In chemistry, magnesium is a silver-white metal of atomic number 12. However, in nutrition, it is an essential mineral naturally present in the sea, plants, animals, and humans. In the human body, most of this mineral is found in bones.
Magnesium is a major mineral with loads of health and nutritional benefits;
Nutritional Benefits of Magnesium
- It helps enzymes regulate different body functions such as;
- production of energy
- blood glucose control
- helps in energy creation
- protein synthesis and formation
- It helps with muscle functioning
- It acts as an antacid for heartburn
Health Benefits of Magnesium
- It helps in bone formation
- Maintains the good health of the heart and prevent different heart-related diseases.
- It helps relieve headaches
- Relieves anxiety
- It helps regulate the body nervous system
- Magnesium supplements boost exercise performance
- It lowers chronic inflammation and reduce the risk of diseases such as obesity and chronic disease
Magnesium occurs naturally in the sea, food, dietary supplements, and medicines. All these sources contain different concentration levels of the mineral.
- Food sources; Green leafy vegetables, nuts, fruits
- Dietary supplements; magnesium oxide, citrate.
- Medicines; Laxatives, Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia, Extra-strength Rolaids
Magnesium Rich Foods
Magnesium is found naturally in many foods but mostly plant foods, such as;
- Vegetables- boiled spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas
- Fruits- banana, avocado, figs.
- Nuts- almond, chestnut, cashew nut, macadamia nut,
- Legumes- black beans, kidney beans
- Seafood- salmon, tuna.
- Whole grains- oat, rice
- Dark chocolate
Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body that helps with the body’s optimum functioning. These supplements are recommended and prescribed to patients with severe hypomagnesemia. Different supplements have different levels of magnesium concentration and are absorbed at different rates. They include; magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide, and magnesium aspartate.
Before taking any supplements one should get a doctor’s prescription.
This is a form of supplement used mostly to treat and relieve constipation. It is easily absorbed by the body.
This is a form of magnesium salt that appears as a white, yellowish, grayish-white or brown crystalline solid or crystalline powder. It has antacid properties and acts as a counter remedy for heartburn and stomach upset.
This is a mixture of magnesium chloride flakes and water that is readily absorbed by the body. When applied on the skin it increases magnesium concentration in the body.
This condition is due to low magnesium levels in the body and is also known as hypomagnesemia. According to research, about 75% of people are hypomagnesemia. This may be as a result of;
- alcohol abuse
- Kidney problems
- Poor diet intake.
- Taking certain medications
- diabetes mellitus
- Insufficient vitamin D and sunlight exposure
Signs of hypomagnesemia
- tremor, cramp, and body shacking.
- High blood pressure
- personality changes and mental Disorders
- Irregular heartbeat
- poor coordination
- Weak bones(Osteoporosis)
Treatment of hypomagnesemia
- Use of magnesium salts such as citrate and oxide as medication.
- Consumption of foods rich in magnesium.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for magnesium among different people is;
- Children between 1-13 years need between 80-240 milligrams (mg) daily.
- Females above 19 years (and not pregnant) need 310-320 mg daily.
- males above 19 years require about 400-420 mg per day.
- Pregnant women require 350 to 400 mg a day.
Quantity intakes of above the upper recommended RDA can result in magnesium overdose.
Magnesium Toxicity is as a result of an overdose on its dietary supplement or kidney problems rather than a high intake of food rich in magnesium. It is also referred to as hypermagnesemia. Hypermagnesemia may result in;
- low blood pressure
- kidney problems
- diarrhea and cramping
- cardiac arrest and death due to excessive buildup in the body
Symptoms of Hypermagnesemia
- Lethargy and inactivity
- urine retention
- low blood pressure
- facial flushing and reddening of the face
- nausea and vomiting
Treatment of Hypermagnesemia
Magnesium toxicity is treated through;
- Identifying and stopping the source of extra magnesium.
- Intravenous calcium and diuretics may be used to flush out excess magnesium.
Magnesium For Sleep
Many people have difficulty sleeping marked with irregular sleeping patterns night. This is sometimes due to constant high brain activity and even stress. When ingested, magnesium quiets the nervous system thus calming the body and the mind. This helps with improving sleep quality and maintaining regular sleep patterns.
Magnesium For Anxiety
Anxiety is an intense and persistent worry and fear about a particular situation(s). According to research Magnesium lactate is used to reduce anxiety levels as it helps reduce stress and anxiety
Magnesium For Constipation
Constipation is a common condition characterized by irregular and hard stools. Constipation is a result of not taking enough fluids, insufficient fiber in the diet, and changing eating habits. Dietary supplements such as magnesium citrate help promote bowel movement and is prescribed for the treatment of constipation.
Magnesium For Headaches
Hypomagnesemia may result in migraine headaches. Research shows that taking 300 mg magnesium twice a day can prevent mild headaches. Taking magnesium supplements such as magnesium oxide may reduce headaches.
Magnesium For Leg Cramps
Hypomagnesemia can be a cause of muscle cramps. Over time, magnesium was used in treating leg cramps. However, research shows that taking magnesium for weeks doesn’t prevent nighttime leg cramps thus is an ineffective treatment plan. As a substitute, a patient can do stretches, massage, and different medications to relieve leg cramps.
Magnesium In Pregnancy
Magnesium is important in pregnant women as it helps with different processes such as;
- It is used in preventing seizures in women with pre-eclampsia
- Giving magnesium to pregnant women before preterm births can reduce the risk of cerebral palsy in the infant.
- Administering magnesium as a shot to pregnant women helps in the treatment of eclampsia_complication characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine.
However, one should consult his/her doctor before starting any medication.
Magnesium And Blood Pressure
Various researches have proved that magnesium supplements may be used to lower and prevent high blood pressure. However, the anti-hypertensive effect of magnesium may be only effective among people with magnesium deficiency,