Magnesium: why do we need it
7 June 2016 | Editor
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Magnesium: why do we need it
Magnesium in the Body
Research studies have recently shown that magnesium plays an even greater role in health than was previously thought. Second only to potassium in terms of concentration within the individual cells in the body, the function of magnesium revolves primarily around its ability to activate many enzymes.
Magnesium participates in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and these include those responsible for energy metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, protein synthesis, neuromuscular contractions/relaxations, bone integrity and prostaglandin synthesis to name but a few.
The use of amino acid chelates for nutritional purposes began to appear in the 1950s as a proven method to increase mineral absorption.
Amino acid chelation provides protection for minerals, preventing their reaction with dietary cations (phytates, oxalates, sulphates, phosphates, etc.) in the intestines. These reactions can render minerals unavailable for absorption.
Amino acid chelates are extremely stable over the whole pH range found in the gastrointestinal tract.
Mineral chelates are easily absorbed in the intestines, not just due to the protection from cations, but also because the minerals are actively drawn across the intestinal membrane.
Magnesium can be particularly useful for:
- Injury - rebuilding after injury due to its role in protein metabolism
- Immune systems - important for protecting from infection after trauma
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Relaxation of muscle
This often forgotten mineral has a significant role to pay in the production of energy and in maintaining and optimising muscle health.
Magnesium supplementation has also had some success in patients with chronic fatigue. Research suggests that an underlying magnesium deficiency, even if 'subclinical', can result in chronic fatigue and symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Evaluating and achieving optimum magnesium levels can be beneficial for:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
- PMS associated muscular cramps
- Sports related muscle cramps
- Slowing bone loss
- Strengthening muscles
- Reducing kidney stone formation
- Reducing some symptoms of diabetes
Magnesium for energy production
Energy in the body is produced in the form of ATP, through the process of cellular respiration. Magnesium is perhaps the most important nutrient co-factor involved in cellular respiration as it is actively involved in every single step. Carbohydrates, lipids and proteins cannot produce the source of muscle contraction energy - ATP - without the presence of magnesium. Optimal magnesium status can therefore facilitate oxygen and energy being delivered to working muscle tissue.
Magnesium for muscles
It is also interesting that the muscles themselves actually contain about 26% of all magnesium found in the body, with 60% in the bone and the rest in soft tissue and body fluids. The tissues with the highest concentration of magnesium are those that are metabolically active, which again attests to magnesium's critical role in energy production.
Research indicates that high strength magnesium supplementation can be more effective for muscle support and cellular energy production when combined with a specific range of supporting nutrients such as selenium and malic acid. Synergistic nutrients such as molybdenum, B6, B12 and folic acid are also effective for improving cellular uptake of magnesium.
Magnesium and gastrointestinal tolerance
Oral magnesium supplementation has often been complicated by side effects of poor gastrointestinal tolerance, including malabsorption and diarrhoea. Using a glycinate chelated form of magnesium overcomes these problems. Even in individuals with known malabsorption and intestinal permeability alteration, the absorption of magnesium diglycinate has been shown to be substantially greater than inorganic magnesium salts, and is better tolerated.
Please note this article does not replace the advice and treatment of your medical practitioner.