What is Magnesium and what does it do?
- Magnesium is an essential mineral that accounts for about 0.05% of the body's total weight
- Nearly 70% of the body's supply is located in the bones, together with calcium and phosphorus, while 30% is found in cellular fluids and some soft tissue
- Some 30%-40% of ingested dietary magnesium is absorbed, while the rest is excreted in the faeces
Magnesium is involved in many essential metabolic processes, including the release of energy from glucose, synthesis of protein and nucleic acids, the formation of urea, vascular tone, muscle impulse transmission, electrical stability of the cells,neurotransmission and activity.Most is found inside the cell, where it activates enzymes necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids.It also regulates the acid/alkali balance in the body.
Magnesium helps promote absorption and metabolism of other minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium.It also helps utilise the B complex
vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin E in the body.It aids in bone growth and is necessary for proper functioning of muscles.
Absorption and Storage:
Magnesium is absorbed in the small intestine.The rate of absorption is influenced bythe parathyroid hormones, the rate of water absorption and the amounts of calcium,phosphorus and lactose in the body.Both magnesium and calcium compete for thesame absorption sites.Absorption may be inhibited by phytates (vegetable fibre),too many fats, cod liver oil and protein.Foods high in oxalic acid inhibit absorption.Vitamin D is necessary for the proper utilisation of magnesium.
When the intake of magnesium is low, the rate of absorption may be as high as75%; when the intake is high, the rate of absorption may be as low as 25%.Lossestend to increase with the use of diuretics and with the consumption of alcohol.
Evidence suggests that the balance between calcium and magnesium is especially important.If calcium consumption is high, magnesium intake needs to be high also or a deficiency will result.The amount of protein, phosphorous and Vitamin D in the diet also influences the magnesium requirement.The need for magnesium is increased when blood cholesterol levels are high and when consumption of protein is high..