How much do you know about magnesium? Magnesium is a mineral that is vital to the body; it is found in the muscles, organs, body tissue, blood stream, but mainly is in high concentration in our bones. The average adult body has 25g of magnesium within it.
This mineral is present in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate biochemical reactions in the body. It is a cofactor in protein synthesis. It is needed for muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, stable heart rhythm and blood pressure. Here is a list of magnesium’s purposes in the body:
- It helps strengthens bones, and helps with their structural development.
- It is necessary for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and glutathione, an antioxidant.
- It helps muscles relax and stay in good condition.
- It helps the nerves function properly.
- It is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis.
- It helps transport calcium and potassium ions, which helps nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.
Magnesium is found in many food sources for people to consume. It is very hard to get adequate magnesium. Source foods include: spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, Swiss chard, raw pumpkin, tofu, peanut butter, lentils, chocolate, eggs, root vegetables and dairy.
It’s rare for a person to suffer from severe magnesium deficiency, but it can and does happen. Persons who are taking diuretic medication (used often in heart failure and blood pressure management) magnesium, sodium and potassium can get pushed into the urine and deplete the body. Alcohol consumption is associated with lower magnesium levels as well. A deficiency can cause an array of symptoms and issues in the body. Most common is muscle weakness and spasms. Magnesium is also known to be a great laxative, so if too much magnesium is consumed in one’s diet (usually from adding a supplement) diarrhea could occur. Persons with kidney insufficiency and certain medications can get into trouble with too much magnesium in the tissues and blood. High magnesium can harm nerve function, muscle contractions and heart rhythm.
Magnesium makes up less than 0.1 percent of the human body, but it is such an important and vital mineral to keep the body healthy. If you think you may have a magnesium deficiency blood and red cell levels can be easily measured with a simple blood test. As always eat a varied and highly nutritious diet to assure all our essential nutrients are being brought into the body.
For the best dietary advice and help, it’s best to see a doctor. Dr. Kordonowy of Internal Medicine, Lipid, & Wellness can test your magnesium levels, and give you a dietary assessment. To book an appointment, click here or call 239-362-3006, ext. 200.