Minerals: Essential for Health – Magnesium
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Magnesium serves hundreds of functions within the body and is an important part of bone health, heart health, a healthy nervous system, cellular energy, hormone regulation and the relaxation and activation of muscle tissue. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
Magnesium is present in all cells of the body. It is a mineral that is critical for energy production and metabolism, muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, and bone mineralization. It helps to regulate calcium transport and absorption. By stimulating the secretion of calcitonin, it aids the influx of calcium into bone and promotes optimal bone mineralization. Magnesium has been called nature’s calcium channel blocker – it blocks calcium from entering muscle and heart cells.
All human cells contain a minute amount of magnesium. The Adult human body contains about 25 gms. of this mineral. The greater part of this amount is present in bones in combination with phosphate and carbonate. About 2% of the total magnesium in the human body is in the soft tissues, where it is mainly bound to protein. Next to potassium, magnesium is the predominant mineral in living cells. The bones seem to provide a reserve supply of this mineral in case of shortage elsewhere in the body.
Magnesium is an important mineral that is often overlooked by most people. Most people, almost 90% of the populations, don’t get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of magnesium from their diet alone. The RDA of magnesium is 320 mg/day for women and 420 mg/day for men.
Magnesium has been called a miracle mineral alongside chromium, zinc and selenium. It is essential to a wide variety of body functions, including energy production, transmission of nerve impulses, protein formation, and the production of DNA material. It also helps maintain normal levels of potassium, phosphorus and calcium.
Magnesium plays a big part in keeping the heart healthy. It helps to relax the heart muscles to maintain a regular heartbeat and prevent arrhythmia. It also plays a role in relieving high blood pressure and angina. Magnesium protects the heart by discouraging the aggregation (clumping) of red blood cells, which can lead to the formation of blood clots. Magnesium keeps calcium from building up in the arteries and causing blockage.
Magnesium regulates the amount of calcium required to keep the heartbeat steady. While too much calcium causes the heart muscles to contract too much, which may cause heart attack, magnesium causes muscles to relax. Magnesium is called nature’s calcium channel blocker. It also helps prevent calcium deposits in kidneys and gallbladder – Magnesium is often combined with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) to help dissolve kidney stones.
Magnesium is essential for the development and maintenance of healthy bones. It can reverse osteoporosis, slowing down and even reversing the bone loss – If taken in relatively high amounts, it works together with calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones strong and prevent osteoporosis.
Magnesium helps relax muscles, keeping them flexible and healthy. This makes proper magnesium level important for anyone experiencing muscle issues, such as fibromyalgia or back pain.
Health benefits of magnesium also include relief of symptoms in PMS, relieving migraines, insomnia and depression, backache, constipation, kidney stones and chronic fatigue. It is necessary for all muscular activity. It aids in keeping nerves relaxed and normally balanced, thus helps one keep calm and cool.
Magnesium is vital for the transmission of Nerve Impulses. This makes it important for everyone, but especially important for those experiencing certain types of psychiatric disorders. By helping nerve impulse and relaxing muscles, many panic and anxiety disorders can be eased.
Magnesium also helps with Type 2 Diabetes by regulating the production of insulin. Up to 80 percent of those with type 2 diabetes have a magnesium deficiency. This happens when high glucose levels make the body flush magnesium from its system. In a recent study, people with diabetes who took magnesium supplements had improved insulin and glucose levels.
Magnesium is needed for transforming glucose into energy. It is an activator for most of the enzymes in the system involving carbohydrate, fat and protein in energy-producing reactions. It is involved in the production of lecithin which prevents building up of cholesterol and consequent atherosclerosis.
Magnesium is the major player of our body’s metabolic process. Magnesium functions in conjunction with the other vitamins such as the B-complex, vitamin C, and vitamin E. This vital mineral also plays a part in regulating the body’s temperature.
Magnesium is a powerful antioxidant that keeps cell membranes flexible and protected against the onslaught of cancer-causing free radicals.
Deficiency Symptoms of Magnesium:
Magnesium deficiency causes leg cramps, migraines, fatigue, sleep-disturbances, irritability, confusion, and heart arrhythmia.
Symptoms may also include diarrhea, soft and porous bones, poor digestion, GI upsets, spasms, tachycardia, nervousness, kidney stones, convulsions and poor complexion. A severe magnesium deficiency may result in coronary heart disease, mental confusion, and blood clot formation.
Rich Food Sources of Magnesium:
All fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, seaweeds, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, potatoes, sesame seeds, alfalfa, figs, brown rice, kelp, pineapple, honey, celery, whole-grain products, almonds, avocados, bananas, apples, peaches, lima-beans, black-eyed peas, wheat germ, brown rice and whole grains.
Supplementation & Dosage:
The best forms of Magnesium are Magnesium Malate, Magnesium Taurate, Magnesium Chelates, Chlorides, Aspartates, and Citrates.
Magnesium Amino Acid Chelates: These are magnesiums that are attached to an amino acid such as aspartate, orotate and gluconate.
Magnesium amino acid chelates include:
- Magnesium Malate
- Magnesium Taurate
- Magnesium Glycinate
- Magnesium Lysinate
- Magnesium Orotate
Magnesium Malate: This less well-known combination has been studied for use in fibromyalgia. Since malate is a substrate in the cellular energy cycle, it can help improve ATP production and may reduce muscle pain and tender points in fibromyalgia patients. It converts to Mag + Malic acid to help dissolve gall/kidney stones. Malate is also an Aluminum chelator and has a proven record in both Lyme treatment and Fibromanalgia.
Magnesium Taurate: Both magnesium and the amino acid taurine share the ability to improve cardiac function; each has a potentiating effect on insulin sensitivity and also a calming effect on neuromuscular excitability. The actions of both have striking similarities when it comes to cardiovascular health. They both have blood pressure reducing effects, stabilize nerve cells, improve the contraction of the heart muscle and have an anti-thrombotic effect.7 Additionally, low levels of vitamin B6 have been shown to further deplete both magnesium and taurine.
Magnesium glycinate: This form is chelated with glycine, a non-essential amino acid. It is easily absorbed by the body, as it gets carried to cells bound to the amino acid. Magnesium Glycinate is desirable especially to those who suffer from the laxative effect of magnesium.
Magnesium Chloride has been found to have the highest bioavailability of the above types of magnesium, due to its superior solubility in water.
This form of Magnesium comes as a liquid and is harvested from the Dead Sea. Attached to the chloride it is a salt of magnesium and as such it is highly absorbable. 12% of it is magnesium and because it is a salt version is useful for quick absorption when vitally depleted. Sports events would find a great use for this.
Magnesium Aspartate (sometimes called magnesium aspartate complex) has an absorption rate of up to 70% which is one of the highest rates of the different forms of magnesiums. It is bound to aspartic acid (an amino acid) .
Magnesium Citrate: This is magnesium bound to a form of citric acid. About 14% of it is magnesium and it has an absorption rate that equals that of aspartate and seems to have an okay carrier ratio.
100 mg dosage taken twice a day with food. Magnesium supplements are best taken with a meal containing some fat, as they are more efficiently absorbed when taken with food.
Magnesium and calcium supplements should be taken together. For better absorption, Magnesium may be taken with Vitamins D3 and K2. Combining Magnesium with calcium in 1:1 ratio is also a good idea – some nutritionists suggest a ration of 1:2 (Mg 1, Ca 2) – But, in my opinion, since most people in Western countries are not deficient in calcium, a better ratio is 1:1.
Avoid taking magnesium in “Oxide” form – it is the cheapest supplement form that is not suitable for human body. Also, make sure that magnesium stearate is NOT in the ingredient list.
Magnesium supplementation in excess of 500mg per day may cause serious health problems. Such dosage should only be taken in consultation with a health service provider. Severe nausea and vomiting, extremely low blood pressure, extreme muscle weakness, difficulty breathing and heartbeat irregularity.