ICL Magazine

7 Reasons your Body Needs Magnesium

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It balances all other minerals in your body, reduces the chance of stroke and prevents migraines — everything you need to know about this important mineral

People who work out, suffer from severe migraines or from frequent muscle cramps already know it well. Those who belong to population groups that are at high risk of suffering a stroke or of developing diabetes, already know that magnesium has much to offer — even to people who are in perfect health. For those of you who still don’t know about it, here are seven facts about the importance of this natural mineral to healthy bodily function:

  • Magnesium affects many biochemical processes in the body: The human body contains 20–25 grams of magnesium on average, 60 percent of which is in the bones, and 39% inside muscle cells, the brain, the heart, the kidneys and the liver. Only 1% of all magnesium in the body is found in the blood. Magnesium takes part in over 350 biochemical processes that occur in our bodies, most importantly in regulating muscle contraction, protecting bone structure and regulating energy production processes. Muki Cohen, Marketing and Sales Director at ICL, tells us that measuring the level of magnesium in your blood does not necessarily indicate the total level of magnesium in your body. Consequently, physicians cannot rely on blood test results alone in diagnosing magnesium deficiency. If you suffer from one of the aforementioned phenomena, you’d do well to start taking magnesium supplements. Cohen explains that “the best way to find out whether your body’s magnesium level is normal is paying attention to the body’s bowel movements and metabolism.”
  • The average Western person does not consume enough magnesium: The recommended daily intake of magnesium for an adult is 410mg, when in reality the average adult takes in only around 200–300mg of magnesium each day. Natural magnesium-rich sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, soy beans, seafood and natural drinking water. Those who do not get enough of these will find plenty of solutions on the market in the shape of non-prescription vitamins and mineral supplements. Notably, a few years ago the state of Israel began desalinating sea-water. Desalinization causes even further reduction in the amounts of magnesium we get from drinking water.

    Magnesium deficiency is a major cause of muscle cramps (Photo: iStock)

  • Balancing the effect of other minerals: The human body contains approximately 40 minerals which greatly affect it, but what is more important is the relative balance between the different minerals’ quantities in the body. For instance, the relative quantities of the mineral calcium and the mineral magnesium are most important, since they have different qualities. Cohen explains that “while calcium causes muscle contraction, magnesium causes muscle relaxation. While too much calcium causes calcification, too little magnesium causes it as well. Furthermore, calcium is a mineral external to the body’s cells, while magnesium is found inside cells. Therefore, it is the relative balance of both that is important rather than supplementing one of them.
  • Preventing sports injuries: People who practice endurance sports must make sure they take in enough magnesium, since it is crucial to preventing muscle cramps in all parts of the body.
  • Reducing the chance of a stroke: Other populations that should especially monitor the amount of magnesium they take in are people ages 40 and up, as well as people prone to stress. Research shows that consuming magnesium can lower the chance of a stroke, and that supplementing just 100mgs of magnesium has led to a reduction of approximately 8% in the chance of suffering a stroke.
  • Improving pre-diabetic symptoms: Research performed over the last decade has found a connection between lower magnesium intake and the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. In a study from 2011 it was discovered that taking magnesium supplements improved pre-diabetic symptoms and symptoms of the metabolic syndrome.
  • Preventing severe migraines: Up to 20% of the population suffers from different kinds of migraine. Recently, a number of neurologists and international experts on pain have published new medical instructions that recommend magnesium supplements as a way to prevent migraine headaches, especially of the sort that may include vision or speech disturbances.
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