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Miraculous Magnesium

Mix more magnesium into your diet, and you may be surprised how much your body will thank you.

| November/December 2019

Photo by Adobe Stock/Yulia Furman

Essential and elemental, magnesium works nothing short of miracles when it comes to your health. Necessary for more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, it plays a chief role in regulating blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and it even ensures the conductivity of electrical impulses for a regular heartbeat. Among its other essential roles, magnesium synthesizes proteins, ensures proper muscle contraction, and aids in increasing bone density. It’s also a major player in healthy brain functioning.

However, about 68 percent of Americans suffer from magnesium deficiency. Because it’s a macro mineral, large doses of magnesium must be consumed frequently to avoid deficiency. Gaining a thorough understanding of the impact of a magnesium-rich diet may help you assess whether you could be lacking sufficient intake. Increasing your consumption of magnesium-rich foods or supplements will only improve your health.

A Cellular Champion

From individual cells to entire organ systems, magnesium plays a vital role in the health of the body. Within each cell, magnesium participates in the function of organelles, such as mitochondria, where it directly affects energy production. It helps to stabilize the cell membranes, allowing potassium, calcium, and sodium to flow in and out of the cell. For example, when magnesium gets depleted from the body due to excessive sweat, calcium isn’t able to flow out of muscle cells, leading to muscle cramping. Nerve cells depend on magnesium to regulate the correct levels of sodium and potassium within them; if they’re unbalanced, then anxiety, irritability, or migraine headaches can take over. Magnesium also influences cell receptor activity, facilitating numerous operations required for the creation of DNA, RNA, and the master antioxidant glutathione. The less magnesium in the body, the less efficiently it behaves.

Make No Bones About It

The body stores more than half of its magnesium in the skeletal system, while the rest resides in muscle and other tissues. When the body has consumed sufficient amounts of magnesium, calcium absorption in the bones activates vitamin D in the body. For this reason, some studies, such as the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, indicate magnesium may be more effective than vitamin D at preventing bone thinning. Therefore, women with an optimal magnesium intake have a lower risk of osteoporosis after menopause, and have increased density and quality of bone matrix. Perhaps more alarmingly, because the bones require magnesium in order to absorb calcium, insufficient magnesium intake forces the unabsorbed calcium to adhere to the arterial walls, or to harden into stones, which leads to cardiovascular disease and kidney stones

Photo by Getty Images/MStudioImages

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