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Magnesium is essential to good health, assisting in a number of important metabolic functions in the body. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. Around 50% of the total volume of body magnesium is found in bone and the remainder is found inside cells of body tissues and organs. Although only 1% of magnesium is found in the blood, the body works hard to maintain a constant level of blood magnesium.
Why Do We Need Magnesium?
Magnesium helps maintain muscle and nerve function and is required for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Absorbed by the small intestine magnesium carries out the following important functions:
- Keeps heart rhythm steady
- Maintains a healthy immune system
- Assists in maintaining normal blood pressure
- Assists in energy transportation
- Assists in muscle contraction and relaxation
- Assists in protein synthesis
- Helps in preventing hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes
Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
- Muscle spasms, twitches, soreness
- Back aches
- Anxiety, hyperactivity, restlessness
- Extreme fatigue
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest tightness and difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
Magnesium Food Sources
Green vegetables are generally a good source of magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule - which gives green vegetables their coloring - contains magnesium. Legumes and unrefined grains also provide high levels of magnesium, as does tap water depending on the source. Below is a list of magnesium rich foods:
- Whole Wheat Bread
- Soy Milk
- Nuts – Peanuts
- Seeds – Pumpkin and Squash
Data suggests that a substantial number of adults in the US are magnesium deficient, largely due to poor diet. Those with a healthy digestive system will be able to absorb more magnesium than those with gastrointestinal problems. Those with gastrointestinal disorders that impair absorption such as Crohn's disease are at higher risk of magnesium deficiency. The manifestations of deficiency are varied yet abundant and common. Magnesium deficiency often goes undetected and supplementing magnesium in the diet can effortlessly solve a number of common health complaints. Whilst most deficiency is easily corrected, excessive long term magnesium deficiency is potentially fatal.