Mineral: Magnesium

Magnesium (Mg) is a critical and essential mineral. It is one of our seven essential macrominerals. Dietary and good sources are green leafy vegetables like spinach, fish, beans, nuts and whole grains. The foods it is richest in are sunflower seeds, shrimp and prawns, almonds and Brazil nuts.

The mineral takes part in myriad enzymatic reactions in the body. It has very important physiological functions. Most importantly it is associated with the metabolism of food, in the synthesis of proteins, fatty acids and in the transmission of nerve impulses.

Magnesium often interacts with various drugs so there is need to check with any doctor or pharmacist regarding prescriptions. Magnesium supplementation however is being used in the management of hypertension, type-2 diabetes, asthma, pain and cardiovascular disease but this is still in the early phases of research.

Location Of Magnesium In The Body

The body contains about 25 grams.

It is found mainly in the bones where 52 – 60% is located, in muscle (28%), various soft tissues (19%), in blood serum (0.3%; the concentration range is 0.75 to 1.1 mmol/litre) and in red blood cells (0.5%).

Magnesium And Diabetes

Magnesium is needed for carbohydrate and glucose metabolism. It has a key role in diabetes management. Its status is important for managing the risk of this condition. Ensuring the body has enough magnesium is associated with lowering the risk of developing and exacerbating diabetes if you have it.

Low magnesium levels  in the body is associated with poor insulin secretion and lowered sensitivity to this hormone. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes drops by roughly 15% for every 100mg increase on a daily basis of magnesium. The increase however is only up to a certain level. The magnesium was derived from dietary sources. A few other studies are more specific. They suggest that insulin sensitivity is improved with magnesium supplementation where the intake is between defined levels of 300 and 365 mg per day.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the American Diabetes Association suggest much more clinical evidence is needed before magnesium is routinely used for controlling the glycaemic response especially in patients with diabetes.

Severe Magnesium Deficiency

If magnesium is lacking, then vitamin D and calcium homeostasis  is compromised. This is about regulating the balance of this vitamin and mineral respectively. Those who are compromised by a lack of magnesium are usually those with severe gastrointesinal and kidney (renal) issues. Chronic alcoholism and simply getting old are two major risk factors, hence the need for supplementation of this particular mineral.

Excessive Supplementation

The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for supplemental magnesium is 350 mg/day. Excessive intake of supplemental magnesium can result in adverse effects, especially in individuals with impaired kidney functions.

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