Calcium is not the only mineral that does miraculous things for our bodies, although it is the one we hear the most about. Magnesium is another mineral with several key roles in the body.
Like calcium, magnesium also plays a role in heart and muscle function. Because of magnesium’s size and positive charge, it is very stabilizing. Magnesium stabilizes DNA and RNA because these are negatively charged and are attracted to the positively charged magnesium. Magnesium affects the ability of substances to pass in and out of cells. It is involved in stabilization of about 300 crucial enzyme systems of the body’s metabolism. For example, magnesium stabilizes ATP, the body’s energy molecule, in various reactions essential for glucose metabolism, energy storage, signaling pathways, ion transport and fat metabolism. Without magnesium, parathyroid hormone (PTH) would not be released from the kidneys to mobilize bone calcium for bone remodeling and balancing blood calcium levels.1
Magnesium is also used by doctors for many medical conditions. It is known to improve the outcome of patients with heart failure, heart arrhythmias, aneurisms, those undergoing heart bypass surgery, chemotherapy and more
Studies have shown the wide array of amazing health benefits of magnesium. As expected, magnesium supplementation significantly increases bone mineral content.2 The Center for Disease Control found that people with a high magnesium intake tend not to have metabolic syndrome—the risk factors for obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.3 So it is no surprise then that other studies show that magnesium lowers blood pressure4-6, reduces the risk of getting cancer7,8, lowers inflammation9 and protects against type 2 diabetes.10-12 In diabetics, those with higher magnesium levels have less complications.13 Also, magnesium is an extremely effective treatment for depression14-17 and premenstrual syndrome plus PMDD.18-20 Magnesium supplementation is used to improve the symptoms of ADD and ADHD.21 Increasing consumption of magnesium is one way to prevent gallstones.22
Sixty percent of American adults don’t get enough magnesium, plus magnesium deficiencies are common in alcohol drinkers, people with poor nutrient absorption, diabetics with ketoacidosis, people on certain medications and people who have undergone surgery or blood transfusions. The best food sources for magnesium are whole grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables, tofu and…best of all, chocolate! Unfortunately, magnesium absorption is low under ideal conditions (only about 33-50% of the magnesium ingested is absorbed by the body),23 and it is inhibited even further if taken with fiber, whole grains, nuts or seeds. Therefore the magnesium naturally found in whole grains and vegetables is hardly absorbed in our digestive tracts. How frustrating!
Since so little magnesium is actually absorbed by the body, the kidneys have to work very hard to get rid of the excess. Therefore, oral magnesium supplements are not always the best way to go. So what is the best source of magnesium then? But before answering that, let’s first finish this overview of minerals by looking at the role of some other lesser-known minerals.
1 Shils ME. Magnesium, calcium, and parathyroid hormone interactions. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1980. 355:165-80.
2 Carpenter TO, DeLucia MC, Hongyuan Zhang J, Bejnerowicz G, Tartamella L, Dziura J, Petersen KT, Befroy D, Cohen D. A randomized controlled study of effects of dietary magnesium oxide supplementation on bone mineral content in healthy girls. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006; 91(12):4866-72.
3 Ford ES, Li C, McGuire LC, Mokdad AH, Liu S. Intake of dietary magnesium and the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults. Obesity. 2007 May;15(5):1139-46.
4 Lee S, Park HK, Son SP, Lee CW, Kim IJ, Kim HJ. Effects of oral magnesium supplementation on insulin sensitivity and blood pressure in normo-magnesemic nondiabetic overweight Korean adults. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Dec;19(11):781-8.
5 Baker WL, Kluger J, White CM, Dale KM, Silver BB, Coleman CI. Effect of magnesium L-lactate on blood pressure in patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Ann Pharmacother. 2009 Apr;43(4):569-76.
6 Guerrero-Romero F, Rodríguez-Morán M. The effect of lowering blood pressure by magnesium supplementation in diabetic hypertensive adults with low serum magnesium levels: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Hum Hypertens. 2009 Apr;23(4):245-51.
7 Ma E, Sasazuki S, Inoue M, Iwasaki M, Sawada N, Takachi R, Tsugane S; Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study Group. High dietary intake of magnesium may decrease risk of colorectal cancer in Japanese men. J Nutr. 2010 Apr;140(4):779-85.
8 Mahabir S, Wei Q, Barrera SL, Dong YQ, Etzel CJ, Spitz MR, Forman MR. Dietary magnesium and DNA repair capacity as risk factors for lung cancer.Carcinogenesis. 2008 May;29(5):949-56.
9 Chacko SA, Song Y, Nathan L, Tinker L, de Boer IH, Tylavsky F, Wallace R, Liu S. Relations of dietary magnesium intake to biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in an ethnically diverse cohort of postmenopausal women. Diabetes Care. 2010 Feb;33(2):304-10.
10 Villegas R, Gao YT, Dai Q, Yang G, Cai H, Li H, Zheng W, Shu XO. Dietary calcium and magnesium intakes and the risk of type 2 diabetes: the Shanghai Women’s Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Apr;89(4):1059-67.
11 Schulze MB, Schulz M, Heidemann C, Schienkiewitz A, Hoffmann K, Boeing H. Fiber and magnesium intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes: a prospective study and meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2007 May 14;167(9):956-65.
12 Chambers EC, Heshka S, Gallagher D, Wang J, Pi-Sunyer FX, Pierson RN Jr. Serum magnesium and type-2 diabetes in African Americans and Hispanics: a New York cohort. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Dec;25(6):509-13.
13 Sharma A, Dabla S, Agrawal RP, Barjatya H, Kochar DK, Kothari RP. Serum magnesium: an early predictor of course and complications of diabetes mellitus. J Indian Med Assoc. 2007 Jan;105(1):16-20.
14 Eby GA, Eby KL. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-70.
15 Barragán-Rodríguez L, Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, equivalent trial. Magnes Res. 2008 Dec;21(4):218-23.
16 Jung KI, Ock SM, Chung JH, Song CH. Associations of serum Ca and Mg levels with mental health in adult women without psychiatric disorders. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2010 Feb;133(2):153-61.
17 Barragán-Rodríguez L, Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, equivalent trial. Magnes Res. 2008 Dec;21(4):218-23.
18 Quaranta S, Buscaglia MA, Meroni MG, Colombo E, Cella S. Pilot study of the efficacy and safety of a modified-release magnesium 250 mg tablet (Sincromag) for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome. Clin Drug Investig. 2007;27(1):51-8.
19 Walker AF, De Souza MC, Vickers MF, Abeyasekera S, Collins ML, Trinca LA. Magnesium supplementation alleviates premenstrual symptoms of fluid retention. J Womens Health. 1998 Nov;7(9):1157-65.
20 Facchinetti F, Borella P, Sances G, Fioroni L, Nappi RE, Genazzani AR. Oral magnesium successfully relieves premenstrual mood changes. Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Aug;78(2):177-81.
21 Mousain-Bosc M, Roche M, Polge A, Pradal-Prat D, Rapin J, Bali JP. Improvement of neurobehavioral disorders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Magnes Res. 2006 Mar;19(1):46-52.
22 Ko CW. Magnesium: does a mineral prevent gallstones? Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Feb;103(2):383-5.
23 Rude KR. Magnesium metabolism and deficiency. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 1993;22:377-95.
About The Author
Dr. Vieira has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University Of Florida College Of Medicine. She has worked in hospitals and clinics conducting clinical research with patients, as well as in biotechnology laboratories, researching the biochemistry and molecular biology of the body at a cellular level. Later, she worked in the food industry with the largest food company in America. There she conducted nutrition research focused on discovering and confirming the health benefits of vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, herbs, amino acids, plant extracts and other natural compounds. Her projects there included discovering novel ingredients for improving bone strength, preventing/treating diabetes and more. She has extensively studied natural medicines and therapies, leading to her discoveries of existing research on dietary and lifestyle changes that prevent, cure or improve most health conditions.
This eCourse is copyrighted with all rights reserved. The author does not assume liability for the misuse of any information contained herein. The information contained within this e-book is offered to provide you with beneficial concepts regarding your health and well-being. The author is a Ph.D.-level medical researcher, not a physician. Please consult your primary care physician before beginning any new program of nutrition or dietary supplementation. By consulting your primary care physician, you will have a better opportunity to understand and address your particular symptoms and situation in the most effective ways possible.
While every attempt has been made to provide information that is both accurate and proven effective, the author and, by extension, the e-book, makes no guarantees that the information presented herein will help everyone in every situation. As the symptoms and conditions for each person are unique to individual histories, genetics and environment, successes will vary.
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