deficient in B vitamins, including B6, can put you at risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Vitamin B6 also works to help improve your:

Metabolism, by helping break down amino acids in the muscles to be used as energy and by converting lactic acid to glucose in your liver

Immune system, as it helps create white blood cells that fight infections

Hair and skin health, by reducing hair loss and alleviating dermatitis

Just like magnesium, you can get vitamin B6 in a variety of foods. Beef, turkey and chicken and wild-caught salmon are some excellent examples. Sweet potatoes, avocados, banana, spinach, pistachios and sunflower seeds also have optimal amounts of vitamin B6. Nutritional yeast is also an excellent source.