What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a macro element, meaning it is one of the most high-quantity minerals in the body. In most adults, magnesium contributes about 50-60% (20 to 28 grams) to the makeup of teeth and bones, 39% in soft tissue and only 1% in the blood.  A normal magnesium concentration is considered to lie between 0.75 and 0.95 mmol/ L.Magnesium activates enzymes, helps regulate levels of other vitamins and minerals in the body as well as contributes to energy production. Every organ in the body, especially the heart, kidneys, and muscles, needs this mineral in order to function properly.

What is the function of magnesium?

Magnesium participates in many of the reactions that take place in cells . It is the cofactor of more than 300 enzymes that control processes very different between them: from the synthesis of the proteins to the functioning of muscles and nerves, and to the control of blood  pressure and blood glucose levels.

Magnesium is necessary for the production of energy and phosphorylation and glycolysis oxidative. The mineral participates in the structural development of the bones and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA and glutathione (an important antioxidant). Magnesium is also vital to the transport of calcium and potassium through cell membranes, essential for nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and heart rate regulation. Some individuals put magnesium on their skin to treat infected skin ulcers and boils as well as speed up wound healing. 

Which foods are rich in magnesium?

Magnesium is present in almost all foods. It is particularly abundant in green leafy vegetables (such as spinach), as well as in legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and bananas. In general, foods rich in fiber are also good sources of magnesium.

What is the recommended daily requirement of magnesium?

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is equal to 300 mg.

What are the consequences of magnesium deficiency?

Magnesium deficiency is not common. Those most at risk are individuals who take certain medications or are suffering from diseases that can affect the absorption process. Such diseases include chronic diarrhea associated with Crohn's disease, celiac disease, type 2 diabetes, or individuals who have undergone intestinal bypass surgery. In severe cases, magnesium deficiency can lead to cramping and twitching of the muscles, numbness, seizures, arrhythmias, coronary spasm, personality changes and reduction in the levels of calcium and potassium in the blood.

What are the consequences of excessive magnesium intake?

Any excess of magnesium from food is typically removed by the kidneys. Excessive doses can however, trigger diarrhea, sometimes associated with nausea and abdominal cramps. Only doses greater than 5 grams per day have been associated with toxicity, which can lead low blood pressure levels, obstruction of the peristalsis bowel, depression, lack of energy, muscle weakness, breathing difficulties and, in more severe cases, cardiac arrest .

It is true that magnesium can help lessen menstrual cramps?

This is true. With menstrual cramps occurring every month, magnesium can help relieve symptoms associated with PMS such as bloating, weight gain, leg swelling and breast tenderness. Available in various dosage forms, such as vials or bags, it is generally recommended to take magnesium at least one week before the start of a woman’s menstrual cycle.