The body needs many minerals, these are called essential minerals. Essential minerals are sometimes divided up into major minerals and trace minerals. These two groups of minerals are equally important, but trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals. The amounts needed in the body are not an indication of importance. Major minerals include Magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, sulfur and phosphorus. Minor minerals include Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium, copper, Manganese, fluoride, chromium and molybdenum.
Talking further about the major mineral magnesium. Magnesium, an abundant mineral in the body, is naturally present in many foods, added to other food products, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines. Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys, needs magnesium. This mineral also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. It activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate levels of calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body.
An adult body contains approximately 25g magnesium, with 50 to 60% present in the bones and most of the rest in soft tissues.
There are many sources of magnesium. It is widely distributed in plant and animal foods and in beverages. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains, are good sources. Magnesium is also added to some breakfast cereals and other fortified foods. Some types of food processing such as refining grains in ways that remove the nutrient rich germ and bran, lower magnesium content substantially. Approximately 30% to 40% of the dietary magnesium consumed is typically absorbed by the body.
Magnesium supplements are available in a variety of forms, including magnesium oxide, citrate and chloride. Absorption of magnesium from different kinds of magnesium supplements varies. Forms of magnesium that dissolve well in liquid are more completely absorbed in the gut than less soluble forms. Small studies have found that magnesium in the aspartate, citrate, lactate, and chloride forms is absorbed more completely and is more bioavailable than magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate. Habitually low intakes of magnesium induce changes in biochemical pathways that can increase the risk of illness over time.
Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Studies to date have found that magnesium supplementation may lower blood pressure to a certain extent. A diet containing more magnesium because of added fruits and vegetables, more low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and less fat overall was shown to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 5.5 and 3.0 mmHg, respectively. However, this Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet also increases intakes of other nutrients, such as potassium and calcium, that are associated with reductions in blood pressure, so any independent contribution of magnesium cannot be determined. Several prospective studies have examined associations between magnesium intakes and heart disease. These studies found that higher serum levels of magnesium were significantly associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and higher dietary magnesium intakes upto (250mg/day) were associated with a significantly lower risk of ischemic heart disease caused by a reduced blood supply to the heart muscle.
Diets with higher amounts of magnesium are associated with a significantly lower risk of diabetes, possibly because of the important role of magnesium in glucose metabolism. As diabetes leads to increased urinary losses of magnesium, and the subsequent magnesium inadequacy might impair insulin secretion and action, thereby worsening diabetes control.
As magnesium is involved in bone formation. Several population based studies have found positive associations between magnesium intake and bone mineral density in both men and women. Although limited in number, studies suggest that increasing magnesium intakes from food or supplements might increase bone mineral density in postmenopausal and elderly women.
Magnesium deficiency is related to factors that promote headaches, including neurotransmitter release and vasoconstriction. People who experience migraine headaches have lower levels of serum and tissue magnesium than who do not. Oral magnesium supplementation has been shown to increase intracellular magnesium levels in individuals with migraines, leading to the hypothesis that magnesium supplementation might be helpful in decreasing the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Shrushti Mehta.
We thank her for her research and analysis and hope to see the awarenesses about health and nutrition being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.