The Importance of Magnesium to human nutrition
The adult human daily nutritional requirement, which is affected by various factors including gender, weight, and size, is 300-400 mg/day. Inadequate magnesium intake frequently causes muscle spasms, and has been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, migraines, osteoporosis, and cerebral infarction.
Researchers estimate that the average person’s body contains about 25 grams of magnesium, and about half of that is in the bones. Magnesium is important in more than 300 chemical reactions that keep the body working properly.
One of the most important benefits of magnesium is that it is associated with lowering the risk of coronary heart diseases. Dietary surveys have suggested that sufficient magnesium intake may reduce the chance of having a stroke. Magnesium deficiency increases the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which increases the risk of complications after a heart attack.
People who have type 2 diabetes often have low blood levels of magnesium. A large clinical study of more than 2,000 people found that getting more magnesium in the diet may help protect against type 2 diabetes. Some studies suggest that taking magnesium supplements may help blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes or prediabetes.
Magnesium plays a key role in regulating blood pressure naturally. Magnesium supplements and a diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of potassium and magnesium, are consistently associated with lowering blood pressure.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include hyperexcitability, muscular symptoms (cramps, tremor, fasciculations, spasms, tetany, weakness), fatigue, loss of appetite, apathy, confusion, insomnia, irritability, poor memory, and reduced ability to learn. Moderate to severe magnesium deficiency can cause tingling or numbness, heart changes, rapid heartbeat, continued muscle contractions, nausea, vomiting, personality changes, delirium, hallucinations, low calcium levels, low serum potassium levels, retention of sodium, low circulating levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), and potentially death from heart failure. Magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism and its deficiency may worsen insulin resistance, a condition that often precedes diabetes, or may be a consequence of insulin resistance.
Causes of magnesium deficiency include diet, alcohol abuse, chronic stress, poorly controlled diabetes, excessive or chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea. Phytate or oxalate in the diet may bind magnesium causing it to be eliminated from rather than absorbed in the colon. Certain drugs can deplete magnesium levels such as osmotic diuretics, cisplatin, ciclosporin, amphetamines, and possibly proton pump inhibitors. Also deficiency may occur in Bartter syndrome and Gitelman syndrome.