Although it is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when we think about our health, magnesium is one of the most important health promoting minerals. The average human body only contains about one ounce of magnesium, half of which is stored in the bones, yet this tiny amount is vital to hundreds of bodily functions. One of the most versatile minerals, magnesium plays a big part in nerve function, energy production, bone and tooth formation as well as muscle relaxation.
Because society today has become so dependent on processed foods that contain little or no magnesium, many of us do not have adequate stores of this valuable mineral. In order to maintain good health, it is important that we add magnesium to our diets, because even a moderate deficiency can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Severe deficiencies can result in irritability, nervousness, fatigue, muscle spasms and irregular heartbeat.
Most Common Uses For Magnesium
* Helps protect against heart disease and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
* Improves the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
* Helps to prevent complications of diabetes
* Helps to ease pain associated with fibromyalgia
* May help reduce the severity of asthma attacks
Because magnesium relaxes the muscles it is useful for athletes as well as those who suffer from fibromyalgia. It is also believed to calm painful menstrual cramps and relieve PMS symptoms. In addition, magnesium expands the airways and is often used in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis. Magnesium also plays a big part in the secretion and function of insulin and controls the body`s blood sugar levels.
Magnesium may also increase bone density in postmenopausal women, slowing the onset of osteoporosis. For years calcium has been prescribed for those who suffer from osteoporosis and is easily stored by our bodies , but without magnesium, calcium deposits can occur. Calcium needs vitamin D and the right amounts of magnesium in order for the body to properly utilize it.
Taking too much magnesium can result it nausea and diarrhea or in some cases lethargy, muscle weakness, confusion or even difficulties breathing. Overdosing on magnesium, although rare, can occur if the kidneys do not work properly and cannot eliminate excess amounts for the body.
The best way to get the required amount of magnesium is to add foods high in magnesium to your daily diet. Pumpkin seeds, spinach, halibut, almonds, leafy green vegetables, oatmeal brown rice, lentils and bananas are all good choices. However if your diet does not provide enough there are many supplements available in magnesium sulfate, magnesium gluconate, magnesium asparate and magnesium carbonate and come in powder, pill and capsule form.
Always be sure to consult your physician about proper doses before taking magnesium supplements as they may interfere with certain medical conditions such as kidney disease.