Magnesium: An Essential Mineral

Magnesium is a mineral necessary for proper functioning of the entire body. It is essential for every cell to function and is involved in more than 600 chemical reactions. It is necessary for activating muscles and nerves, creating energy in your body by activating ATP and is essential for the digestion of carbohydrates, fats and protein. It is also a precursor for neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.

Research shows only about 25% of US adults are getting the recommended daily amount of magnesium. This may be, in part, due to decreased amounts of magnesium in food grown in the U.S., as a result of certain farming practices, such as over-tilling soil and the use of pesticides and herbicides.  Also, certain medications, such as Proton Pump Inhibitors, may also decrease the amount of magnesium available to the body.  Gastrointestinal disorders can also impede magnesium absorption, causing deficiency. 

Signs of magnesium deficiency include weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, coronary spasms, and numbness and tingling of extremities, 

Calcium and magnesium are antagonists and therefore, excessive amounts of calcium, without the counterbalance of magnesium, can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack,  and kidney stones. Magnesium and calcium should be balanced to a 1:! ratio. Also, taking excessive amounts of vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of magnesium can lead to vitamin D toxicity and magnesium deficiency. 

Foods rich in magnesium include dark leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, figs, avocado, bananas, raspberries, nuts, seeds, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, peas, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, salmon and tuna. 

When consuming magnesium-rich foods, choosing organic is always best.

Check with your health care practitioner regarding proper dosing before using magnesium supplements.

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