Healthy Living and Alternative/Holistic Care Articles
Magnesium in the Body
Understanding the effects of magnesium on your body -- including what magnesium deficiency can do
You need it to walk and you need it to talk. You need it in order for your heart to beat and your bones to grow strong and healthy. You need it in every cell in your body, as does every other creature on the planet.
What is it? Magnesium: The 12th element on the periodic table.
Magnesium is found in abundance all over the earth, the cosmos and in the human body. It is absolutely vital to your health. In the body, it functions as an electrolyte, a mineral which carries a charge. The body uses electrolytes to transmit signals between cells. Magnesium, along with calcium, potassium, and chloride, is one of the important electrolytes in the body.
In addition to its role in cellular communication, magnesium serves as a cofactor in over 300 metabolic reactions. It is absolutely indispensable to biological systems and your health. Magnesium plays an essential role in protein synthesis, gene code processing, energy metabolism, blood glucose regulation, blood pressure regulation, muscle contraction, nerve function as well as bone development. Ensuring that you are consuming adequate amounts of magnesium is incredibly important if you want to stay in optimum health.
Magnesium is a macro-mineral. This means that it is found in large quantities in the body and must be consumed in large amounts in the diet. Dietary sources of magnesium are as follows: cacao (the only therapeutic level food source), dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, fish, sprouted beans and avocados. The current recommended daily intake of magnesium is 320mg for adult women and 420mg for adult men, although some health practitioners believe that these recommended intakes should be higher, if not double their current value.
The adult body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, more than half of which is found in the skeleton. Not only is magnesium a vital structural component of bones, it also facilitates the absorption of calcium, so that it too can be used to build the skeleton. Without magnesium, the body cannot absorb calcium and use it for bone-building. As a result, inadequate magnesium levels lead to weak bones and osteoporosis.
One third of the magnesium in your body is contained within muscle cells and most of the rest is located inside of cells. On a molecular level, magnesium is responsible for the relaxation of muscle fibres after a contraction. In the absence of magnesium, your muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction. Not only would this result in painful muscle cramps, spasms and eventual paralysis, it would have grave implications on the cardiovascular system and the heart muscle. In fact, low magnesium levels can cause heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure.
Less than 1% of the magnesium in the body is located in the blood. This makes it difficult to accurately assess an individual's magnesium levels using a blood test. In the absence of a definitive test, health practitioners must rely on other methods of assessment. Most look at overall health and assess for key symptoms associated with deficiency. Early signs of magnesium deficiency include muscle twitch and/or fatigue, insomnia, poor memory, poor concentration and apathy.
If deficiency progresses, it can result in migraines, anxiety and panic attacks, cardiovascular changes, PMS, fibromyalgia, inflammation, arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes. Severe magnesium deficiency can cause continued muscle contraction, intense cardiovascular distress, tingling, numbness, delirium and impaired cognitive function.
Certain factors can put you more at risk of magnesium deficiency and the associated complications. People who are stressed, eat a high sugar diet and partake in alcohol or caffeine are more likely to be magnesium deficient. Certain prescription medications as well as gastrointestinal diseases and aging also increase the likelihood of deficiency.
The real trouble with magnesium deficiency is, that today's food sources contain less magnesium than they once did. Due to soil depletion and poor food processing practices, it is now harder to get all the magnesium you need from your diet. In today's day and age, supplementing your magnesium intake is necessary, especially if you display symptoms of depletion or have any of the lifestyle risk-factors.
Transdermal Magnesium Therapy
The best way to supplement your magnesium intake is to use topical magnesium chloride. This salt, commonly extracted from sea water or mined from ancient seabeds, dissolves in water, resulting in free-floating magnesium ions, which are immediately available for your body to absorb and use. Magnesium chloride supplementation takes the form of body sprays, lotions or bath salts. It is impossible to overdose on magnesium or chloride as your skin, the largest organ in your body, effectively regulates absorption.
Transdermal supplementation of magnesium chloride by-passes any digestive challenges you may experience, ensuring the magnesium is fully absorbed into your system. The magnesium applied to your skin is absorbed quickly and transported to the cells in your body, making topical application an effective way to address deficiency.
Transdermal magnesium treatment also allows for local application and can be used to provide immediate relief to muscle cramps, bone pain and nausea. Those who use topical magnesium chloride often report feeling more relaxed and better able to manage stress, experience less muscle and joint pain, have better cognition and memory as well as improved energy levels and athletic performance. With regular topical use, magnesium status can be improved and the complications associated with deficiency avoided.
If you feel persistently tired, stressed-out, anxious and achey, magnesium depletion may be the cause. Spraying on magnesium chloride, or taking a therapeutic bath might be a wonderful solution to your ailments. Replenishing your magnesium levels will recharge your health and help you regain your vital energies. Make sure you are getting enough magnesium in order to avoid the unnecessary health complications caused by deficiency, so that you may enjoy life and experience vibrant health for years to come.
Send general email to email@example.com
For our full address and list of email contacts, see the Contact Us page
· Acupuncture & TCM
Other NHC news:
Interested in a career in natural health care? Click here to find out about the Student's Guide to Natural Health Training.
Blog post: Understanding Our Editorial Choices, by Gisela McKay
At the computer for long periods? Find information and prevention tools
Workplace Wellness Programs: bring healthy ideas to your workplace...
Bio Intolerance Elimination: An exciting new approach to allergy relief
Read the #naturalhealth incanada Daily! Click here for news, recipes, opinions from Canadian naturalhealth practitioners.
Natural Healthcare Canada - the Canadian reference.
for Complementary and Alternative Healthcare;
developed by pixcode web development; housed at GreenInstead and founding partners of Bliss Pass .