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Magnesium 101

By Charlene J. Nuble

Magnesium is an important mineral that serves numerous essential functions in the body. There are more than 300 biochemical processes in the human body that require the use of the mineral magnesium. From the center of the human body, the heart, to the framework, the bones, some of the body's most fundamental systems and structures depend on this very vital mineral. For a normal life and health, sufficient amount of magnesium must be taken and maintained by the human body daily.

Magnesium is important to bone health and structure. Indeed, fully half of the magnesium in the human body is found in the bones. One important contribution magnesium makes to the bones is to assist in the production of the hormone calcitonin which helps increases the level of calcium in the bones. Magnesium also controls the acidity of the blood, which is beneficial to bones, as high acid levels can weaken bone structure.

Magnesium is also believed to play a part in controlling the neuromuscular activities of the heart and helps to keep the heartbeat steady and regular. It helps to keep blood pressure levels within the normal range. For these reasons, researchers have been investigating the ways that magnesium could affect heart disease treatment and prevention. If proven positive, this could revolutionalize the treatment of the disease!

There is also interest in magnesium in relation to diabetes. That is because magnesium is necessary for insulin secretion and function and it also plays a big role in controlling blood sugar. Magnesium serves to assist in turning blood sugar into energy.

Working in partnership with a variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, magnesium serves a wide range of purposes. It is essential to the health and functioning of the body's neurological system and muscular system, serving - among other purposes - to enable the contraction of muscles and nerves.

Having so many uses, it is therefore important to maintain sufficient levels of magnesium in the body as serious health problems can result from deficiencies of this essential mineral. Adult males need about 350mg of magnesium per day and adult women requiring 280mg daily with an increase of up to 420mg per day while pregnant or breastfeeding. Children, depending on size and weight, need between 130mg to 240mg per day.

Deficiency in magnesium can cause a variety of symptoms of varying severity. These include significant calcium loss, heart spasms, irregular heartbeat, nervousness, confusion, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, muscle contractions and spasms, fatigue, and feelings of weakness, both in general and in the muscles.

Consuming the standard recommended daily intake levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is essential to good health and the proper functioning of the body and its many systems. Unfortunately, most people do not achieve this through diet alone. Using nutritional supplements to make up the difference between what you should eat and what you really do eat is an effective and safe option provided that you do so with the understanding that the standard recommended dosage should be used unless advised otherwise by your personal health care provider. The body's systems are based upon a delicate balance of chemicals and too much can often be as harmful as too little. A licensed nutritionist can help you to make a supplement plan best suited to your individual dietary needs and health goals.


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