Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral for all living cells. Magnesium is necessary for more than 300 chemical reactions in the human body and plays a very important a role in human health.
Potential for deficiency
About 50 to 60% of a person's magnesium is stored in the skeleton - it plays a key role in bone metabolism. Researchers have found that even a mild ongoing magnesium deficiency can lead to a significant amount of bone loss.
What does Magnesium do?
Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, maintaining a normal heart rhythm, regulating blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA. It also helps the body use carbohydrates and fats for energy production.
Magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium by the body which is why in supplement form they are often found in a combination tablet together. It also helps regulate levels of other nutrients such as copper, zinc, potassium, and Vitamin D.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirms that clear health benefits have been established for the dietary intake of Magnesium in contributing to:
- normal energy-yielding metabolism
- normal muscle function including the heart muscle
- normal nerve function
- normal cell division
- normal development of bone
- the maintenance of normal bone
- the maintenance of normal teeth
- normal protein synthesis
- normal psychological functions
- a reduction of tiredness and fatigue
Rich sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, tofu, whole grains, almonds, cashews, pumpkin and squash seeds, pine nuts, and walnuts. Green leafy vegetables are particularly good sources of magnesium because they contain high levels of chlorophyll, in which magnesium is the central ion.
It is important not to over consume magnesium as it can cause adverse effects such as diarrhoea and sometimes more serious conditions such as hypotension (low blood pressure).
Symptoms of deficiency
- restless leg syndrome
- sleep disorders
- nausea and vomiting
- abnormal heart rhythms
- low blood pressure
- muscle spasm and weakness
- poor nail growth
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.