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Magnesium is a dietary mineral with a wide array of biological activities in the body. Magnesium participates in numerous life-essential processes that occur both inside and outside cells. Magnesium deficiency impacts normal physiologic function on many levels. Adequate magnesium is a fundamental requirement for optimum function of the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, and skeletal muscle, as well as the uterus and GI tract. Magnesium deficiency can affect health of the heart, bones and blood vessels and alter blood sugar balance.
Magnesium deficiency plays a critical role in the development of cardiovascular disease; magnesium is needed within the cells for the production of energy, which is mission critical for our heart muscles.
Magnesium and Metabolic Energy
Magnesium works as a “co-factor” for over 800 enzymatic reactions in the body. Metabolism uses a phosphate-containing molecule called “ATP” as its energy source. Magnesium is required for all reactions involving ATP.11 ATP supplies the energy for physical activity, by releasing energy stored in “phosphate bonds”.
Magnesium and Muscle Function
Skeletal and heart muscle use up large amounts of ATP. The energy for muscle contraction is released when one of ATP’s phosphate bonds is broken, in a reaction that produces ADP. Phosphate is added back to ADP, re-forming ATP. ATP also powers the cellular “calcium pump” which allows muscle cells to relax. Because it participates in these ATP-controlled processes, magnesium is vitally important for muscle contraction and relaxation. By controlling the flow of sodium, potassium, and calcium in and out of cells, magnesium regulates the function of nerves as well as muscles.
Magnesium and Heart Function
Magnesium’s importance for heart health is widely recognized. The heart is the only muscle in the body that generates its own electrical impulses. Through its influence on the heart’s electrical conduction system, magnesium is essential for maintenance of a smooth, regular heartbeat. Magnesium appears to help the heart resist the effects of systemic stress. Magnesium deficiency aggravates cardiac damage due to acute systemic stress (such as caused by infection or trauma), while magnesium supplementation protects the heart against stress. This has been found true even in the absence of an actual magnesium deficit in the body.
Did You Know?
The average adult body contains anywhere from about 21 to 28 grams of magnesium. Approximately 60 percent of the body’s magnesium supply is stored in bone. Soft tissue, such as skeletal muscle, contains 38%, leaving only about 1 to 2% of the total body magnesium content in blood plasma and red blood cells.