On this website, we discuss many trace minerals, such as copper and iodine. However, magnesium is a mineral that is classified as a major mineral. Even though it isn't as prominent as some of the other major minerals, magnesium plays a role in about 300 biochemical processes that take place inside the body and is an essential nutrient for health and well-being.
Processes in the Body that Need Magnesium
Roughly one-half of the body's supply of magnesium is in the bones. The cells that make up the body's organs and other body tissues store the balance, except for a small amount that's found in the blood.
Like calcium and phosphorus, magnesium is needed to properly develop and maintain the skeletal system. Specifically, magnesium is crucial in enabling the body to absorb calcium. It also helps regulate calcium levels.
Where the heart is concerned, magnesium is just as important.
The reason for this is that this particular essential dietary mineral helps to regulate the heart's rhythm. This vital action helps to reduce the risk of developing arrhythmias..irregular heartbeats which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Magnesium also helps to reduce blood pressure, thereby greatly lowering the risks associated with heart disease. Studies centering on magnesium's ability to lower cholesterol levels are ongoing but show promising results.
Magnesium plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and it is also believed to be involved in the way insulin is released into the body and the way it behaves in general. Magnesium's role in diabetes is also being studied and it seems there is a probable link between diabetes and a magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium helps keep the blood's pH levels in balance by controlling the amount of acid in the blood.
Magnesium, like calcium, helps keep muscles relaxed and it also helps relax the mind. Muscle tension, anxiety and even headaches and migraines can all be kept under better control when the body has sufficient levels of magnesium.
Without magnesium, the body would not be able to produce serotonin, the 'feel good' neurotransmitter.
If you want a natural way to control conditions such as hyperactivity, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or anxiety, you will benefit by taking the recommended daily allowance of this multi-purpose mineral.
For adult men, the recommended daily requirement for magnesium is 350 mg/day. Women should get 280 mg/day. Pregnant women should increase their magnesium intake to 300 mg/day.
Sources of Magnesium
Dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and avocado are excellent sources of magnesium. So too are whole grains, legumes, black beans, brown rice, lentils, almonds, cashews, peanuts and peanut butter, bananas, soybeans, wheat bran and bran flakes, lean meats, dried figs, halibut, crab and sardines are other good sources.
Interestingly, there is a significant amount of magnesium found in hard tap water.
By definition, hard water contains a lot of minerals. If you have hard water where you live, be sure to take advantage of this source!
The first signs of a magnesium deficiency include nausea, vomiting, a loss of appetite, fatigue and a feeling of weakness. As the deficiency progresses, a person can develop an irregular heartbeat, heart spasms, changes in personality, tingling and numbness and muscle cramps. There may even be a concurrent decrease of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
As mentioned above, magnesium deficiencies may also lead to heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
There are many OTC (over the counter) magnesium supplements available. It is also commonly included in most daily multivitamin preparations. If you are at risk due to a problem with your digestion, age, or just poor eating habits, just go find the best daily multivitamin you can, and take it regularly. This will not only assure that you get the magnesium you need, but a broad range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients as well.