When it comes to the importance of minerals, there seems to be an endless stream of commercials and media articles giving all of the attention to calcium. It may be of interest for you to know that magnesium may be the most important mineral in the human body for many reasons.
Magnesium is actually the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is required for well over 300 biochemical reactions. Among the many roles of this critically important mineral is to protect the brain from excitotoxic damage. Basically, it protects the nervous system by protecting the blood brain barrier and preventing the entrance of stress hormones into the brain. Pretty cool, huh? In addition, magnesium has a key role in blood sugar regulation. It just so happens that blood sugar regulation is a critical component to down-regulating the stress/inflammatory response in the body.
Since research indicates that people like lists, here is a list of some other “things” that magnesium is required for:
* Metabolism of carbohydrates to produce energy (which includes ATP production) requires many chemical reactions that are magnesium dependent.
* Part of this energy production process includes the production and utilization of carbon dioxide, which is actually a very potent anti-oxidant in the body.
* Regulates an enzyme in the liver called HMG Co-A reductase, which regulates cholesterol production by the liver.
* Supports proper nerve function and a healthy immune system.
* Aids in the relaxing of skeletal, smooth, and GI muscles.
* Can suppress the ability of the hippocampus to stimulate the release of stress hormones.
* Magnesium is 18 times more concentrated in cardiac muscle than in the bloodstream and helps to regulate heartbeat (does your cardiologists pay attention to that one?).
* Helps regulate blood sugar levels.
* Promotes normal blood pressure.
* Involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.
* Play a key role in the production of glutathione peroxidase, another key anti-oxidant produced in the body.
Interestingly enough, only a very small portion (around 1-3% depending on who you read) of the magnesium in the body is found in the blood, the rest is found in the tissues of the body and of course in bones. As a quick side note, calcium will not be properly utilized in the body without optimal magnesium levels as a pre-requisite. As another quick side note, calcium will not be adequately incorporated into skeletal matrix without adequate amounts of saturated fats in the diet, in addition to optimal magnesium levels. I wonder how many females with osteopenia and osteoporosis are magnesium deficient and eating a low fat diet? Taking all the medication in the world is not likely to solve that problem, right? Hmmm….
Magnesium deficiency is nearly epidemic at this point. Dr. C. Norm Shealy, M.D., estimates that roughly 87% of the population is magnesium deficient. Poor soil content, food processing, commonly prescribed medical drugs, poor stomach acidity, compromised mineral absorption, and stress of all kinds can lead to magnesium deficiency in the body. Some of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency may include:
* Poor quality sleep – particularly an inability to fall asleep
* Poor recovery from exercise
* Muscle twitching
* Vascular spasms
* Abnormal heart beat
* Poor memory
It is also noteworthy that magnesium deficiency has been associated with epilepsy, M.S., and a host of other diseases and illnesses.
What is also interesting is that Egypt happens to be one of the only places in the world where the magnesium levels in the soil are actually up to par. In Egypt, the cancer rate is only about 10% of that in Europe and America. The main difference happens to be an extremely high magnesium intake of 2.5 to 3g in these cancer-free populations. That amount of magnesium easily eclipses ten times the amount taken in by the average individual in most western countries.
So, what do you do about this? Should you run out and start popping magnesium supplements like they are skittles? Not necessarily…
For me, a FOOD FIRST approach works best. Cultivate awareness and begin to include more foods in your daily regimen that contain higher amounts of magnesium. Excellent food sources of magnesium that also support optimal cellular oxidative metabolism are:
* Bone Broth
* Bone Broth
* Bone Broth
* Tropical fruits
* Pulp-free orange juice
* Dark chocolate (above 72%)
* High quality coffee (coffee may be one of the only sources of magnesium in an average individual’s daily routine)
There are ways to supplement magnesium during times where the demands on the body are increased. Remember, stressors of all kinds will cause the cells of the body to lose magnesium. When appropriate, topical magnesium can be used (I personally use Life Flo Magnesium gel) and/or Epsom Salt baths and foot soaks can be implemented.
Magnesium is awesome, and you should have some. Thank you.