Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral. Magnesium is most comfortable in nature when it gives up two electrons and takes on a double positive charge (Mg2+). It is the fourth most common mineral found in the human body. Half of the magnesium in the body can be found in the bones. Almost all of the rest is in the body’s organs and tissues, with only 1 percent of the total in the blood.
There are mechanisms to keep the blood level of magnesium constant. This is important because magnesium is involved in at least 300 biochemical reactions. In general terms, magnesium is involved in muscle contraction and relaxation, the production as well as transport of energy, the production of protein, and the function of hundreds of enzymes. Even though a significant percent of people, perhaps as high as 20 percent, do not ingest enough magnesium, it is not measured during routine blood tests.
The mineral magnesium, which is found in a wide variety of foods, plays a crucial role in human metabolism. In fact, it is known that magnesium is required for at least 300 chemical reactions in the human body. Probably the most important task performed by magnesium is the production of energy. To do this, magnesium is involved in numerous chemical reactions. In addition, magnesium is needed to maintain nervous system balance. Studies have even shown that supplemental magnesium may alleviate at least some degree of depression.
About 50 to 60 percent of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones. As a result, magnesium serves a vital role in bone metabolism. Therefore, even a small magnesium deficiency may result in a significant amount of bone loss. In laboratory studies, researchers have triggered bone loss when they feed animals low magnesium diets. It is assumed that this also occurs in people.
What Foods Provide Magnesium?
Only a few foods, such as spinach, Swiss chard, and beet greens, are excellent sources of magnesium. Pumpkin seeds, summer squash, and turnip greens have very good amounts of magnesium. But many foods have good amounts. These include soybeans, sesame seeds, black beans, quinoa, cashews, buckwheat, brown rice, barley, tofu, millet, almonds, wheat, tuna, scallops, kale, green beans, raspberries, beets, broccoli, tomatoes, cantaloupe, asparagus, and strawberries. Other sources of magnesium include dairy products, meats, chocolate, and coffee. Water that contains high levels of minerals has magnesium. Magnesium is often included in multivitamins. But magnesium supplementation may be sold as a single ingredient or combined with calcium in a supplement that supports bone health. The most absorbable forms of magnesium are magnesium aspartate, magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate, and magnesium chloride. Magnesium is frequently an ingredient in antacids used for acid indigestion, and magnesium may be contained in strong laxatives used for constipation and to prepare the bowel for diagnostic or surgical procedures.
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What Are the Recommendations for Magnesium Intake?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium varies according to age and sex. The recommendation for infants from birth to 12 months is an adequate intake recommendation. Pregnant women should take in 350 to 360 mg per day, while pregnant teens should take in 400 mg per day. Breastfeeding women should take in 310 to 320 mg per day, while breastfeeding teens should take in 360 mg per day. Adult men should take in 400 to 420 mg per day, while adult women should take in 310 to 320 mg per day. Male teens between the ages of 14 and 18 years should take in 410 mg per day, while female teens between the ages of 14 and 18 should take in 360 mg per day. Children between the ages of 9 and 13 years should take in 240 mg per day, while children between the ages of 4 and 8 years should take in 130 mg per day. Children between the ages of one and three years should take in 80 mg per day. The adequate intake for children from 7 to 12 months is 75 mg per day, and for children from birth to 6 months, it is 30 mg per day. There is no upper limit for the dietary intake of magnesium.
Health Benefits of Magnesium
Let us discuss the health benefits of Magnesium:
- Loaded with energy
Magnesium is used for forming energy in body by activating adenosine triphosphate also called ATP. It refers that without sufficient magnesium; body doesn’t have enough energy and could be prone to fatigue. Inadequate intake of magnesium makes tired quickly and need high level of oxygen during exercise. Study shows that women with magnesium deficiency require more oxygen to complete low level activities and had high heart rate.
- Cure for anxiety
Magnesium is crucial for GABA function which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which produces happy hormones such as serotonin. Some hormones are regulated by magnesium which is essential to calm brain and enhance relaxation. So this is the main reason due to which magnesium deficiency results sleeplessness or insomnia. Research shows that when mice experienced magnesium deficiency, they showed anxiety related behavior. Deficiency of magnesium caused enhancement in cortisol hormones production in brain of mice by activating paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus being a part of brain controlling responses to anxiety and stress.
- Insomnia treatment
Supplements of magnesium are helpful in getting good night sleep. As people age, circadian rhythms shift as low nutrient consumption and absorption makes prone to insomnia. Study have shown that magnesium supplements promote sleep time, easy to fall asleep, low level of cortisol and high concentration of melatonin related with stress. Research concluded that supplement of magnesium is effective in lowering symptoms of anemia, improve sleep efficiency, time and onset and also awakening early morning and reduce cortisol concentrations.
- Constipation relief
Magnesium relaxes muscles within digestive tract and intestinal walls controlling ability to go to bathroom. It neutralizes stomach acid and pass stool through intestines. Research shows that low intake of magnesium is related with significant increase in constipation. Study found that patients with constipation when took magnesium supplements found helpful in lowering constipation. It acts as a laxative when taking magnesium supplements. Adequate magnesium assists to go bathroom easily and prevent diarrhea and discomfort.
- Soothe muscle spasms
Magnesium has a crucial role in muscle contractions and neuromuscular signals. With inadequate magnesium, muscles suffer from spasms. It soothes muscles and contract and also allow moving around. In addition, magnesium balances calcium in the body which is crucial due to overly high doses of calcium from supplements and cause problems related with muscle control including heart control.
As calcium is taken in high quantities but magnesium supplements are not usually taken by adults that could result in intense muscle cramps, pains, weakness and contractions.
- Regulate sodium, potassium and calcium
Magnesium with other electrolytes regulates diverse biochemical reactions in the body. It has a role in active transport of calcium and potassium irons across cell membranes. This makes magnesium essential for nerve impulse conductions, normal heart rhythms and muscle contractions.
With calcium, magnesium contributes to structural development of bone and required for synthesis of RNA, DNA and antioxidant glutathione.
- Healthy heart
Magnesium is must for maintaining heart health. High content of magnesium is found in the whole body especially heart within left ventricle. With calcium magnesium supports in blood pressure levels and prevent hypertension. Without balance in magnesium to other minerals such as calcium, heart attack occurs due to severe muscle spasms.
- Prevent migraine
Magnesium is involved in neurotransmitter function or blood circulation, it controls headache pain by releasing pain lowering hormones and vasoconstriction or constriction of blood vessels that raises blood pressure. Studies shows that migraine sufferers when taken magnesium supplements showed improvement in symptoms.
- Osteoporosis prevention
Magnesium is essential for proper formation of bones and influence activities of osteoclasts and osteoblasts which build healthy bone density. It balances blood concentrations of Vitamin D that is the major regulator of bone homeostasis. High intake of magnesium correlate with bone mineral density increment in both men and women according to studies conducted. Research also concluded that women could prevent osteoporosis by increasing intake of magnesium and prevent magnesium deficiency.
- Regulate bladder function
People with bladder ailments and constant urge to urinate found the supplements of magnesium to provide relief. Urination disorder also results in various problems such as nephritis, infections or interstitial cystitis. Yet adequate magnesium provides relief from these ailments.
What Happens If Too Little or Too Much Magnesium Is Consumed?
In the United States, magnesium deficiency is believed to be somewhat common. It has been estimated that an average American takes in only about 75 percent of his or her magnesium requirements. While almost everyone should improve their intake of magnesium, some people are at increased risk for magnesium deficiency. People with high blood sugar levels and who are obese have an increased risk for magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency increases with age, especially among those with heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and African Americans have higher rates of deficiency than Caucasians. People with chronic gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn’s disease, are also at risk for deficiency. Certain medications, including diuretics, reduce magnesium levels. Lower levels of magnesium are associated with poorer bone health, fatigue, depression, and increases in inflammation. It is almost impossible to take in too much magnesium from eating foods. Excess magnesium supplementation has a tendency to result in loose stools.