The importance of magnesium in the body is too often overlooked in favor of calcium or even iron.
Many people may not even know what it is or what it does.
Truth is that this mineral is responsible for over 300 metabolic reactions in the body, including protein, DNA, RNA, and antioxidant synthesis; muscle and nerve function; cell signaling, glucose and blood pressure regulation; and the formation and structure of bones and soft tissue. (1) Yet most people don’t get enough magnesium in their daily diets.
In addition to its role in the synthesis of antioxidants, most notably glutathione (the “master antioxidant”), magnesium binds to heavy metals in the blood (e.g., cadmium, chromium, nickel, zinc, and others), assisting in their elimination from the body. (2, 3) It also has the ability to prevent stroke.
Magnesium from food is absorbed in the small intestine and is distributed throughout the body in the blood. It is part of bones and soft tissue. The kidneys maintain a proper magnesium level in the blood and if there’s too much, it gets flushed out as waste. (4)
The Dangers of Magnesium Deficiency
In 2009, the World Health Organization reported that 75% of Americans were magnesium deficient. A recently published meta-analysis of forty separate studies from nine countries regarding the effects of magnesium on human health involved over one million participants over a period of four to thirty years and found some interesting results.
Here’s what they found:
- Many people have low serum (blood) magnesium levels (2.5-15% of subjects in included studies).
- Increasing daily magnesium by 100mg a day didn’t affect the incidence of cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease.
- Increasing daily magnesium intake by 100mg a day significantly reduced the risk of stroke, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality.