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Magnesium: A Mineral Crucial for Healthy Body Function

Magnesium is an anti-stress mineral that supports healthy blood pressure, builds strong bones, and regulates heart rate.
Magnesium is an anti-stress mineral

Overview

Magnesium is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions, including maintaining heart, bone, and blood pressure health. Vital to the maintenance of muscle contraction and nerve conduction, magnesium is second only to potassium in terms of concentration within individual cells. The average body contains only an ounce of this mineral, and 60 percent of the body’s magnesium is in our bones. The rest is found in soft tissue and blood. 

Key Benefits

  • Supports heart health
  • Supports and regulates normal blood pressure
  • Sustains normal muscle function
  • Helps prevent kidney-stone formation
  • Helps reduce frequency of migraine headaches
  • Supports bone mineral density
  • May support healthy blood sugar levels
  • Supports restful sleep
  • Supports cognitive health
  • Promotes normal bowel movements

History of Usage

Magnesium was discovered outside of Magnesia, Greece. Sir Humphrey Davy identified the first alkaline earth metals in 1808 and named them barium, strontium, calcium, and magnium after their oxides. Davy coined the term “magnium” from the usual name for magnesium oxide: magnesia. Magnesium eventually superseded the term magnium in common usage.

Magnesium was used as a treatment in ancient times in the form of laxatives and Epsom salts. Richard Willstatter received the Nobel Prize in 1915 for explaining the structure of chlorophyll in plants, emphasizing magnesium as the important element. Magnesium is frequently utilized in the immediate treatment of pre-eclampsia, myocardial infarction, and severe asthma episodes. Magnesium is a key component of several laxatives.

Thousands of articles and research on magnesium’s importance have been published over the last several decades. The more we study about this vital mineral, the more we understand how it can help us fight a variety of ailments and maintain general health.

Biochemistry

Magnesium regulates cellular glucose metabolism, protein digestion, and certain hormone receptor signal transmissions. This important mineral regulates ion balance, keeping potassium in the cells and sodium out. It is involved in more than 300 different enzyme reactions, and it stabilizes electrical signals in the heart and relaxes the arteries and muscles to promote healthy blood flow. Magnesium plays an important role in regulating the neuromuscular activity of the heart by maintaining normal heart rhythm.

Magnesium also aids in synaptic connections between neurons to support memory. It is a cofactor for enzymes that regulate the neurotransmitters associated with mood and sleep. 

Food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, peas, soybeans, and whole grains.

Recent Trends

Magnesium’s excellent global sales growth has been attributed to rising study and media emphasis on the mineral’s function in well health.

Magnesium is gaining popularity among consumers. The latest Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements done by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC) in August 2019 revealed magnesium as one of the top ten dietary supplements consumed by Americans. According to the 2019 poll, 18% of supplement consumers reported taking magnesium.

According to market researcher SPINS (Chicago), magnesium had exceptional sales increase in the 52 weeks ended October 6, 2019, propelling the mineral into the top ten components tracked by SPINS cross-channel for the first time (mainstream, natural, and specialty gourmet channels). By combining these channels, magnesium achieved double-digit sales growth of 11% in 2020, bringing total sales to $151 million by the conclusion of the term.

Magnesium sales increased in the following supplement categories: digestive health (mainstream), brain health (natural), heart health (natural and specialty gourmet), mood (natural and specialty gourmet), and bone health (natural and specialty gourmet) (specialty gourmet channel). Magnesium is also associated with appropriate blood sugar regulation.

Precautions

  • Magnesium supplementation is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • In healthy people, too much magnesium from meals poses no health concern because excess levels are excreted in the urine by the kidneys. High dosages of magnesium from dietary supplements or pharmaceuticals, on the other hand, frequently cause diarrhea, which can be accompanied by nausea and stomach cramping.
  • Magnesium supplements may interact with certain medications. Before using magnesium supplements, check with your doctor if you are on any drugs.
References
  1. Guerrera MP, Volpe SL, Mao JJ. Therapeutic uses of magnesium. Am Fam Physician. 2009 Jul 15;80(2):157-62. PMID: 19621856.
  2. Rude RK. Magnesium. In: Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR, eds. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 11th ed. Baltimore, Mass: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2012:159-75.
  3. Volpe SL. Magnesium. In: Erdman JW, Macdonald IA, Zeisel SH, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 10th ed. Ames, Iowa; John Wiley & Sons, 2012:459-74.
  4. Sun-Edelstein C, Mauskop A. Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraine. Expert Rev Neurother 2009;9:369–79
  5. Holland S, Silberstein SD, Freitag F, Dodick DW, Argoff C, Ashman E. Evidence-based guideline update: NSAIDs and other complementary treatments for episodic migraine prevention in adults. Neurology 2012;78:1346-53.
  6. Musso CG Magnesium metabolism in health and disease. Int Urol Nephrol 2009;41:357-62. 
  7. Guerrera MP, Volpe SL, Mao JJ. Therapeutic uses of magnesium. Am Fam Physician 2009;80:157-62.