The mineral magnesium is abundant in the human body. It is naturally present in many foods and often added to other food products by the manufacturer. It is available as a dietary supplement and often included in a number of medicines including antacids and laxatives. Magnesium helps to regulate a number of biochemical reactions in the body including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. It is required by the human body for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis and contributes to the development of bone. It also plays a leading role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, which is a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and maintaining a normal heart rhythm.
An adult body contains approximately 25 grams of magnesium with pproximately 50% to 60% of it present in the bones and most of the rest contained in the soft tissues.
Researchers have recently determined 3,751 magnesium binding sites on human proteins proving that its role in human health and disease may have been severely underestimated.
It is quite unfortunate that we find it so difficult to readily supply our bodies with sufficient magnesium despite good, balanced diets. This is due, in part, because agricultural methods favor the universal use of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers, while potassium and phosphorus are natural antagonists to magnesium.
There is no question that magnesium is a key mineral in human metabolism that exists in varied amounts in much of the world's healthiest foods including many vegetables, especially the green, leafy ones, nuts, seeds and legumes would all probably be the best sources for magnesium intake and supplementation. It quietly plays an important a role in human health. In fact, magnesium is necessary for more than 300 chemical reactions in the human body.
While magnesium is present in many of foods the average American diets frequently falls short of an adequate supply of it. In fact, adults average only 66% of the Daily Value (DV) for necessary levels of magnesium from their food intake, while even the most staunch supplement takers only gain another 8% from their dilligent efforts. This average intake level leaves U.S. adults about 100-125 milligrams short in the magnesium department. This is primarily due to the focus of the average U.S. diet on heavily processed, but conveniently available foods. Once again, the green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes are among our best food sources of this vital mineral.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency normally include: hyperexcitability, dizziness, muscle cramps, muscle weakness and fatigue. Severe magnesium deficiency can cause hypocalcemia, low serum potassium levels (hypokalemia), retention of sodium, low circulating levels of parathyroid hormone, neurological and muscular symptoms (tremor, fasciculations, muscle spasms, tetany), loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, personality changes and even death from heart failure.
Magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism and its deficiency may worsen insulin resistance, a condition that often precedes diabetes, or may be a consequence of insulin resistance. Deficiency can cause irregular heart beat.
We recommend that you review your personal and your family's diet and work to decrease any dependencies on heavily processed foods while increasing your daily intake of green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. You may also wish to consult a qualified practitioner who is well educated and experienced in human nutrition, to determine what level of supplementation may be needed to restore or maintain a well balanced diet that leaves you more healthy and feeling great.