Magnesium is an elemental metal which is essential for life and found in every cell of our bodies.
It’s constantly taking part in hundreds of the complex chemical reactions needed to run a healthy body. It helps the body use energy, transmit messages, move muscles, and much more.
Without enough magnesium, we can become extremely sick, and a severe deficiency is a medical emergency. Even slightly reduced magnesium levels can affect the human body in a huge variety of ways; however magnesium deficiency is rare in healthy individuals eating a balanced diet.
Magnesium is also essential for muscle function, and some people find that adding magnesium salts to a hot bath helps relieve muscle cramps or restless legs. However, it’s not just skeletal muscle that is affected by magnesium levels; the muscle cells of the heart require magnesium both for healthy movement and for conduction of the electrical impulses that make the heart beat.
Magnesium is essential for the health of the skeleton, and around 60 percent of the magnesium in the human body is stored in the bones. It’s required for the proper metabolism and use of calcium and vitamin D in the body, helping create and maintain healthy bone structures.
Magnesium is recommended for all-round heart health too; optimal magnesium intake is linked to lower blood pressure and healthier coronary arteries.
Many supplements are available, but it is more beneficial to your health to obtain vitamins and minerals through food. Also, excess intake from supplements can cause serious illness or interact with some prescription medications.
Magnesium-rich foods include nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, and legumes such as beans. Some prepared foods like breakfast cereals or plant milk also come fortified with magnesium. Adding a sprinkling of roasted nuts or seeds to a meal is a delicious and easy way to get more magnesium into your diet.
This article first appeared in the May/June edition of ‘Your Chiropractor’. To read more, download the newsletter linked to our May update.