Magnesium

Functions of Magnesium in the body

  • Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. 
  • It is primarily found within the cell, where it is crucial for (ATP) metabolism.
  • It plays a role in the structure of bones and teeth.
  • Magnesium is considered the “anti-stress” mineral. It is a natural tranquilliser, as its functions is to relax skeletal muscles as well smooth muscles of blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract .
  •  It is required for DNA and RNA synthesis, and for both aerobic and anaerobic energy production.

Deficiency/ Insufficiency signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of deficiency are usually not seen until serum magnesium decreases to 0.5 mmol/L or lower. 

Clinical manifestations of deficiency  are-

Electrolyte disturbance

a) Hypokalemia- The exact mechanism for the development of hypokalemia in magnesium deficiency is not clear, but may be related to the dependence of Na+, K+ -ATPase.

b) Hypocalcaemia

Neuromuscular and central nervous system

Carpopedal spasm, Convulsions, Muscle cramps, Muscle weakness, tremors, Vertigo, Depression.

Cardiovascular

Atrial tachycardia’s, fibrillation Supra ventricular arrhythmia, Ventricular arrhythmia.

The frequency of cardiac arrhythmia occurring after myocardial infarction is higher in hypo-magnesemia patients and is reduced by its administration.

Complications of magnesium deficiency

Altered glucose homeostasis, Atherosclerotic vascular disease, Hypertension, Myocardial infarction, Osteoporosis.

There is an inverse relationship between magnesium intake and blood pressure.

Miscellaneous

Migraine, Asthma, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Impaired athletic performance.

Best food sources identified

The best sources of magnesium are dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and whole grains. The following table shows some best foods sources 

Food Serving 

Size

Magnesium (mg)

Pumpkin or squash seeds, without shell

60 ml (¼ cup)

317

Brazil nuts, without shell

60 ml (¼ cup)

133

Peas, black-eyed peas cooked

Tempeh/fermented soy products 

175 ml (¾ cup)

150 g (3/4 cup)

121

116

Cheese, soy

50 g (1½ oz)

114

Soybeans, mature, cooked

175 ml (¾ cup)

109

Sunflower seed butter

30 ml (2 Tbsp)

101

Amount of Magnesium needed per day

AGE

0-3 Month

4-6 Month

7-9 Month

10-12 Month

1-3 Year

4-6 Year

7-10 Year

11-14 Year

15-18 Year

19- 50 +   Male

19-50+ Female

MAGNESIUM mg/day

55

60

75

80

85

120

200

280

300

300

270

Health Benefits of Magnesium

Magnesium has been used for numerous conditions. The common uses are -

DIABETES

It is important for the metabolism of carbohydrates and glucose.

HEART HEALTH AND ARRHYTHMIA

Useful in maintaining the health of muscles, including hearts.

BONE HEALTH

It is important for the metabolism of calcium. It is helpful in osteoporosis.

ASTHMA

Magnesium appears safe and beneficial for severe acute asthma. It should only  be provided by healthcare professional.

HEADACHE

Patients with cluster headaches and classic common migraine, especially menstrual migraine, have low levels of magnesium. 

DYSPEPSIA

Another condition it is important is dyspepsia, a key symptom of gastroesophageal re-flux disease.

CONSTIPATION

Used for treating constipation with magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia) or magnesium citrate.


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