Magnesium ~ ReallyWell.com
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The Overlooked Mineral
a body with low magnesium is like running a car without enough oil
orderis more important than you may think. Magnesium deficiency underlies much of the degenerative disease epidemic that wastes so much health-care money.
The Standard American Diet ("SAD") is low in magnesium. The negative effects of low magnesium are made even worse by the high levels of fat, sugar, sodium and phosphate in this common diet.
Ironically, magnesium deficiency can also be worsened by the use of calcium supplements, which has become widespread both because of our awareness of calcium's value for bone health, and due to exaggerated claims of those promoting calcium as a "cure-all".
Most calcium products are very poorly absorbed, especially the cheap, widely used calcium carbonate (chalk). Such calcium binds magnesium in the intestine, and inhibits its entry into cells, increasing risk of heart attack.Low magnesium is a significant part of the reason for circulatory disease being the number one killer. Hearts and blood vessels need magnesium to stay healthy.
This vitally important nutrient is not only inadequate in much of our processed foods, but also in our water supplies. This is just at a time in history when our stressful lifestyle demands that we have more of this important mineral.
More Magnesium Benefits
The benefits of magnesium are too good to miss.
Magnesium is a natural tranquilizer. It is called the "anti-stress mineral" because it aids in relaxing nerves and relieving tension.
Other functions of magnesium are: assisting in digestion, activating enzymes important for protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and modulating the electrical potential across all cell membranes.
Magnesium is important in muscle contraction and relaxation, the production and transfer of energy,bone and tooth formation and health, and in nerve conduction.
It also aids regularity, is necessary to keep vertebrae in their proper positions, induces restful sleep, purifies and purges body tissues (combats acids, toxins, gases, impurities, and neutralizes poisons) and lowers fever.
Extra magnesium can enhance your energy during the day, and help you sleep better at night. Many people with insomnia have found that with adequate magnesium they can go right to sleep and stay asleep all night without sleep drugs. This is a great benefit of magnesium.
Magnesium is stored primarily in the bowel, nerves and ligaments.
Good natural food magnesium sources include: chlorophyll (green pigment in vegetables and plant foods), nuts, whole grains, unpolished "brown" rice, and most edible seeds, such as flax seed.
Indications of a Magnesium Deficiency
Calcification of organs
Calcification of small arteries
Malignant calcification of tissue
Myocardialinfarction (heart attack)
Premenstrual tension (PMS)
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Magnesium & Circulatory Disease
Both animal and clinical studies have shown that chronic magnesium depletion has direct consequences for both the heart and the blood vessels. These include the following:
Arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) and tachycardia (too-rapid heartbeats) due to abnormal shifts of the mineral potassium into and out of heart cells
Because it is all they know to do, the medical profession has responded to these symptoms by treating each one, individually, using drugs, or surgery, or both. These treatments do not restore health.
How much better it would be to prevent much of the damage from circulatory disease, by treating the magnesium deficiency that underlies all of its symptoms. In other words, give the body the simple nutrient it needs for a healthy heart and blood vessels.
Animal studies also show that low magnesium levels will adversely affect the heart and blood vessels. Research shows that treatment with magnesium, taken at the right time and in the right amount, can lessen heart disease risk factors and even save lives.
In addition to these studies, research has found that there exists very low levels of magnesium in the heart muscle of people who have died of heart disease. In one study, the hearts of such individuals had 24 percent less magnesium than did the hearts of people who had died in accidents.
Other studies on cadaver hearts classified by cause of death - heart disease vs. accidents - showed that the diseased hearts had anywhere from 12 to 27 percent less magnesium than the other hearts. Beyond that, damaged areas of hearts from people who had died of heart disease had 40 to 50 percent less magnesium than undamaged areas of the same hearts.
In other studies, hearts from people who had lived in areas with hard drinking water had higher amounts of magnesium in them - 6 or 7 percent higher, on average, than those from soft-water areas. Maybe this is why death rates from heart disease are lower in hard-water communities. But it wasn't until the late 50's that epidemiological studies (research on populations) pointed to the association.
Beginning with a Japanese study, done in 1957, and followed by more studies from places like South Africa, England, Finland, and the United states, among others, they all revealed that, when the hardness of drinking water went up, the rate of death from cardiovascular disease went down. It was obvious that there was something about hard water that protected people from heart disease death.
Continued research soon showed that the protective water factor, in most cases, was none other than magnesium. Calcium, another hard water component, can also be protective because it makes water less corrosive and less likely to leach toxic trace minerals, such as cadmium and lead, out of metal pipes. Calcium also shares its direct effect - interfering with the absorption of fat from the intestines - with magnesium. But, the studies proved it was now time to take magnesium seriously.
Magnesium is a vital structural component of all muscle cells, and the heart is mainly muscle. Heart muscle, when healthy, contains even more magnesium than other muscles do. And when magnesium levels drop, they can drop more in heart muscle cells than in other muscles.
Each molecule of myosin (muscle protein) has an atom of magnesium in it. Muscles have to have magnesium to work. About 27 percent of the body's magnesium is in muscle tissue. If a magnesium deficiency begins to affect the heart's muscle cells and the "nervous conduction system" of the heart, this organ, which must beat regularly and continuously, may run into trouble.
The availability of magnesium within the heart affects the rhythm of the heart, both directly and indirectly, by controlling potassium and calcium levels. This also affects the conduction system. A low level of magnesium in the heart muscle cells can bring on heart arrhythmias, ranging from the merely disturbing, such as palpitations, to the severe, including disturbances that can be life-threatening.
Blood vessel muscle cells need healthy amounts of magnesium to relax properly after each contraction. They can become stiff and inflexible if their magnesium gets too low.
More About Magnesium
Magnesium is a necessary agent in all sorts of life reactions. For example, among the enzymes that have been studied intensively, over 350 of them need magnesium, directly, to do their jobs properly. Zinc is required for about 200 enzymes; copper, for less than 20; and selenium, for only 10 that have been identified in animal studies so far. Without adequate magnesium, these enzymes either will not act or will act at the wrong rate or at the wrong time - or both.
In addition to the more than 350 enzymes for which magnesium is directly necessary, it is indirectly required for thousands of others. One especially important reaction that needs magnesium is the one that controls the molecule Adenosine Tri-phosphate, or ATP. ATP is present in all living organisms. You can think of it as life's batteries - a substance that can store and release energy back and forth, like a switch. To do so, it needs magnesium.
Again, literally every energy-consuming reaction in life involves ATP, which needs magnesium to proceed. This is what puts the number of enzymes that need magnesium into the thousands. It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of magnesium in enzyme function, both directly (as a co-factor), and indirectly (via ATP reactions).
Muscle contraction requires energy, and thus requires ATP, and magnesium. The pumping heart is a muscle that alternately contracts and relaxes. The contracting and dilating of blood vessels are due to muscles contracting and relaxing. All of this activity requires magnesium, both directly and indirectly, through ATP. It's no wonder that low magnesium levels can negatively affect the heart and its blood vessels.
In addition to all of its enzyme functions, magnesium is an important component of cell membranes. As a result, it is vitally important in regulating what goes into, and what comes out of, all the body's cells. This makes magnesium crucial to mineral balance.
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all dissolved minerals are evenly dispersed. This is not so in living cells, where they're distributed differently, depending on their functions. This specialized distribution requires energy, and it's absolutely vital to life processes and health.
Calcium and sodium ions, for the most part, are kept outside the cells, while magnesium and potassium are kept inside the cells. These four minerals are the most plentiful in the body, and collectively they are known as electrolytes.
When the level of magnesium within the cells falls below normal, calcium and sodium rush inside, while potassium and magnesium leak out. This can cause big problems.
If this occurs in heart muscle cells, normal function is impaired, and there is a tendency toward excess contractility, the shortening and thickening of functioning muscles. During cardiac surgery, this can cause what doctors call a "stone heart." In the arteries, this phenomenon can lead to stiffness and high blood pressure.
Doctors routinely prescribe calcium-channel-blocking drugs to forestall this abnormal movement of calcium into cells, because this is so dangerous for hearts and blood vessels. Magnesium is nature's calcium-channel blocker.
Magnesium & Calcium
Magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, but biologically, these two elements function and react very differently. In effect, they are two sides of a physiological coin; they have actions that oppose one another, yet they function as a team. For example:
Calcium exists mainly outside of cells, whereas almost all magnesium is found inside cells.
Calcium excites nerves, whereas magnesium calms them down.
Calcium (along with potassium) is necessary for muscle contractions, whereas magnesium is necessary for muscles to relax.
Calcium is necessary for the blood-clotting reaction, which is so necessary for wound healing, whereas magnesium keeps the blood flowing freely, and prevents abnormal coagulation within blood vessels, where clotting reactions would be dangerous.
Calcium is mostly found in bones and gives them much of their hardness, whereas magnesium is found mainly in soft structures.
Bone matrix, the soft structure within bone, contains protein and magnesium, and gives the bones some flexibility and resistance to brittleness.
The normal concentration of magnesium ion inside cells is easily 10,000 times more than that of intracellular calcium ions - under healthy conditions. But if the amount of magnesium in a cell falls, for any reason, calcium ions flow into the cell. With this abnormal situation, a couple of things happen:
Higher than normal calcium inside a cell excites a lot of reactions. It puts the cell into hyperactive state. Heart and blood-vessel cells are especially excitable because they need to react rapidly during sudden stress situation. As such, they are truly vulnerable to deficits in magnesium that allow abnormal rises in calcium, with resulting hyperactivity.
Sometimes, a hyperactive state is just what you want. It is the essence of the body's "fight-or-flight" reaction to danger. Without calcium, there is no muscle contraction, and without muscle contraction there is no fight or flight.
But in normal circumstances, you don't want excess muscle contractions. The muscles would soon cramp, bringing on severe muscle pain. To relax, the muscles need magnesium. Magnesium, physiologically the opposite of calcium, relaxes muscles. Under normal, healthy cellular conditions, magnesium levels inside muscle cells are high and calcium levels are low, so that the muscles can relax. This is just one way in which calcium enhances and allows the fight-or-flight reaction while magnesium calms it all down.
If calcium levels inside a cell get especially high because of low magnesium, the cell physically changes. High calcium tends to make things stiff and hard. But if soft tissue begins to get hard, it's a real problem -- it's called "calcification". In artery and heart cells, the stiffness caused by calcification hampers proper function and can be an important aspect of heart disease.
If magnesium intake is low, people who have a high calcium intake are more vulnerable to heart disease than those who do not have a high calcium intake.
The current promotion of calcium-rich foods and supplements to protect our bones encourages the consumption of calcium. This is fine as long as magnesium nutrition is adequate. But calcium intake that is unduly high, relative to magnesium, can intensify the problems caused by the low magnesium content of most modern diets.
Clearly, calcium is an important essential nutrient, but it must be guarded and controlled, and balanced by adequate magnesium if it is not to cause damage to the cells, and the body as a whole.
Most calcium supplements also block magnesium absorption in the intestine, requiring even more magnesium intake to have enough. The calcium we recommend (see below) does not interfere with magnesium absorption.
For years, we have been encouraged to consume twice the amount of calcium as magnesium, even though this ratio does not exist in nature. This can be dangerous, for the reasons outlined above. A large number of researchers believe that the growing phenomenon of heart disease is the direct result of too much of a good thing -- calcium.
In nature, magnesium can appear in ratios as high as 17 parts magnesium to 1 of calcium. We also know that the human body's metabolism can only use about 12.5 mg of organic calcium per day. Women, in particular, are often encouraged to take 800-1500 mg of calcium daily, in spite of this. Of course, most calcium products are inorganic, and almost worthless anyway.
For additional magnesium, a highly absorbable & beneficial magnesium supplement is available:
No preservatives ~ No artificial ingredients ~ No known allergens
CLICK HERE to order Mega Mag4 fl. oz for just $11.97 + $8 postage (U.S.)
CLICK HERE For Full Payment Details
This concentrated liquid ionic magnesium is a unique blend that maximizes absorption, safety and flexibility. It comes in a 4 oz. dark glass bottle with a dropper for dispensing.
The .8 teaspoon (4 ml) serving suggested on the label provides 400 mg. of magnesium in a daily serving. There are 30 servings per bottle.
Also in the daily serving are: 1120 mg. of chlorides, 60 mg. of sulphate, 3 mg. of sodium, 3 mg potassium, and 500 mcg. of boron; as well as an array of naturally-occurring trace minerals.
If there is a magnesium deficiency, the full serving would be good for a while. After a couple of months, 1/2 of the suggested amount may be adequate for maintenance.
This ionic magnesium supplement is highly absorbable and beneficial. There are no preservatives or artificial ingredients. Mega Mag iscertified vegan and contains no gluten nor any other known allergens.
As a comprehensive mineral supplement, we have a liquid multi-mineral product with fully usable ionic minerals from nature, including magnesium.
Daily intake of these liquid minerals with fulvic acid, among other benefits offered by minerals, can promote clarity of thought, and increased energy, something most people really need today. Try them and notice the difference.
to order 32 oz. of Ionic Minerals with Fulvic Acid and Açai
for $31.87 + $8.45 shipping (U.S.)
an excellent trace mineral supplement with fulvic acids
and the antioxidant super fruit, Açai
(order 2 or more bottles for no additional shipping charge!)
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CLICK HERE for more information on trace minerals.
Most Americans are over-dosing on poor calcium, rather than getting natural, organic calcium that is fully and properly utilized by the body. For supplemental calcium, I recommend Sea Calcium (NOT "coral calcium").
CLICK HERE for more information on calcium.
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