Chemically, magnesium is an element with the symbol Mg and atomic number 12. It belongs to the alkaline earth metal group on the periodic table. In its pure form, magnesium is a silver-white metal that is relatively light in weight and has a low density. Magnesium is highly reactive and can easily form compounds with other elements, including oxygen, sulfur and halogens.

Magnesium compounds are commonly found in nature, and magnesium ions are essential for various biological processes in living organisms.

Magnesium is NOT the same element as Manganese!

Magnesium Effects on the Body

An essential mineral that plays a role in hundreds of processes in the body, Magnesium is an element we cannot afford to miss out on. Aside from Zinc and Calcium, Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients and is vital in maintaining optimal health.

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, contributing to processes such as energy production, muscle function, nerve signalling, bone health and protein synthesis.

Regulating body temperature, detox, transmitting nerve impulses, energy production, and formation of healthy teeth and bones are just a few of the major functions that are supported by magnesium. Women especially need magnesium as the mineral supports bone health, relieves symptoms of PMS and menopause, and can reduce the risk of premature labor.

Other ways magnesium is important to men and women include:

  • Boosts bioavailability of B-6 and cholesterol
  • Improves muscle function
  • Relieves constricted airways
  • Prevents insomnia
  • Prevents heart attack
  • Prevents constipation
  • Prevents migraines
  • Prevents kidney stones
  • Prevents gallstones

Magnesium Deficiency

In addition to modern farming and water treatment processes, consumption of caffeine, alcohol, salt and foods that are high in phytic acid have left the average person’s diet low in magnesium. Magnesium can also be lost via heavy sweating and menstrual blood.

Signs of magnesium deficiency in the body may manifest itself as mild symptoms such as:

  • High levels of stress
  • Headaches
  • Carbohydrate cravings
  • Lack of appetite
  • Allergies and sensitivities
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Anxiety

More serious complications of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Thyroid problems
  • Kidney stones
  • Heart palpitations
  • Gut disorders
  • Poor dental health
  • Depression
  • Mental disturbances
  • Impaired short term memory
  • Insulin resistance

Whilst very severe magnesium deficiency is rare, the condition is more likely to occur in people who:

  • Have Crohn’s disease
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have a parathyroid disorder
  • Take cancer or diabetes drugs
  • Take antibiotics
  • Are seniors
  • Abuse alcohol

Magnesium Helps with Calcium Absorption

Magnesium supports calcium absorption and utilization in the body through several mechanisms. It serves as a cofactor for enzymes involved in calcium metabolism, contributes to the activation of Vitamin D which is essential for calcium absorption, regulates parathyroid hormone activity and influences bone health by aiding in the incorporation of calcium into the bone structure.

Maintaining a proper balance between magnesium and calcium is crucial for overall bone health and various physiological functions. A well-balanced diet rich in magnesium and calcium-containing foods is essential for achieving this equilibrium, as well as taking supplements if you are particularly deficient.

How to Increase Your Magnesium Intake

As one of the most important minerals to human health, magnesium has many roles in the body. By consuming a balanced diet that includes plenty of magnesium-rich foods and taking supplements if necessary, the proper magnesium levels can be maintained relatively easily in most people.

Magnesium is found naturally in many foods, including leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and some types of fish. Additionally, magnesium supplements are available and commonly used to prevent or treat magnesium deficiency, which can occur due to inadequate dietary intake, certain medical conditions, or medications.

You can also try taking a warm bath with Epsom Salts, which are magnesium sulphate. It appears that Magnesuim can be absorbed topically as well as orally, so you can just soak in the bath and let the magnesium absorb through your skin.

Magnesium Food Sources

Individuals who suspect they may be deficient in magnesium should first aim to include more foods containing this key mineral in their daily diet. Dark leafy greens such as; raw spinach, swiss chard, and kale are among the leading food sources of magnesium. Squash seeds, pumpkin seeds and other nuts such as; almonds, cashews, pine nuts and peanuts also contain substantial amounts of the vital mineral. Drinking tea can also provide magnesium.

Seafood lovers can increase their intake by consuming pollock, mackerel, turbot, and tuna. Green beans and lentils, low fat dairy, avocados, bananas, dried fruit and dark chocolate are other key sources.

Magnesium Supplements

There are different forms of magnesium supplements, each with their own health benefits:

Magnesium Sulphate (MgSO4): good for muscle recovery (Epsom salts are also Magnesium Sulphate)
Magnesium Glycinate (C4H8MgN2O4): a great all-rounder that can help with low mood, anxiety and sleep
Magnesium Malate (C4H4MgO5): can boost energy
Magnesium Citrate (C6H6MgO7): great for leg cramps as well as constipation

Getting enough magnesium through diet can be difficult for people who have a more severe deficiency. Magnesium supplements can provide the recommended amount of the mineral for those who otherwise struggle to maintain sufficient magnesium levels.

The recommended dosage for adult females ages 19 to 30 is 310 mg per day. Women who are 31 and over should include 320 mg per day. Pregnant women who are over the age of 18 require between 350 to 360 mg per day. Men require 400 mg daily until age 31, at which point they should increase their intake to 420 mg each day.

Always take care when taking herbs and Read Our Disclaimer.

Magnesium Notes / Side Effects

Magnesium overdose is possible and should be avoided. Side effects that may occur as a result of taking too high a dose of magnesium supplements include; low blood pressure, muscle weakness, fatigue, stool softening, nausea, cramps and diarrhea.

In cases of very high doses, overdose can be fatal.

People who are taking heart medicine or antibiotics should check with their healthcare provider prior to taking magnesium due to possible negative interaction. People who have kidney disease, diabetes, or intestinal disease should also speak with a healthcare provider prior to beginning supplementation.

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