Magnesium is usually classified as a macro mineral, which means that our food must provide us with hundreds of milligrams of magnesium each day. Other macrominerals that people need to be replenished every day are: calcium, phosphorus, sodium - food, potassium and chloride.
Magnesium is contained mostly in the bones of the human body (60-65%), but also in muscle (25%) and in other cell types and body fluids. Like all minerals, magnesium can not be manufactured by the body and must be ingested with food.
Functions of Magnesium
- Formation of bones - about two-thirds of the magnesium in your body is in your bones. Part of magnesium helps build bones and their physical structure, as it is located in the same place in the bone as the minerals phosphorus and calcium. Another type of magnesium, however, lies on the surface of bones and acts as a storage of magnesium, the body can use during poor food supply.
- Relaxing the nerves and muscles - Magnesium and calcium work together to regulate the nerve and muscle tone of your body. In many nerve cells, magnesium serves as a chemical blocker, so that calcium can not reach the nerve cells and activate the nerves.
- Other Features
Over 300 different enzymes in the body require magnesium to function. Magnesium is involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It also helps genes function correctly. Your cardiovascular system, digestive system, nervous system, muscles, kidneys, liver, hormone-secreting glands and brain rely on magnesium for their metabolic functions.
Since magnesium plays such a wide variety of roles in the body, the symptoms of magnesium deficiency can vary significantly. Many of the symptoms include changes in nerve and muscle function, muscle weakness, tremors and spasms. In cardiac muscles, magnesium deficiency can lead to arrhythmia, irregular contraction and an increased heart rate.
Because of the role of magnesium in bone structure, softening and weakening of bones can also be a symptom of magnesium deficiency. Other symptoms include: imbalanced blood sugar, headache, high blood pressure, elevated blood fats, depression, seizures, nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite.
The most common symptom of toxicity associated with high levels of magnesium is diarrhea. Magnesium toxicity may be associated with many common symptoms such as increased drowsiness or feeling faint.
Permissible limit (UL) for magnesium intake is 350 milligrams per day for persons 9 years and older. However, this limit applies only to magnesium derived from nutritional supplements.
Some foods that have a high percentage of magnesium are found to lose it in water - blanching, steaming or boiling may detract significant amounts of magnesium. In other foods, however, such as almonds and peanuts, there is very little loss of magnesium in baking or processing.
Some types of diuretics, used to lower blood pressure, including thiazide diuretics as Diuril or Enduron jeopardize the status of magnesium in the body. Antibiotics can also lead to lower availability of magnesium.
Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium may play an important role in the prevention and/or treatment of the following diseases: alcoholism, angina, arrhythmia, asthma, chronic fatigue, congenital heart disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, stroke, AIDS, hypertension, inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, peptic ulcers, PMS and more.
Magnesium can be purchased as a dietary supplement in one of two basic forms: chelated or non- chelated. Chelated magnesium is associated with block proteins (called amino acids). The most widely available supplements of this type are magnesium glycinate, magnesium aspartate and Taurene magnesium.
Magnesium can also be attached to an organic acid (as citrate) or fatty acid (as stearate). Non- chelated magnesium compounds include magnesium oxide, magnesium sulfate and magnesium carbonate.