getting enough magnesium in your diet?
What does magnesium have to do to get noticed? It seems like these days
everyone knows about calcium, but actually magnesium is just as
important. In spite of magnesium’s low profile, you’ll probably be
surprised, maybe even astounded, at the list of symptoms, conditions
and illnesses that are associated with, or caused primarily by,
cellular magnesium deficiencies:
Take a look at this partial
• coronary heart
disease, stroke, postmenopausal osteoporosis (1)
stones, atherosclerosis, cardiac arrhythmia, decreased memory and
concentration, apathy, depression, confusion, hallucinations and
paranoia, numbness, tingling, cramps, muscle weakness (2).
hypertension, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, myocardial
infarction, diabetes mellitus, preeclampsia(3)
Thankfully, in many of the conditions listed above, magnesium
supplementation has been found beneficial in clinical studies. The
research is out there, and easy to find. Numerous studies consistently
prove the important role magnesium plays in our health.
his article, “Magnesium, the Key to Health and Life,” James South says,
“In a very real sense, magnesium is the mineral of life. Magnesium is
the center of the chlorophyll molecule, without which plant life would
not exist, and so neither would the oxygen of our atmosphere, and so
neither would we. It is hard to overestimate the importance of
is, in fact, the fourth most prevalent mineral in our bodies. Our
bones contain half of that, and the other half is in tissues, organs
and cells. A tiny, but very important, amount of magnesium is
found in our blood.
Essential to more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, magnesium
helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm
steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong.
Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood
pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein
do I get it?
Needless to say, healthy eating is very important in maintaining good
nutrition. And while nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables are
naturally rich in magnesium, our busy lifestyles, taste preferences,
and cooking methods can make it difficult to get enough magnesium in a
regular day-to-day diet. For example, white flour, white rice,
and refined sugar have lost nearly all their magnesium. Boiling
vegetables has a similar effect; boiled vegetables lose around half
their magnesium (2)
Calcium is one mineral that gets no shortage of publicity. And
many of us already supplement our calcium in order to build stronger
bones. But in order to reap full benefit from our calcium, it’s
important to know how magnesium can affect our ability to absorb
calcium. You see, magnesium can actually help our bodies absorb
calcium. So increasing our magnesium intake can improve the way our
bodies use calcium. 
do I keep it?
bodies store magnesium in the kidneys. Healthy kidneys can store
enough magnesium to last our bodies several months, and the excess is
excreted in the urine.  But some factors can increase urinary
excretion of magnesium, such as the use of diuretics and
digitalis or alcohol. High sugar intake, coffee and many other
things can also adversely impact the retention of magnesium. (5)
However low-profile magnesium is in the diet and nutrition headlines,
all nutritionists have to agree it should be a high priority for good
health. When diet is simply not enough, supplements can help us
to get the minerals we need. When taking magnesium supplements,
it is important to realize that it may take six weeks to six months to
replenish body magnesium stores through supplementation. So be
patient and wait for your symptoms to disappear as gradually as they
came on. Always consult your doctor about any symptom that
1. Magnesium. Office
of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health Bethesda,
Maryland, 20892 USA
Wester, P.O. Magnesium. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1987;
3. Gums, J.G.
Magnesium in Cardiovascular and other Disorders. American Journal of
Health-System Pharmacy, Vol. 61, Issue 15, 1569-1576.
4. Sojka, J.E. and
Weaver, C.M. Magnesium supplementation and osteoporosis. Nutrition
Review 1995, Mar, 53 (3): 71-4