The magnesium rich foods you eat have been linked to increased immunity in some studies.
And it may be the food that’s been the most powerful.
The latest research into the link between food and immune system health is based on a study involving more than 30,000 people, including nearly 5,000 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who were randomly assigned to eat a high-protein diet containing 15 grams of magnesium per day or a low-protein one containing 2 grams of the element.
Magnesium is essential for the body to function, and it’s also found in a variety of nutrients like folate, vitamin B6, and zinc.
According to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, magnesium is one of the main minerals that are important for our immune system.
Researchers have found that consuming high-quality magnesium in its pure form can help regulate inflammation in the lungs, which can help reduce the risk of developing chronic obstructions.
“It’s not just about magnesium,” says Dr Andrew Barcham, a cardiologist at the University of Queensland.
“It’s about taking magnesium supplements.”
“When people are taking a magnesium supplement, they are taking magnesium as well as the other essential nutrients, like vitamins B6 and vitamin B12, which have a significant effect on the immune system,” he says.
In a controlled study, researchers found that people who consumed the higher-protein version of the diet had lower levels of inflammatory markers and a lower risk of dying from all causes.
But it wasn’t just the body that was changing.
“The results of this study were replicated in other studies with similar results,” Dr Barchac says.
“We found that in healthy people, the people who were consuming a high protein supplement had a lower incidence of developing asthma and COPD, and they also had a higher incidence of heart disease and death from all diseases.”
He says it’s important to remember that while there are many factors that affect the immune response, magnesium in particular, has a strong effect.
Dr Barcha says it is important to look beyond the nutritional aspect, as it’s a powerful medicine that can be used in combination with other factors to treat a variety and complex conditions.
“There are many different reasons why people respond better to magnesium,” he explains.
He says the most important is that magnesium helps with inflammation and the release of immune-boosting chemicals.
“In people who have chronic obstructives, for example, magnesium may help to keep the blood vessels open and reduce blood clots,” he said.
It’s also important to note that magnesium has other benefits, such as a reduction in cholesterol, which may reduce the damage to the heart caused by atherosclerosis, which is a type of plaque that builds up in arteries.
While this research has only been done in people with COPD or other chronic obstructivity, Dr Barcam says magnesium could also be helpful for people with asthma or asthma-related conditions.
There are currently no approved magnesium supplements for people who are allergic to it, so if you’re struggling to get enough of it, it’s worth trying out a few supplements before taking them for your own health.
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