The wonders of the nutrient-mineral magnesium should not be overlooked when it comes to health and well-being.  It is the most common mineral deficiency in this country and can be helpful in many health conditions.  Magnesium (Mg) is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.  Magnesium is involved in just about every bodily function. Therefore deficiency can affect a host of systems in the body.

Magnesium is found inside every living cell in the body. Without magnesium the body will have a difficult time utilizing calcium, potassium, sodium and vitamin C and would not activate the B vitamins.  It would not be efficient in the production of enzymes, it would not allow for proper cardiac function, relaxation of muscles including the heart muscle. It would not metabolize carbohydrates well nor convert blood sugar into energy, nor aid in proper insulin production.

The daily recommended dose is 320-400 mg per day. Sources of Mg are nuts, legumes, and green leafy vegetables.  Certain drugs can deplete magnesium.  For example: diuretics, some antibiotics, cortisone, stimulant drugs used for asthma treatment, chronic laxative abuse and alcohol consumption.

Typical symptoms of deficiency can include cramps.  In the muscles, Mg deficiency can cause twitching, muscle tension and/or soreness lending itself to back and neck pain, tension headaches and migraines, and tightness of the jaw joint. Deficiency can contribute to abdominal cramping, constipation, urinary spasms, and menstrual cramps.

The effects of deficiency on the nerve system can contribute to insomnia, restlessness, anxiety and panic attacks.  It can also cause abnormal sensations of numbness and tingling of the arms and legs.

One of the bodily systems that really benefits from Mg intake is the circulatory system.  It protects the heart and the arteries without any ill effects.  Mg prevents platelets from clotting, a situation that can cause heart attack. It is helpful in dilating blood vessels.  In a number of international studies, time and again, it was found that administering magnesium intravenously after a heart attack that the outcomes were far greater when compared to using fibrinolytic drugs.  Furthermore the administration of Mg is very cost effective and does not promote bleeding or any other side effects.

Magnesium has shown effectiveness in treating cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal rhythm abnormalities), and angina (chest pains).  When looking at blood pressure, (systolic/diastolic pressure) when the diastolic number is disproportionately high compared to the systolic number, one needs to consider a magnesium deficiency.

Studies show that individuals with a magnesium deficiency have a risk of developing type-2 diabetes and severe damage to the eye.  Research has demonstrated that Mg supplementation may improve glucose tolerance.

As a natural relaxant, Mg can ease headaches, particularly migraines.  Numerous studies have shown the cause and effect of Mg deficiency on migraine sufferers.  Oral magnesium supplementation might be helpful in decreasing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.

While Mg supplementation has many health benefits it is best to consult with your doctor before taking a supplement especially if taking any medications for diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure or if you have kidney disease.  Generally Mg is quite safe; the one side effect of taking excessive amounts is loose stools.