Posted on by Paula Gallagher
Magnesium is critical for health. This amazing mineral is responsible for driving important processes in our body through its involvement in more than 600 enzymatic reactions, including energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Magnesium regulates muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. It’s also necessary for making protein, bone and DNA, and is involved with regulation of our neurotransmitters, making it important for mental health, as well.
Unfortunately, a large number of adults take in too little magnesium in their diets, resulting in deficiencies. Our diets are providing less magnesium than they used to. The composition of what we eat and the quality of our foods has drastically changed over the past 100 years, and this has made it difficult for even the most health-conscious to get enough magnesium.
Below you will find the mechanisms behind the role magnesium plays in certain physiological processes and how a deficiency can contribute to these conditions.
1. FatigueMagnesium is involved in the production and storage of ATP (used for energy production) and mitochondrial function. A magnesium deficiency also reduces mitochondrial resistance to free radical damage.
2. FibromyalgiaMagnesium plays an important role in ATP energy production, and as a muscle relaxant and pain reliever. Due to the complexity of symptoms of fibromyalgia, characterized by muscle soreness, cramping, headaches, pain, sleep disturbance and depression, a magnesium deficiency is thought to play an important role in the pathology of the disease.
3. Anxiety & DepressionMagnesium is involved in the regulation of neurotransmitters and serotonin receptor binding, as well as ATP energy production. Inadequate ATP can depolarize neurons affecting the transmission of neurotransmitters, which play an important role in the release of our “feel good” hormones. Magnesium also plays an important role as a nervous system tonic and gets depleted during acute stress.
4. Muscle Cramping & TensionMagnesium plays a key role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that regulates muscle contraction and nerve conduction. These actions are responsible for the role magnesium has as a muscle relaxant.
5. HypertensionMagnesium helps regulate blood pressure in much the same way it helps with muscle cramping and coronary heart disease. It does this by transporting calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that regulates muscle contraction and nerve conduction. These actions play an important role in vascular contractility and tone. Magnesium enhances dilation of vascular endothelium and a deficiency can result in vasoconstriction, which causes hypertension.
6. Coronary Artery DiseaseMagnesium acts as a natural calcium channel blocker and takes a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, thus regulating muscle contraction and nerve conduction. These actions play an important role in vascular contractility and tone. Magnesium enhances vasodilation of arteries and regulates vascular smooth muscle tone. A deficiency can result in vasospasm of the coronary arteries and cardiac arrhythmias.
7. OsteoporosisMagnesium is a key component to calcium homeostasis. It is a cofactor required in the metabolism of vitamin D and it also stimulates the hormone calcitonin, which prevents osteoclast activity and bone break down.
8. AsthmaMagnesium regulates calcium channels in bronchiole smooth muscle, decreasing calcium uptake and release, resulting in relaxation and dilation of bronchial airways. Magnesium also acts as an excellent bronchodilating and anti-inflammatory agent.
In terms of supplementation, not all magnesium supplements are created equal. The most absorbable forms of magnesium include those “chelated” or bound to an organic molecule, such as the amino acid glycine. Before you take any supplement, consult with a health care practitioner. The proper dose and type of magnesium can personalized for your particular situation .
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