Does Magnesium Boost Your Immune System?

Immune support is top of mind right now for good reason.  Elderberry, collagen, mushrooms, echinacea and more are being touted for their immune boosting effects.  However, there is one other mineral that is supported by science for its immune effects: magnesium.  In a published article titled "The Role of Magnesium in Immunity" researchers found that magnesium is a vital nutrient for optimal immune function. 

In the article "Possible Roles of Magnesium on the Immune System," published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers recognized that magnesium is one of the most important micronutrients for our bodies. “Magnesium has a strong relation with the immune system, in both nonspecific and specific immune response, also known as innate and acquired immune response.”

Our Immune System 

Our immune system is complex. The overall function of the immune system is to prevent or limit infection.  According to the National Institute of Infectious Disease (“NIID”) in an article entitled An Overview of the Immune System, the immune system can distinguish between normal, healthy cells and unhealthy cells by recognizing a variety of "danger" cues called danger-associated molecular patterns.  Cells may be unhealthy because of infection or cellular damage. Infectious microbes such as viruses and bacteria release another set of signals recognized by the immune system.

When the immune system first recognizes these signals, it responds to address the problem.  If an immune response cannot be activated when there is a sufficient need, problems arise, like infection.  On the other hand, when an immune response is activated without a real threat or is not turned off once the danger passes, different problems arise, such as allergic reactions and autoimmune disease. 

The immune system is comprised of numerous cell types that either circulate throughout the body or reside in a particular tissue.  Each cell type plays a unique role, with different ways of recognizing problems, communicating with other cells and performing their functions.  According to the NIID, the skin is usually the first line of defense against microbes.  Skin cells produce and secrete important antimicrobial proteins, and immune cells can be found in specific layers of the skin.

Magnesium and Immunity

Clinical studies have described magnesium influence on immune function and inflammation mostly related to magnesium deficiency.  Researchers have determined that a magnesium deficiency stimulates immunopathological changes that are related to the initiation of an inflammatory response.

Low magnesium levels are strongly correlated with low grade systemic inflammation.  Scientists from the University of Washington explained magnesium deficiency and immune response as follows: "Magnesium deficiency produces a clinical inflammatory syndrome with leukocyte and macrophage activation, inflammatory cytokines are released along with an excessive production of free radicals."  Macrophages are a type of white blood cell of the immune system that also help initiate specific defense mechanisms by recruiting other immune cells such as lymphocytes to stimulate the immune system.  However, beyond stimulating the immune system, macrophages also play an important anti-inflammatory role and can decrease immune reactions through the release of cytokines. 

Cytokines have recently been a newsworthy topic since diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza can be fatal due to an overreaction of the body’s immune system called a cytokine storm.  As Alison George describes in New Scientist Magazine, sometimes the body’s response to infection can go into overdrive.  For example, when SARS-CoV-2 – the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic – enters the lungs, it triggers an immune response, attracting immune cells to the region to attack the virus, resulting in localized inflammation. But in some patients, excessive or uncontrolled levels of cytokines are released, which then activate more immune cells, resulting in hyperinflammation. This can seriously harm or even kill the patient.

A successful immune response eliminates the trigger followed by a resolution repair bringing the entire system into homeostasis.  Researchers have determined that the homeostasis of the complex immune system can be affected by magnesium deficiency. 

Magnesium Transdermal or Topical Application 

Since it is believed that over 60 percent of Americans have magnesium deficiency and magnesium is essential to so many operations in our body, including the immune system, the next question is how to replenish magnesium.  Several research studies have concluded that transdermal magnesium or topical magnesium application is an excellent source to fend off magnesium deficiency and compliment a diet with sufficient in foods high in magnesium.  Transdermal magnesium therapy is a form of magnesium supplementation that is easy, convenient and affordable.

Transdermal magnesium is also an excellent choice for the many people who suffer from low tolerance to oral magnesium supplements, evidenced by intestinal complaints.  When consuming a western diet, magnesium levels would not typically be sufficient enough to fend off magnesium deficiency. 

In a peer reviewed Pilot Study on the effects of transdermal magnesium, researchers found that skin does specifically absorb magnesium, demonstrating the efficacy of transdermal delivery.

In another study, Dr. C. Norman Shealy, a trained neuroscientist and medical researcher, performed experiments to test the ability of the skin to absorb magnesium.  His findings indicated that participants using transdermal magnesium delivery and assessed after 4, 12 and 16 weeks, showed marked improvements in their intracellular magnesium levels.

Conclusion

It is clear that it is important to address and resolve magnesium deficiency because magnesium is vital to over 300 reactions in our body, including healthy immune function that is so top of mind today.   An easy and effective method of replenishing much needed magnesium stores is though transdermal or topical delivery, where considerable levels of magnesium can be easily absorbed by the skin. 

Boost and Soothe topical body sprays from Madrigal Creatives each contain 2000 mg of magnesium.  In addition, carefully selected organic essential oils along with CBD offer well-established plant powered anti-inflammatory benefits.  Boost and Soothe were developed to assist consumers in experiencing the purest form of magnesium oil to help curb potential deficiencies while benefiting from other wellness promoting ingredients.