Magnesium on the periodic table of the human body

Where is needed Magnesium in the body and how important is?

The human body contains only about 28g of Mg, 60 percent of which is stored in the bones; the rest circulate in the blood or is stored in muscle tissue.

The importance of this mineral, especially in relation to immunity, is often overlooked. It is an essential mineral nutrient for life and is present in every cell type in every organism crucial for the growth of white blood cells and for their role as disease fighters.

Mg is needed to built bones, proper muscle function, energy metabolism, to transmit nerve impulse, and to make generic material and protein.

Deficiency

Low levels of Mg in tissues are associated with lower levels of immunoglobulin and antibody-forming cells. Its deficiency also encourages the production of cell-damaging free radicals.

Several studies show that various types of cancer including lymphoma and leukemia, are more common in areas where there are low Mg levels in the soil and, consequently, low levels in locally grown food.

The association between high rates of lymphoma (cancer of immune-system cells) and low levels of magnesium strongly suggests a link between magnesium deficiencies and impaired immunity.

Not enough Mg can lead to hypomagnesemia, with irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure (a sign in humans but not some experimental animals such as rodents), insomnia and muscle spasms (fasciculation).

The risks of too much Mg may make it difficult for the body to absorb calcium.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance dose for Mg is:

  • For men 19 to 30 400 mg
  • Men over 31 420 mg
  • Women 19 to 30 310 mg
  • Women over 31 320 mg
Reserves can be depleted, however, by alcoholism, prolonged diarrhea, liver or kidney disease, severe diabetes, and a poor diet.

Where it's found in foods ?

Green vegetables such as spinach provide the mineral because of the abundance of chlorophyll molecules which contain the ion. Tofu, nuts (especially cashews and almonds), seeds, and some whole grains are also good sources of it.

Although many foods contain Mg, it is usually found in low levels. As with most nutrients, daily needs for magnesium are unlikely to be met by one serving of any single food. Eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains will help ensure adequate intake of it.

Because Mg readily dissolves in water, refined foods, which are often processed or cooked in water and dried, are generally poor sources of the nutrient.

For example, whole-wheat bread has twice as much Mg as white bread because the Mg-rich germ and bran are removed when white flour is processed.

"Hard" water can also provide Mg, but "soft" water does not contain the ion.

Following are some foods and the amount of Mg in them:

  • spinach (1/2 cup) = 80 milligrams (mg)
  • peanut butter (2 tablespoons) = 50 mg
  • black-eyed peas (1/2 cup) = 45 mg
  • milk: low fat (1 cup) = 40 mg


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