I’m sure all of you have heard how important it is to get vitamins and minerals into our bodies to create and maintain optimal health. Minerals are inorganic elements and can not be produced or synthesized in the body the way certain vitamins can. They must be obtained through the food we eat or through the water we drink. Minerals play many vital roles in the body working in combination with vitamins, hormones, enzymes and various other nutrient co-factors to regulate thousands of biological functions. They support immune function, metabolism, regulation of blood sugar and fluids, muscle contraction and relaxation, mental and cognitive function; as well as repair and cellular detoxification.
Well today I am going to tell you all about one mineral. Magnesium. It has been studied by medical researchers for over 100 years. Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element on earth; the 11th most common element in the human body and 4th most abundant. Half is found in the bones, 49% found in soft tissue cells such as muscles, endocrine glands and organs; with 1% traveling freely in the bloodstream. Essential to the proper functioning of the body and without proper levels of magnesium we are subject to heart attacks. Not only are we at risk for heart attacks but there is other serious health problems that are associated with magnesium deficiency include: type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, fatigue, depression, migraines and insomnia. Among its various functions magnesium is essential for healthy cell function; helping to generate new cells to replace old ones and regulate cell permeability – that is the capacity of a cell to receive oxygen and nutrients through the cell membrane and eliminate cellular waste. Magnesium is the “mineral of motion”. Without it your muscles simply could not operate. Preventing muscle cramps, spasms as well as protecting muscles from being injured as the result of calcium build up. Because of its capacity as a calcium blocker, magnesium prevents unhealthy calcium build up (calcification); particularly inside the kidneys where it helps to prevent the formation of kidney stones made from calcium oxalate. Assisting in regulating blood sugar levels; magnesium helps prevent both high and low levels of blood sugar. Magnesium is involved in insulin production and uptake; low levels of magnesium may contribute to insulin resistance; a pre-diabetic condition in which the body makes insulin but is unable to process it.
Stress is the single most underlying factor when it comes to magnesium deficiency. The body releases stress hormones that include epinephrine (adrenaline), cortisol, and aldosterone. When these hormones are released the body goes into a “fight or flight” response; temporary burst of energy and enhanced cardiac and musculoskeletal performance. These stress hormones are buffered by magnesium; controlling and limiting their damage to the body. The more stressed you are, the more magnesium gets used. Magnesium is also needed to metabolize carbohydrates and fats; two primary food groups for energy production. This mineral plays a central role in your body’s ability to produce and use energy. There are some common warning signs of low levels of magnesium which include; back and/or neck pain, impaired coordination, involuntary eye movements, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, muscle tension or weakness, muscle tremors, palpitations, tics, vertigo (dizziness), and fatigue or low energy. While magnesium cannot solve all your problems, it certainly can be a valuable addition to your daily regimen. Eating foods rich in magnesium such as; brazil nuts, halibut, cocoa, rice bran, cashews, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, almonds and spinach; are a great way to make sure you are getting the much-needed magnesium into your system. You are also able to take magnesium in supplement form, that can be found in the pharmacy or health foods department. Question is; how much magnesium does one person need? And how do you determine this? Blood testing can tell how much magnesium is in your body which in return tells you how much of it you need to take to get your recommended daily dosage.
I have included a list of recommended daily dosage:
• Children aged 1 – 3 years old need 40 – 80mg per day
• Children aged 4 – 8 years old need 130mg per day
• Children aged 9 – 13 years old need 240mg per day
• Males aged 14 – 18 years old need 410mg per day
• Females aged 14 – 18 years old need 360mg per day
• Males aged 19 – 30 years old need 400mg per day
• Females aged 19 – 30 years old need 310mg per day
• Males aged 31 years and over need 420mg per day
• Females aged 31 years and over need 320mg per day
• Pregnant and nursing women need anywhere from 310mg – 360mg per day