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Magnesium

 


Magnesium is vital for many metabolic functions including activation of enzymes for proper metabolism of protein and carbohydrates for energy production. It is a constituent of bones and teeth and is important for the metabolism of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, B-complex vitamins, and vitamins C and E.

It is necessary in the production of testosterone and progesterone and essential for normal heart beat, nerve transmission, bone growth, body temperature, and arterial health. Magnesium, in proper balance with calcium, is important for neuromuscular contractions and is vital for DNA and RNA production and repair. It appears to be helpful in stroke prevention.

Magnesium supplementation may:

  • Reduce 'morning stiffness' and post-exercise muscle pain and stiffness
  • Reduce excessive muscle tension and resulting tension headaches
  • Aid deep and restful sleep
  • Reduce the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Help protect against heart disease and arrhythmia
  • Ease the symptoms of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
  • Reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks
  • Alleviate the symptoms of PMS

Magnesium is absorbed in the small intestine and vitamin D is necessary for proper utilisation of the mineral.

Deficiency is common as the modern Western diet is severely lacking in this mineral. In addition, chronic stress and routine intake of diuretics such as alcohol and caffeine (coffee) cause magnesium to be lost from the body. People living in soft water areas are more likely to be deficient than when tapwater is hard.

FOOD SOURCES

Nuts, pulses, whole grains and seeds, green leafy vegetables, brewer's yeast, seafood, cocoa, figs, garlic, tofu.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Magnesium ions are absorbed at around 30-40% efficiency from any soluble magnesium salt, but inorganic magnesium salts (sulphate, citrate, chloride etc) can give rise to intestinal discomfort and may have a laxative effect. Absorption from insoluble salts such as magnesium oxide (present in many antacids) is low at around 4%, declining with age. Many cheaper supplements contain only magnesium oxide and will therefore not provide adequate supplementation. The amount of elemental magnesium in the various salts varies from about 60% by weight in the oxide to as low as 10% in hydrated salts such as Epsom salts (sulphate). The most useful sources of magnesium are organic salts including magnesium amino acid chelate, magnesium ascorbate and magnesium gluconate.

Ideally, calcium and magnesium should be taken together as their metabolism is co-dependent. Vitamin D assists in the uptake of both calcium and magnesium. Do not take magnesium supplements without consulting a doctor if you any of the following apply: kidney failure, heart block, ileostomy, chronic constipation, colitis or diarrhoea, symptoms of appendicitis, diuretics, chemotherapy, digitalis drugs, antibiotics, heavy drinker, had a heart attack, intestinal or stomach bleeding. Do not take magnesium supplements during pregnancy or nursing without the advice of your doctor.

SIGNS OF DEFICIENCY

Chronic deficiency may cause a variety of seemingly unrelated problems including Bruxism (teeth grinding), depression, confusion, diarrhea, nervousness, irritability and anxiety, loss of appetite, nausea, uncontrolled muscle contractions (spasms, twitching), vomiting. osteoporosis, cardiovascular problems, muscle pain and stiffness, skin disorders, tachycardia, and tremor. Deficiency is common in Western countries.

SIGNS OF TOXICITY

Very high intake may lead to drowsiness, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, hypotension, muscle weakness, sluggishness, slow breathing, stupor, and coma. Chronic excessive intake (e.g. from antacids) can lead to deficiencies of other elements.

DAILY MINIMUM REQUIREMENT

300-400 mg approx. (You should not normally exceed 800 mg/day supplementation without medical advice). See above re. absorbtion of insoluble salts.

 

 

 

 

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