Thursday, May 26, 2011

Magnesium - Make It Happen!

by Kris Pitcher

Minerals are critical to our body's ability to function. We don't think about it, but our body is continually performing amazing biochemical reactions to keep us going. Minerals are key to those functions. Magnesium in particular makes things happen!

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions. It's got a lot of work to do! Minerals, like magnesium, are required for these chemical reactions - so it's important we get what we need in order to function optimally.

Magnesium helps us maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps our heart rhythm steady, supports our immune system, and keeps our bones strong. It also regulates our blood sugar levels, and promotes normal blood pressure. It is also involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.

One of its primary jobs is contraction and relaxation of our muscles. It's involved in the production of and transport of energy and the production of protein. Another critical role is its function with certain enzymes (complex proteins that cause chemical changes without being changed themselves) in the body.

When we don't get enough we can experience symptoms of deficiency including muscle spasms and pain, PMS, irritability, depression, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and heart disease.

Symptoms are put into three categories according to Medline:
Early: Anorexia/Apathy/Confusion/Fatigue/Insomnia/Irritability/Muscle Twitching/Poor memory/Reduced Ability to Learn
Moderate: Heart (cardiovascular) Changes/Rapid Heartbeat
Severe: Continued Muscle Contraction/Delirium/Numbness/Hallucinations/Tingling

We get magnesium from dark green leafy vegetables and from bananas, dried apricots, avocados, nuts (almonds), peas, beans & seeds, soy products (tofu), and whole grains like brown rice and millet.

Adult women need 310-320 milligrams per day, and adult men need 400-420 milligrams per day. Getting adequate magnesium is important to making things happen! Are you getting your dark green leafies? Your body is counting on you!

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