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Important Facts About Magnesium And Your Health

Magnesium is an essential element in all life forms; plants, animals, and humans. Vital in nerve transmission, heart function, as well as skeletal and muscle contraction, this mineral is essential for many metabolic functions that take place in the human body’s cells. [1] Magnesium is needed for proper brain, heart, and overall health.

Role of Magnesium in the Human Body
Magnesium deficiency, although often overlooked, has dire consequences on health. [2] Without magnesium, other essential nutrients are sub-optimally retained in our bodies. Our bodies can’t absorb calcium well, and potassium is needlessly excreted without this nutrient.

Disorders linked with Magnesium deficiency
The following disorders have been linked with moderate to severe magnesium deficiency:

• Migraine headaches
• Type 2 Diabetes
• Osteoporosis
• Hypertension
• Atherosclerotic vascular disease, also commonly known as hardening of the arteries
• Colon cancer
• Asthma

Magnesium and Depression
A variety of neuromuscular and psychiatric disorders have been linked with magnesium deficiency. [4] Although the findings for this controversial study have been various, medical practitioners are applying magnesium supplementation and dietary conditions that increase magnesium as part of their treatment. Results have been satisfactorily positive as a homeopathic approach to mental health problems.

Magnesium and heart health
Although the relationship between abnormal heart rhythm and magnesium hasn’t been researched in full, the Framingham Heart Study found that low magnesium levels in the blood may be an independent cause of atrial fibrillation and cardiac arrhythmias for people who have no history of heart disease. [5]

Getting enough Magnesium
Not getting enough in our diets is a worldwide problem, especially in the United States. A diet rich in dark, leafy greens, fruits and vegetables is needed to make sure you get the recommended daily amount of 410-420 milligrams. [6]

You likely need a higher daily intake if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and if you have gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac or Chron’s disease. Some antibiotics and chemotherapeutic agents may also cause excess excretion of magnesium from the body through urination. Taking zinc supplements may also impede your body’s absorption of magnesium.

Too much magnesium, a disorder termed as hypermagnesemia, is very rare and rarely a cause for concern because we excrete excess magnesium through urination on a daily basis. Hypermagnesemia usually occurs with people who have kidney disorders.

Hypomagnesaemia
Symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency are very subtle, and should seek medical attention if you suffer the following. A severe lack of magnesium, also called hypomagnesaemia, could potentially be life-threatening. [7] Symptoms include:

• Tremors
• Palpitations or an otherwise abnormal series of heart beats
• Uncontrollable writhing of the fingers, hands, toes and feet
• Uncontrollable eye movements
• Bouts of confusion, disorientation, or hallucinations

Sources of Magnesium
Since all living life forms need magnesium to survive, fruits and vegetables usually have an abundance of it if grown organically in good soil. Levels of magnesium in crops can vary depending on how they were grown, since deficiency in the soil can cause poor magnesium uptake in produce.

Asparagus, beets, beans, broccoli and cabbage are vegetables rich in magnesium. [8] Apricots, bananas, pitted cherries, grapefruits, and oranges also have high magnesium content, according to Cedars-Sinai patient dietary program. You can also add dry almonds and brazil nuts, cashews and roasted peanuts to salads for a magnesium-rich meal.

References:

[1] Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium in Food. Fertilizing Crops to Improve Human Health: a Scientific Review, Chapter 5. Retrieved from http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_docs/programs/anmp/IPNI_FCHH%20Vol.2_FF.pdf#page=8

[2] Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutrition Reviews, Volume 70, Issue 3, pages 153-164. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00465.x/abstract

[3] Magnesium Metabolism and its disorders. The Clinical Biochemist Reviews. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1855626/

[4] Magnesium in depression. Pharmacological Reports, Volume 65, Issue 3, May-June 2013, pages 547-554. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1734114013710326

[5] Low Serum Magnesium and the Development of Atrial Fibrillation in the Community: The Framingham Heart Study. American Heart Association. Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/11/20/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.082511.short

[6] Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#h2

[7] Hypomagnaesemia signs and symptoms. Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypomagnesemia

[8] Magnesium Rich Foods. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Retrieved from https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Documents/CP0403MagnesiumRichFoods.pdf

Infographic Image Sources (creative commons):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CSIRO_ScienceImage_2893_Crystalised_magnesium.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brazil_nuts.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sesame-Seeds.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/Sesame-Seeds.jpg/773px-Sesame-Seeds.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Avocado.jpeg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Salmo_salar_(crop).jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Soybeanvarieties.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minze.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brownrice.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:YellowCorn.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bananas_white_background.jpg

 

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