Magnesium is extremely important for our body, as it is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions, and is essential for cellular energy production.
Moreover, this mineral is a base component for materials of the bone, DNA, and RNA, and is vital for the regulation of blood sugar, synthesis of protein, and nerve function.
Magnesium is a chemical element of the alkaline earth metal group and is believed to be a primordial element, or that it has existed since before the Earth was formed. It is abundant in the crust of the earth and in seawater and is produced by the accumulation of three helium nuclei to a carbon base – most commonly from the erosion of aging stars.
Since its chemical isolation in 1808, magnesium has found countless uses in medicine and healthcare.
Numerous health experts call it the “miracle mineral”, and here are some of the numerous benefits of its regular intake:
1. It promotes cell communication
In order to support our health, body cells need to communicate with surrounding cells, and magnesium is a necessary building block of a vital cell-signaling molecule – cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), which is present in numerous body parts, including the neurological, immunologic, and metabolic systems.
2. It relaxes the muscles
Magnesium is the most powerful natural muscle relaxant available, and it is commonly used by doctors to treat a life-threatening arrhythmia, constipation before surgery, women in pre-term labor, or high blood pressure during pregnancy or seizures.
3. It sharpens the brain
Magnesium also plays essential functions in the areas of brain health and cognition. As a vasodilator, magnesium relaxes the smooth muscles, boosts blood flow to the brain and the surrounding areas, reduces cortisol levels, and boosts cognition, learning, and memory.
4. It supports chromosomes
Magnesium also has a beneficial effect on chromosomes, as its ions affect chromosome condensation, or ‘folding and coiling,’ wherein the DNA material is held together by proteins at the centromere, and gives chromosomes their elegant shape.
5. It regulates labor cycles
The intravenous administration of magnesium sulfate is commonly used to treat preterm labor, which occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy, by inhibiting or slowing contractions.
6. It normalizes sleep
Magnesium affects the sleep-wake-regulating hormone melatonin, and studies have found that the dietary magnesium supplementation leads to statistically significant increases in sleep time and sleep efficiency, as well as reduced factors like sleep latency and serum cortisol (stress hormone) concentration.
7. It optimizes vitamin D levels
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association published a study which showed that magnesium is needed for the proper activation and function of vitamin D, and thus helps regular calcium and phosphate to affect the growth and maintenance of bones.
Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is a common issue these days, and it has been found that even 75% of Americans are not meeting their recommended intake.
The National Health and Medical Research Council provides the following magnesium RDIs by age and gender:
- 19-30 years: 400 mg/day
- 31-50: 420 mg
- 51+: 420 mg
- 19-30 years: 310 mg/day
- 31-50: 320 mg
- 51+: 320 mg
- 14-18 years: 400 mg/day
- 19-30 years: 350 mg
- 31-50 years: 360 mg
- 14-18 years: 360 mg/day
- 19-30: 310 mg
- 31-50: 320 mg
Here are the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency:
- Calcification of arteries, which can lead to coronary problems like heart attack, heart failure, and heart disease.
- Muscle spasms and cramps, since the calcification causes stiffening of the arteries
- Anxiety and depression
- Poor bone health
- High blood pressure, or hypertension
- Magnesium deficiency has a drastic impact on sleep, as it is the ultimate relaxation mineral, and is essential for the proper function of the GABA receptors in the brain, a neurotransmitter that allows the brain to transition to a restful state
- Low energy levels and fatigue, since this mineral is required in the reactions that create ATP energy in the cells
- Other mineral deficiencies, because it is needed for proper utilization of calcium, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin D, and many other nutrients.
- Low magnesium levels lead to hormonal imbalances, as well as more pronounced PMS symptoms
- Pregnancy complaints like muscle cramps and hypertension, as magnesium levels can drastically affect pregnancy health and mood
However, the following 10 foods are the richest magnesium sources available: cashews, dark chocolate, avocados, black beans, tofu, pumpkin seeds, dry buckwheat, salmon, bananas, and cooked spinach.
Make sure you increase their intake and optimize the magnesium levels in your body!