Of all the minerals your body needs to function, magnesium could be the most important. Chemists refer to magnesium as a chemical element with the symbol Mg. Mg never exists by itself, but is rather embedded in rocks, molten earth, or dissolved in seawater. Magnesium is found in every living cell and is necessary for every physiological process that we rely on to live.
It goes without saying then that magnesium is present in abundant qualities in the body. Research has shown that the average human body contains roughly 25 grams of magnesium with about half of that found in the bones. This mineral is important in more that three hundred enzyme systems that regulate a range of biochemical reactions in the body. These reactions keep the body working optimally and include protein synthesis, nerve function, blood glucose control and blood pressure regulation.
Magnesium is essential for the production and utilization of ATP, which is the body’s energy currency. Moreover, magnesium plays an imperative role in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, including the gastrointestinal tract, skeletal muscles, and the muscles that regulate blood flow, breathing passages, and blood pressure. It is important that we remember that the heart is a muscle, and as such the regulation of the muscular and electrical function of the heart is dependent on magnesium. Magnesium therefore contributes to maintaining a stable heart rhythm.
Magnesium contributes to the structural development, growth and maintenance of bones, and plays a vital role in the active transport of potassium ions and calcium across cell membranes. This mineral is often used to treat constipation as it helps to move stools through the intestine as well as to neutralise stomach acid. Magnesium is also necessary for optimal mental and emotional function in an individual, as it is required in neurotransmitter and hormone production.
Why is it important to take a magnesium supplement?
Most people don’t consume enough magnesium containing foods in their diet. And those who try to consume enough magnesium through their diet often fall short of the required amounts. This is because of decades of mineral-depleting farming practices. Because of the fertilizers used in modern commercial farming, the food that we consume usually hasn’t extracted enough magnesium from the soil to make the mineral present in our food. Moreover, because the mineral is highly soluble, the little magnesium that is present in our food is removed in any form of commercial processing. As such, it is necessary to supplement the lack of magnesium in our diets with external forms of magnesium.
Any of the following markers could point to a magnesium deficiency:
- ADD and ADHD
- Panic attacks
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps and twitches
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- High levels of “bad” cholesterol
- Chronic Fatigue
- Leg cramps, especially during pregnancy
- Kidney stones
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Restless leg syndrome
It is therefore clear from this list, and all that magnesium is responsible for in our bodies, that magnesium is essential to life. Although one can be tested for magnesium deficiency, it is safe to assume that you more than likely do have some degree of magnesium deficiency that needs to be supplemented.