A Vital Element: Magnesium

Like vitamins minerals are also very important for the proper growth and functioning of the human body.  Magnesium is one of them and as far as requirement by the body is concerned, this is the fourth most important of all. More than half of this essential element is found in the bones while it’s least in blood . More than three hundred biochemical reactions are dependent on this mineral.

The main areas of action of magnesium are the nervous and muscular systems. It helps to maintain normal functioning of both these systems and is responsible for maintaining the rhythm of the heart.It is also responsible for promoting growth and keeping the bones strong; supporting a healthy immunity system; regulating blood pressure and sugar and provide support for protein synthesis. Magnesium is absorbed by the body through the small intestine and released through the kidney.

Sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables like spinach as chlorophyll is one of the main storehouses of magnesium. Seeds, nuts and legumes like peas and beans are good sources of magnesium. It is also available in whole and unrefined grain. With refinement, the grains lose a good amount of magnesium because the bran and germ containing it are discarded.

Whole milk, yogurt and milk chocolate are good sources. Banana contains this mineral and even ordinary tap water contains magnesium.

Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and a general weakness signifies deficiency of magnesium. Further or acute deficiency can cause seizures, muscle contractions, numbness and a tingling feeling and in severe cases can lead to personality changes leading to coronary spasms.

This aggravated condition can also lead to drop in potassium and calcium levels, though this drop may be the result of other conditions too. In such conditions it is better to consult the doctor.

Generally the people showing magnesium deficiency are those suffering from cancer, diabetes, alcoholism, regional enteritis and Crohn’s disease. The older people can sometimes become deficient as their body may not be able to absorb magnesium like the young people.

Like any other element, excess of magnesium can bring problems. So one can have diarrhea, abdominal cramping, etc. Since kidney flushes out excess magnesium, constant taxing may result in kidney failure.