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Magnesium - Everything you need to know!

Magnesium is implied in the formation of more than 300 essential enzymes of our organism. This proves how important it is for the body to have energy. Magnesium relaxed muscles and avoids muscle cramps and it’s a natural agent against stress, regulates blood pressure and prevents cardiac arrhythmia. For all these reasons, magnesium is currently the most valuable mineral.

Magnesium is a fundamental mineral for the human being. Most part of magnesium is found in bone tissue and its ions have an important role in the activity of many coenzymes and reactions that rely ATP.

The natural content of magnesium in food has been decreasing over the years, getting even more reduced after cooking.

Magnesium is the most powerful mineral for any age. It plays a fundamental role in cell metabolism, specially for bone and muscle tissue - therefore a minor deficiency could have harmful consequences and affect human health and wellness.

The symptoms of a deficiency is related to a great number of neural, cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal and muscle alterations.

In fact, there are plenty of epidemiology studies that prove that very few people get to meet the recommended magnesium requirements.

Magnesium is particularly important for women during pregnancy and breastfeeding periods, sportspeople, and diabetics.

But, even with age, a sufficient supply of magnesium will protect bones and cardiovascular health.

Table of contents

  1. What is Magnesium?
  2. Properties and effects
  3. Magnesium is recommended:
  4. Magnesium and the premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  5. Magnesium and Cholesterol
  6. Magnesium and pregnancy
  7. Children need Magnesium
  8. Blood sugar and Magnesium
  9. What foods contain Magnesium?
  10. Magnesium deficiency: Symptoms
  11. How to take Magnesium
  12. Magnesium: Important to whom?
  13. Experts on Magnesium
  14. What magnesium to buy?
  15. Magnesium in Sport
  16. Magnesium, Basic for the treatment of Panic Attacks
  17. Magnesium and Muscle Cramps
  18. Magnesium and Headaches
  19. Magnesium and Heart
  20. Magnesium and Stress
  21. Magnesium and High blood pressure
  22. Why does magnesium deficiency happen?
  23. Magnesium and Cholesterol

What is Magnesium?

  • Magnesium is not only an alkaline earth metal but also an essential mineral for the human body.
  • The body does not produce magnesium on its own, so it needs it supplied regularly.
  • Magnesium plays an essential role by providing the metabolism with energy, and is therefore particularly important for active people.
  • Magnesium is also involved in the nervous system and it’s basic for muscle functioning.
  • Magnesium, besides relaxing muscles, it also guarantees a good functioning in the whole muscle system, including the cardiovascular system.
  • Experts warn that a chronic magnesium deficiency in developed countries may have serious consequences for pregnant women, sportsmen and diabetics.
  • Magnesium binds to foods, facilitating organic compounds absorption.
  • Magnesium concentration in many foods has decreased in the recent years and it’s even lower once food gets cooked.

Properties and effects

alimentos con magnesio

Every time a muscle moves, it needs magnesium for it. Being part of more than 300 enzymes, magnesium participates in almost all cell metabolic processes.

Besides stabilising cell membranes, proteins and glucose, magnesium is also necessary to transform substances into energy. Without magnesium the body would lack of energy, even the nerve impulse transmission to the muscles and their fluid interaction is guaranteed thanks to it.

What’s more, bone and teeth will get a vitality boost.

Magnesium is recommended:

  • In spasms and tension
  • In diabetes mellitus
  • During pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • During magnesium urinary excretion through laxatives
  • In cases of stress
  • In thyroid diseases
  • In low-magnesium diet or nutrition
  • In training routines
  • In cases of migraine
  • If taking any type of drugs like the birth control pill
  • In adolescents in development stages
  • To prevent thrombosis, prevenir la trombosis, heart attack, kidney stones and high cholesterol levels.

Magnesium and the premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Many women who know about magnesium properties and take it regularly, have confirmed that the premenstrual syndrome gets considerably reduced when taking magnesium.

The premenstrual syndrome is presented from 2 to 14 days before the beginning of menstrual bleeding, and nobody really  knows why. The symptoms are water retention, muscle inflammation, mood swings and other symptoms that may appear and disappear periodically.

Women who take magnesium have reported the relief that magnesium provides during the premenstrual syndrome. It’s also a light diuretic that relaxes serotonin levels (the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness).  

Magnesium and Cholesterol

Magnesio contra el colesterol

Experts point out that there is a close relationship between magnesium chloride and cholesterol.

In fact, they claim that increasing the amount of magnesium in our daily diet can help balance blood cholesterol (lower LDL and triglyceride levels and raise HDL good cholesterol).

In order for the body to produce cholesterol, it requires the participation of an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase.

Magnesium helps to regulate the function of this enzyme so that it will work to maintain only the necessary levels of cholesterol in the blood.

A study conducted to find out how magnesium can affect cholesterol levels, showed that the amount of 430mg of magnesium chloride a day can lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase HDL.

However, taking magnesium should be accompanied by healthy lifestyle habits. Therefore, while consuming this mineral you should also reduce the intake of saturated fats and sugars, eliminating hydrogenated fats or those known as "trans". At the same time, you should increase the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids and exercise daily.

Magnesium and pregnancy

Magnesium is important to have a healthy pregnancy and a good birth. A enough supply of magnesium during pregnancy can improve the baby’s health since the day 1.

Many studies recommend taking magnesium before giving birth as it can prevent a premature birth and reduce the risk of cerebral palsy in children and sudden infant death syndrome.

Magnesium taken in efficient doses can be like folic acid, a very important nutritional supplement for pregnant women.

Many of the symptoms of pregnancy like constipation, leg cramps, back pain, water retention, irritability or insomnia are actually the symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium can also help women with fertility problems get pregnant, as it reduces Fallopian tubes spams, which usually hampers the ovule fertilisation.

Children need Magnesium

Magnesio para niños

Magnesium deficiency affects both children and adults. Sometimes, magnesium deficiency symptoms are associated to other factors.

However, the huge physical and behaviour change in children with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism is unbelievable after just taking a warm bath with magnesium salts.

Magnesium makes constipation disappear, it improves skin and mood, reduces irritability and improves social interaction, although nutrition is also important, of course.

In short, magnesium need is produced since the very moment of the conception and remains for a lifetime.

Blood sugar and Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is a risk factor for diabetic people. This data is included in many diagnostic medical manuals but many doctors are not really aware of it.

Magnesium increases insulin production, and insulin helps transport glucose to the cells.

A good diet and a right magnesium intake are the first steps in diabetes treatment, preferable to taking medication.

What foods contain Magnesium?

Fuentes alimenticias de Magnesio

Magnesium is found in nature in almost all foods, even in water. However, the amount included varies depending on the food. For instance, people who have a greater magnesium need and must take magnesium tablets as a nutritional supplement.

Whole grain, dark chocolate, walnuts, seeds, beans and green leafy vegetables. Even meat, fish and dairy products contain magnesium.

The problem is that when we cook, clean or process these foods, magnesium content gets reduced, and taking alcohol, coffee or sugar along with a high protein diet also enhances body magnesium levels reduction.

Magnesium deficiency: Symptoms

Magnesium deficiency can show up in many different ways.

Symptoms include:

  • Muscle and calf cramps
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Headache and migraine
  • Tachycardia, heart muscle spasms, arrhythmia
  • Gastrointestinal problems, nausea, vomits, diarrhea, cramps and dizziness
  • Premature birth
  • Cracked nails, tooth decay

How to take Magnesium

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends a dose between 300 and 400 mg of magnesium a day.

Actually, through daily nutrition we should be able to meet magnesium requirements, however, it’s quite compilated to get to 300 mg a day that way.

For instance, if one banana contains 36,40 mg of magnesium, we would have to eat around 9 bananas a day to meet magnesium requirements. But who on earth can eat 9 bananas a day?

Sportsmen and women, pregnant women, children, adolescents in development stages and diabetics need more magnesium - therefore, for them it’s even harder to get it from food.

In these cases, taking magnesium nutritional supplements is a very useful alternative to counteract magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium: Important to whom?

  • Women during pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Children and adolescents
  • People over 60
  • Sportsmen
  • Diabetics
  • People with a more demanding magnesium need due to drugs/alcohol consumption or stress
  • People with magnesium deficiency
  • People with headache or migraine

Experts on Magnesium

  1. Cells age faster without magnesium: An american study found that cells ageing process accelerates facing a magnesium deficiency. For this reason, a chronic magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of suffering diseases related to ageing like diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and osteoporosis, just like David Killilea stated in Burne Ames report of the University of California, Berkeley.

  2. Magnesium reduces cramps during pregnancy: The english study Magpie has shown that the regular treatment with magnesium during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of suffering dangerous eclampsia.

What magnesium to buy?

There are many types of magnesium supplements on the market. They are all combinations of this mineral with another substance, usually a salt.

Each salt will provide a different dose of the mineral elemental, ie it will have its own bioavailability rate. The dose of magnesium and its bioavailability is key in the efficacy of the supplement.

These are the types of magnesium supplements that we can find.

  • Magnesium oxide
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Magnesium glycinate
  • Magnesium malate
  • Magnesium ascorbate
  • Magnesium sulphate
  • Magnesium lactate
  • Magnesium carbonate

If you are thinking which magnesium to buy, the best option is magnesium glycinate.

Magnesium glycinate mixes magnesium together with glycine (a nonessential amino acid), resulting in one of the most bioavailable and absorbable forms of magnesium. This form is also the least damaging to the stomach and does not produce a laxative effect.

The price of magnesium in the form of supplementation is quite affordable, being around 15 euros.

Magnesium in Sport

If you regularly practice sports you have a higher risk of suffering with a mineral deficiency, especially of magnesium. This is due to the fact that magnesium is lost especially through sweat.

Read more

Magnesium, Basic for the treatment of Panic Attacks

Panic attacks have the risk of being a gateway to the use of dangerous drugs. Doctors do not really know the source or cause of panic attacks and end up treating them with anxiety medications like Xanax or Ativan. If these medicines do not work, Prozac or other antidepressants serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), as well as antipsychotics, are usually prescribed.

Read more

Magnesium and Muscle Cramps

The symptoms of magnesium deficiency range from a slight muscular contracture to a slight displacement of the joints or bruises on the skin. Stretching may be necessary to relieve cramps. 

Read more

Magnesium and Headaches

Headaches cause tension throughout the body: shoulders curve, the muscles of the neck become stiff and the pressure extends to numerous muscles of the skull. Magnesium helps to reduce tension and relax muscles. Recent studies show the effectiveness of magnesium for headache.

Read more

Magnesium and Heart

People with heart disease such as chest angina, heart arrhythmias, palpitations, hypertension, blood clots, or poor circulation, often suffer from a magnesium deficiency.

Read more

Magnesium and Stress

Stress is currently one of the main reasons that drive people to see a doctor. The “Time” magazine already warned in the early 1980s that stress had become the "epidemic of the 1980s." 

Read more

Magnesium and High blood pressure

The most commonly used drugs against hypertension (high blood pressure) are diuretics. The irony is that taking diuretics removes magnesium from the body.

Read more

Why does magnesium deficiency happen?

Cooking reduces the magnesium content even in food products that contain a lot of this mineral. In addition, a diet high in protein and the consumption of alcohol, coffee or sugar, contributes to reduce magnesium levels in the body. 

Read more

Magnesium and Cholesterol

Magnesium is necessary for the correct activity of an enzyme that decreases LDL, also known as "bad cholesterol". This enzyme also reduces triglycerides and increases HDL, or "good cholesterol". Another magnesium-dependent enzyme, is responsible for converting the essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, into prostaglandins, which are necessary for the heart and general health.

Read more

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