Good morning my friends! I hope this day finds you well. Continuing on my mission to learn as much as I can about essential minerals that the body needs, I have researched Magnesium this week. Holy buckets! Magnesium is such an amazing mineral. After reading the first article, I was so overwhelmed with where to start, that I took three days off researching to process what I had gathered and how in the world I was going to organize all this information.
Magnesium is a macro-mineral. This means that our bodies need a lot of it for proper function. The hundreds of reactions that it is responsible for are occurring on a nearly constant basis.
Magnesium is an electrolyte. We talked about electrolytes in the last post, but in case you missed that one, electrolytes are substances that carry an electrical charge when mixed with body fluids, allowing them to communicate with the cells in your body. You can learn more about electrolytes here.
Magnesium is necessary for over 300 biochemical processes in the body! Many enzymes rely on Magnesium to function properly. As you can imagine, having an imbalance can wreak extensive havoc in the body. Magnesium plays a particularly important role in the metabolism of Calcium and Potassium. We need it for proper bone and tooth development, as well as normal nerve and muscle function. Magnesium in the blood is strictly regulated by the body. This is why salt baths are effective for a short period of time, but the extra magnesium in your blood is quickly eliminated in your waste, and the effects of a salt bath are short lived. Most (more than half, or 60-70%) of the Magnesium found in the body, is stored in the bones. When blood Magnesium levels get too low, the body releases some from the bones. When it is too high, the body eliminates it through the waste systems.
Magnesium maintains hundreds of processes in the body. Some of the most important ones are to help maintain healthy brain function and to help maintain healthy heart function. It is also believed to be responsible for helping to regulate insulin in those with Type 2 Diabetes. It can help improve sleep quality, as well as help to control migraines and reduce symptoms of depression. Magnesium is an important factor in protein synthesis and it plays a crucial role in muscle and nerve function. Also important is the role that it plays in our energy production. Daily recommendations for magnesium vary by age and gender. This article, published by The National Institutes of Health, has a nice little chart showing how much you need based on those factors.
Hypermagnesemia (too much magnesium)
It is fairly rare to have too much Magnesium in our bodies. The gut and kidneys place strict controls on how much is allowed into the blood. There are few scenarios that will allow for more than the body can use to enter the bloodstream. There are a couple of rare situations where you might have to watch out for too much Magnesium, typically extreme medical cases involving renal failure and supplements that contain Magnesium combined. It is also occasionally used therapeutically, in a closely monitored medical situation, to control neurological function after a cardiac event. Symptoms of Hypermagnesemia include confusion and weakness, decreased breathing rate and in severe cases, cardiac arrest. You may experience nausea and vomiting, or abnormally low blood pressure. Headaches, heart palpitations, and flushing are also symptoms to watch for, and in severe cases, Hypermagnesemia can even result in coma. This would require extremely large amounts of Magnesium in the blood.
There is not a lot of information to be found on Hypermagnesemia, I am guessing because it really is quite rare. Hypomagnesemia (not enough Magnesium), on the other hand, is fairly common.
Hypomagnesemia (Magnesium deficient)
Hypomagnesemia is far more common than Hypermagnesemia. It is caused by things like malabsorption which is often caused by gastrointestinal disease, alcohol dependence, and age. Type 2 Diabetes can also be a factor in Magnesium deficiency. Having high levels of certain hormones present can also decrease Magnesium availability, as well as eating a lot of highly processed foods. Deficiencies can range from mild to severe.
There are many symptoms related to Magnesium deficiency. Fatigue, confusion, or sleepiness are common. You may also experience personality changes, mental disorders, or irritability. Muscle spasms and tremors can often be traced to Magnesium deficiencies. Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, are all symptoms that can develop if Magnesium is not sufficient in the blood. Increased or irregular heartbeat and insomnia are symptoms that you might experience if you are low in Magnesium. Osteoporosis and Asthma can also be linked to Hypomagnesemia. In severe cases you might see seizures or coma.
If you suspect a Magnesium deficiency, please contact a medical professional for proper treatment. Minerals are delicately balanced, and it is easy to disturb the balance of one in an attempt to balance another. Because most Magnesium is stored in the bones, it is difficult to test, but there are tests that can determine the amount in your blood. Those are usually blood or urine panels that your doctor can order for you.
Magnesium has partnerships with Calcium and Vitamin D. The three rely on each other for proper function, and if one is not present in the proper levels in our bodies, the others are likely to be inefficient and unbalanced as well.
Thankfully, Magnesium is found in many common foods. With a little bit of effort, one can certainly get a healthy dose of Magnesium from their diet. I always prefer diet based nutrients over supplemental ones, but if you find that a supplement is necessary, please be certain to get a high quality supplement. Many of the lower quality supplements are abundant in fillers and hard for us to absorb. Better to spend the money on quality supplements that are actually digestible, than to waste money on those that won’t do you much good anyway. But first, take a look at your diet and see if you can add some of these great foods to your regular consumption habits.
Foods containing Magnesium
- Bone Broth
- Chicken Breast
- Dark chocolate
- Kelp and sea vegetables
- Peanuts and Peanut butter
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Unrefined sea salt
With a quick internet search, you can find a plethora of articles and charts showing which food items are high in calcium. I have a couple great articles that list many foods, plus the amounts of Magnesium in each serving, that I will include links to at the end of this post. There is a fantastic article that I found on the Weston A Price site, that is worth the time it takes to read it, if you want to know more about Magnesium.
I am not a medical professional. I have recently developed a passion for nutrition due to my own medical issues. I am only sharing what I have found because I think it is interesting, and more people need to be educated on minerals. Please do not take any of this post as medical advice, and if you suspect an imbalance, please seek the help of a medical professional before attempting to treat them. I can’t stress this enough. The fine balance of minerals in our body is a slippery slope to mess with unsupervised or with lack of proper information. Below I have listed links to the sources where I got my information. Several are long, comprehensive articles, full of abundant information. I highly recommend further reading, as I am far from an expert on the subject, but it is quite fascinating information.