Magnesium, a very important and valuable mineral, is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is of great value to good health, being an important part for chemical reactions in the body. An enzyme system usually has three parts: a protein molecule, a smaller organic compound, often a vitamin such as Vitamin B6, and a charged mineral. Magnesium along with zinc, copper and manganese will be this charged mineral.
There are over 300 biochemical reactions in the body that requires magnesium. About 50 percent of this mineral in the body is found in the bone, and the remainder found in the body tissues and organs. The body also works very hard to keep a1% level of magnesium in the blood.
What are the functions of magnesium?
- normal muscle and nerve function
- to keep the heart rhythm steady
- keep bones strong
- supports the immune system
- regulate blood sugars
- promotes normal blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and arteries
- may help prevent and manage hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes
- helps metabolism
What are the symptoms of deficiency of Magnesium?
If the body is deficient of this mineral it can affect virtually every organ system of the body. It can affect the:
- skeletal muscle with symptoms of cramps, twitches, muscle soreness, muscle tension
- smooth muscles with symptoms of menstrual cramps, constipation,urinary spasms, difficulty swallowing
- central nervous system presenting symptoms of insomnia, anxiety or panic attacks, hyperactivity, and premenstrual irritability
- peripheral nervous system signs of deficiency are numbness, tingling and other abnormal sensations
- cardiovascular system’s symptoms may include palpitations, heart arrhythmia, angina and high blood pressure
These are only symptoms and if you are experiencing one or more it does not necessarily mean that you are deficient of this mineral. Going to your doctor and discussing them and having testing done is the only way to diagnose the deficiency.
To diagnosis this possible deficiency the doctor may order blood work to check the magnesium level in the red blood cells. Another method of testing is the magnesium loading test. This test involves the patient collecting a 24 hour urine specimen and the total magnesium is then measured. The patient is then administered an injection of a specific amount of magnesium and then repeats the 24 hour collection of urine sample. If the results show that the body has retained more than a certain amount of magnesium, it is concluded that the body is deficient of the mineral and is holding on to the magnesium that was injected. In some cases if the signs and symptoms strongly indicate a magnesium deficiency the doctor may just do a trial test and order the patient to take either oral or injected magnesium and see if there are any significant changes to the symptoms.
Food Sources that provide magnesium
The center of the chlorophyll molecule that gives green vegetables their color contains magnesium. This makes vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli good food choices.
Unrefined whole grains, legumes such as peas and beans, nuts and seeds contain this essential mineral. The importance of eating unrefined is that when whole grains are refined the magnesium content of the food is lost when the germ and bran are removed.
Tap water contains the mineral with varying amounts depending on the supply.
Other food sources are bananas, avocados, milk, potatoes, halibut, and raisins.