When it comes to proper nutrition, we don’t always know what role certain nutrients play in our body’s, just that we need them. Magnesium, for instance, do you know what it is, what it does and how much of it your body needs to function?
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is a chemical element that is essential to the proper function of the human body. According to, Wikipedia, it is the eleventh most abundant element of mass in the human body. Ions found in magnesium are essential to all cells and interact with DNA, RTA and RNA; many ions require magnesium for proper function. Magnesium is also commonly used in laxatives, antacids and to help with certain diseases, such as Eclampsia.
Magnesium is essential to the basic chemistry of cells found in all living organisms, due to its interactions between phosphate and magnesium ions. Enzymes require magnesium ions for their catalytic action. Magnesium is richly found in spices, cereals, cocoa, nuts and vegetables. A great source of magnesium is spinach. Magnesium nutritional supplements are also readily available. Magnesium deficiency is extremely common and found in up to 15% of the population; the primary cause being, decreased dietary intake. Magnesium can be found in many different forms and they can be used to treat many conditions, such as:
- Eclampsia and Preeclampsia
- Restless leg syndrome
Lowered risk of type 2 diabetes
Magnesium plays an important role in glucose metabolism and diets rich in magnesium are associated with a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Magnesium deficiency may worsen insulin resistance. Diabetes leads to an increase in urinary losses of magnesium and subsequent magnesium loss may effect insulin secretion and action, which in turn, worsens diabetes control.
Studies have yet to find a sufficient amount of evidence regarding whether or not taking magnesium supplements can in fact lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. The American diabetes association states there is insufficient evidence, but that hasn’t stopped many people from monitoring their magnesium intake to be sure that they are consuming a healthy amount and in many cases, taking magnesium supplements for its possible relationship to diabetes.
Preventing and reversing osteoporosis
Magnesium is involved in the formation of bones and influences osteoblast and osteoclasts. Magnesium can also effect the concentration of both parathyroid hormone and the active form of vitamin D, both of which are major regulators of bone homeostasis. Many studies have found associations between magnesium intake and bone mineral density. Research has found that women with osteoporosis have lower serum magnesium levels than woman, with osteopenia than those who do not have it. The studies have shown that magnesium deficiency might be a risk factor for osteoporosis. Diets that provide the recommended level of magnesium enhance stronger bone health.
Having a magnesium deficiency is related to some factors that may cause migraine headaches. People who migraine headaches have lower levels of serum and tissue magnesium, than that of those who do not experience migraine headaches. There is limited research available on the association of magnesium and migraines; however, some studies have suggested that consuming 600mg of magnesium daily may prevent migraine headaches. The American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society concluded that magnesium therapy is probably effective in treating migraine headaches, but the recommended dose of magnesium supplements exceeds recommended amounts and should only be done so after consulting a physician.
Hypertension and cardiovascular disease
One of the key benefits of magnesium is that is it associated with lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and higher magnesium intake may also aid the prevention of stroke according to the National Institutes of Health. Having a magnesium deficiency is associated with abnormal heart rhythms, which increases the risk of complications after a heart attack. It is therefore believed, that consuming the proper amount of magnesium can be beneficial to overall cardiovascular health.
Regulating Blood Pressure and preventing Hypertension
Magnesium is believed to play a role in the natural regulation of blood pressure and preventing hypertension. The studies have been limited and require further research. However, many believe that taking magnesium supplements and consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetable is a good place to start when learning to control your blood pressure.
One of the many side effects of having a magnesium deficiency or low magnesium intake, is insomnia. Magnesium can reduce the Neuronal activities in the brain. In turn, by reducing electrical conduction between brain cells, magnesium can reduce the signals that cause anxiety as well as lack of sleep. Magnesium is believed to induce a calm state and promote sedation.
Magnesium is considered an old home remedy for anxiety, apathy, irritability and depression.
Magnesium is vital to the release of serotonin, the brains natural anti-depressant and the release of serotonin cannot function properly if you are low on magnesium. Some believe that magnesium has the properties to treat many psychiatric disorders such as panic attacks, stress, anxiety and undue irritation.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Magnesium is used to treat restless leg syndrome and muscle spasms, a common cause of lack of sleep. Low magnesium levels can lead to poor electrical conduction in Neurons in the muscles, leading to increased muscular activity. The resulting effect is muscle spasms and Restless Leg Syndrome.
Helps with pain and cramps
Magnesium can help with back pain, kidney stress, and muscular tension which helps to ease back pain. Symptoms of cramps in the legs are common signs of a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supplements are a cure for body pain for many people.
Magnesium can provide quick relief for those who are suffering from constipation. Magnesium relaxes the intestinal muscles, allowing bowels to pass more easily. Magnesium also works to attract water, helping to soften stools and allow for them to pass much easier. Magnesium is used in many types of laxatives and stool softeners.