You do not hear much about magnesium, however it is estimated that 80 percent of Americans have deficiency of this important mineral and the health consequences caused by the deficiency of this mineral are quite significant. One reason could be because magnesium, like vitamin D, fulfills so many functions that it is difficult to put together.
Magnesium is one of the important minerals the body needs. Magnesium plays a role in more than 300 biological processes that occur in the body, including digestion, communication between nerve cells, to muscle movement.
Because of the importance of magnesium function, the human skeleton is able to store up to 60 percent of the magnesium requirement while the rest is stored in muscle tissue, soft tissue, to blood cells.
History in Brief
- More than 80 percent of Americans have magnesium deficiency, which is very difficult to measure through a blood test
- Magnesium directs a large number of very important physiological functions, including the creation of ATP, the pumping of your heart, the proper formation of bones and teeth, the relaxation of your blood vessels and proper bowel function
- It has been shown that magnesium benefits your blood pressure and helps prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attacks and strokes
- One of the best ways to optimize your magnesium levels is by consuming organic leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds. Foods high in magnesium include algae, coriander, pumpkin seeds, sugar-free cocoa powder and almond butter
- If you take a magnesium supplement, you also need to pay attention to your intake of calcium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D, since these nutrients work together synergistically
As reported, researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium binding sites in human patients, indicating that their role in health and in human diseases may have been underestimated.
Magnesium is also found in more than 300 different enzymes in your body, which are responsible for:
- The creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) energy molecules in your body.
- The proper formation of bones and teeth
- The relaxation of blood vessels
- The action of the heart muscle
- The proper function of the intestine
- Regulation of blood sugar level
Health Benefits of Magnesium
A large number of studies have shown previously that magnesium can benefit your blood pressure and help prevent sudden cardiac arrest, heart attacks and strokes. For example, a meta-analysis published earlier this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed a total of seven studies involving more than 240,000 participants. These results showed that the intake of magnesium by means of food is inversely related to the risk of ischemic stroke.
But its role in human health seems to be much more complex than previously thought and, like vitamin D, its benefits could be far greater than we had imagined. The GreenMedInfo.com database project has listed more than 100 health benefits from magnesium so far, including therapeutic benefits for:
- Atrial fibrillation
- Type 2 diabetes
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
- Aging Mortality
According to the report made:”The proteome, or the complete set of proteins expressed by the human genome, contains more than 100,000 different protein structures, despite the fact that it is believed that there are only 20,300 protein-encoded genes in the human genome. The discovery of “magnesoma”, as it has been called, adds a greater complexity to the scheme, which indicates that the presence or absence of adequate levels of this basic mineral could alter epigenetically the expression and behavior of proteins in our bodies, altering thus the course of both health and diseases. ”
Magnesium also plays a very important role in the detoxification processes of the body and therefore it is important to help prevent the damage caused by environmental chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins. Even glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in your body that has even been called “the master antioxidant” needs magnesium for its synthesis.
Main Benefits for The Body
1. Maintain bone health
The main function of magnesium is for bone health. Magnesium helps the absorption of calcium and vitamin D in the body. Both vitamins and minerals are nutrients that make your bones strong and solid. Magnesium deficiency risks making brittle bones even trigger osteoporosis .
2. Maintain heart health
Another function of magnesium is to prevent various disorders of heart function. Consuming the right amount of magnesium is proven to prevent you from blockage of blood vessels and high blood pressure that usually causes heart attacks , heart failure , and stroke.
3. Good for people with diabetes
For people who have diabetes, high intake of magnesium is beneficial to digest and process carbohydrates in the body. How well the body process carbohydrates foods certainly affect blood sugar levels .
Some studies suggest that high consumption of magnesium foods can maximize the work of the hormone insulin – a hormone in charge of regulating blood sugar levels.
4. Heals headaches
Although only proven in small scope studies, but magnesium proven to overcome the symptoms of headaches. Experts believe that people with adequate magnesium intake tend to be less likely to have migraines or headaches than those with magnesium deficiency.
5. Prevent and help overcome stress
Another benefit of magnesium is that it can help you cope with stress and depression. Magnesium has a role in the function of the brain that regulates the mood. In some studies it was found that people who lack magnesium, will be more susceptible to stress and depression than enough magnesium. This substance can make interactions between your nerve cells more optimal, so that the management of stress from the body to be better.
6. Improving fitness
In fact, magnesium also affects the body’s fitness thus improving your sports performance. These minerals are proven to make the process of energy formation better, which makes energy management when exercising much more effectively. Simply put, with sufficient magnesium intake, you can exercise with high energy without easily feeling tired.
In addition, magnesium also prevents the formation of excessive lactic acid, which is usually the cause of cramps during exercise.
Signs of Magnesium deficiency
There is no laboratory test that gives you truly accurate results about the state of magnesium in your tissues. Only one percent of the magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood, which makes blood tests quite inaccurate. Other tests your doctor can use to assess magnesium status include a 24-hour urine test or a sublingual epithelial test.
Even so, these tests only give an estimate of the levels and doctors usually need to evaluate them along with the symptoms that it presents. The magnesium deficiency that we are seeing can cause more serious symptoms that include:
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle contractions and cramps
- Personality changes
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Coronary spasms
With this in mind, some early signs of magnesium deficiency that you should consider include:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and weakness
Ways to Optimize Magnesium Levels
If you suspect that you might have low levels of magnesium, one of the best ways to consume this mineral is through whole foods that contain organically bound magnesium. As explained in the article made;
“Chlorophyll, which allows plants to capture solar energy and convert it into metabolic energy, has a magnesium atom at its center. Without magnesium, plants could not use sunlight. “
In many ways, chlorophyll is the plant version of our hemoglobin, since they share similar structures but have magnesium instead of iron. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium, as well as beans, nuts and seeds such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Avocados are also a good source. Making vegetables in the form of juice is a very good option to ensure you are getting enough of your diet.
In order to make sure you get enough, you first need to make sure you are eating whole and varied foods such as those described in my nutritional plan. But there are other factors that can make you more prone to magnesium deficiency, including the problems listed below. If you have any of these diseases, then you should take more precautions to make sure you get enough magnesium from your diet, or if necessary, take a magnesium supplement to avoid this deficiency.
|An unhealthy digestive system, which alters your body’s ability to absorb magnesium (Crohn’s disease, leaky gut, etc.)||Alcoholism: up to 60 percent of alcoholics have low levels of magnesium|
|Unhealthy kidneys, which contribute to excessive loss of magnesium in the urine||Aging: Older adults are more likely to suffer from magnesium deficiency because absorption decreases with age as they are more likely to take medications that may interfere with absorption|
|Diabetes, especially if it is not controlled, leading to an increase in the loss of magnesium in the urine||Certain medications- diuretics, antibiotics, medicines used to treat cancer can cause magnesium deficiency|
Foods With Highest Magnesium
Most people can keep their levels within the healthy range without having to resort to supplements, simply by eating a varied diet that includes green leafy vegetables. An important point to mention is that magnesium levels in food depend on the level of magnesium in the usually in which they are grown. Organic foods may have more magnesium, because the more fertilizers are used, the more nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium instead of magnesium.
The mentioned article lists more than 20 specific foods that are very rich in magnesium, including the following ones (to see the complete list please see the original article). All the portions listed are equivalent to 100 grams or just over three ounces:
|Seaweed, dried agar (770 mg)||Spices, dried basil (422 mg)|
|Spices, dried coriander leaves (694mg)||Flaxseed (392 mg)|
|Dry pumpkin seeds (535 mg)||Almond butter (303 mg)|
|Cocoa powder without sugar (499 mg)||Whey (176 mg)|
There are many food sources of magnesium that you can consume, namely:
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, and mustard greens
- Whole grain seeds
- Several types of fish, such as salmon
- Milk and dairy products
Types of Magnesium Supplements
If for any reason you decide that you need to take a supplement, take into account that there is a wide variety of magnesium supplements on the market, due to the fact that magnesium must be bound to another substance. There is no supplement that is 100% magnesium. The substance used in any supplement may affect the absorption and bioavailability of magnesium, therefore the health benefits may be a little different:
|Magnesium glycinate is a chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest level of absorption and bioavailability and is generally considered ideal for all those trying to correct the deficiency||Magnesium oxide is the type of non-chelated magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. It contains 60 percent magnesium and softening properties.|
|Magnesium Chloride or Magnesium Lactate, contains only 12 percent magnesium, but has more absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium||Magnesium sulfate or magnesium hydroxide (magnesium milk) is usually used as a laxative. Take into account that it is easy to suffer an overdose with this, so just take the indicated dose|
|Magnesium carbonate , has antacid properties, contains 45 percent magnesium||Magnesium taurate, contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid.Together they tend to provide a soothing effect on your body and mind|
|Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties||Magnesium treonato, is a new type of magnesium supplement that looks promising, due to its greater ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane and could be the best magnesium supplement in the market|
Balance Magnesium with Calcium, Vitamins K2 and D
One of the greatest benefits of obtaining the nutrients from a complete diet is that there is a lower probability of ending up consuming a lot of one nutrient at the expense of others. Food in general contains all the cofactors and co-nutrients needed in the right amounts for optimal health, which leaves us in doubt. When you take supplements, you need to be very intelligent and know about the nutrients that influence and affect each other.
For example, it is important to maintain an adequate balance between magnesium, calcium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D. The lack of balance between these nutrients is the reason why calcium supplements have been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes and why some people experience toxicity to vitamin D.
Part of this explanation of side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in the proper place. If you have K2 deficiency, adding calcium can cause more problems than it solves, causing it to accumulate where it should not. Similarly, if you opt for an oral vitamin D supplement, you also need to consume it from food or take a vitamin K2 supplement. Taking mega doses of vitamin D without sufficient amounts of vitamin K2 can cause toxicity to vitamin D, which includes inappropriate calcification.
Although the ideal proportions between vitamin D and vitamin K2 are not yet known, Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue (whom I interviewed on this topic) suggests that for every 1,000 IU of vitamin D you take, you should take about 100 microgeamos of K2 and maybe up to 150-200 micrograms (mcg). The latest recommendations on the dose of vitamin D, require about 8,0000 IU of vitamin D3 per day in the case of adults, which means you need 800 to 1,000 micrograms (0.8 to 1 milligram) of vitamin K2.
Now, going back to magnesium …
Magnesium may actually be more important than calcium if you are considering supplementation. However, maintaining the proper balance between calcium and magnesium is very important. Research on paleolithic or caveman diets has shown that the ratio between calcium and magnesium in food should be 1 to 1. Americans in general tend to have more calcium than magnesium, an average of 3.5 to 1.
Magnesium also helps maintain calcium in cells so they can work better. In many ways it serves as a nutritional version of the highly effective class of medications called calcium channel blockers, used to treat high blood pressure, angina and abnormal heart rhythms. Magnesium and vitamin K2 complement each other, since magnesium helps lower blood pressure, which is an important component of heart disease.
So, in short, every time you take: magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3 or vitamin K2, you need to consider them all, since they work synergistically with each other.
How much magnesium to consume daily?
Magnesium requirement is different for everyone, depending on your body condition and your age. If you are having an infection, then it will most likely require more magnesium. However, the following is the average requirement of magnesium per day according to the Ministry of Health’s recommendations:
- 0-6 months: 300 mg
- 7-11 months: 55 mg
- 1-3 years: 60 mg
- 4-6 years: 95 mg
- 7-9 years: 120 mg
- 10-12 years: 150 mg
- 13-15 years: 200 mg
- 16-18 years: 250 mg
- Over 19 years: 350 mg
- 10-12 years: 155 mg
- 13-15 years: 200 mg
- 16-18 years: 220 mg
- More than 19 years: 320 mg
A study states that when exercising, you need 10-20 percent more magnesium than normal conditions.