Magnesium: Essential for hundreds of chemical reactions in the body
Research indicates that Magnesium may be helpful with the following:
• Helps convert carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy
• Balances and regulates metabolism of calcium, potassium and sodium
• Required for normal muscular function
• May support healthy lung function
• Necessary for healthy bone and tooth growth
• Involved in the transmission of nerve impulses and muscle contractions
• Shown to inhibit formation of kidney stones
• May support healthy cholesterol levels
What is Magnesium and what does it do?
Magnesium is essential for hundreds of chemical reactions in the body. It functions as a coenzyme (it participates in over 300 enzymatic reactions!) for proper function of nerves and muscles, formation of bones and energy metabolism. Recent studies suggest that is of particular importance for proper heart function. The body stores 60% of its magnesium in the bones, 26% is in the muscle tissues and the remaining magnesium is stored in the soft tissues of the body.
Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. There is an increased interest in the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Dietary magnesium is absorbed in the small intestines. Magnesium is excreted through the kidneys.
Who may need extra magnesium?
Magnesium supplementation may be indicated when a specific health problem or condition causes an excessive loss of magnesium or limits magnesium absorption. Some medicines may result in magnesium deficiency, including certain diuretics and antibiotics. Individuals with poorly controlled diabetes may benefit from magnesium supplements because of increased magnesium loss in urine associated with hyperglycemia.
Magnesium supplementation may be indicated for persons with alcoholism. Low blood levels of magnesium occur in 30% to 60% of alcoholics, and in nearly 90% of patients experiencing alcohol withdrawal. Anyone who substitutes alcohol for food will usually have significantly lower magnesium intakes.
Individuals with chronic malabsorptive problems such as Crohn’s disease, gluten sensitive enteropathy, regional enteritis, and intestinal surgery may lose magnesium through diarrhea and fat malabsorption. Individuals with these conditions may need supplemental magnesium.
Individuals with chronically low blood levels of potassium and calcium may have an underlying problem with magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supplements may help correct the potassium and calcium deficiencies.
Older adults are at increased risk for magnesium deficiency. The 1999-2000 and 1998-94 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys suggest that older adults have lower dietary intakes of magnesium than younger adults [6,23]. In addition, magnesium absorption decreases and renal excretion of magnesium increases in older adults. Seniors are also more likely to be taking drugs that interact with magnesium. This combination of factors places older adults at risk for magnesium deficiency. It is very important for older adults to consume recommended amounts of dietary magnesium.