Magnesium: The Other Mineral
We hear so much about Calcium: How it’s necessary for strong bones and teeth. How deficiencies result in Osteoporosis. How it’s necessary for healthy gums and a regular heartbeat. How it helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
What we don’t hear a lot about is another necessary mineral, a deficiency of which can dramatically affect the body’s ability to regulate that vital nutrient Calcium. Magnesium assists in the uptake and regulation of both Calcium and Potassium. That’s right. Without proper levels of Magnesium, the body simply won’t utilize the necessary levels of Calcium. Besides regulating Calcium uptake, Magnesium has an affect on all sorts of body processes.
Magnesium is necessary for proper nerve and muscle impulses and it aids in maintaining the body’s proper pH balance. It is necessary to prevent the calcification (hardening) of soft tissue and protects the arterial linings from stress caused by sudden blood pressure changes. Like Calcium it plays a role in the formation of bone and may also help prevent osteoporosis. In combination with B6, magnesium may help to reduce and dissolve calcium-oxalate kidney stones. Proper levels of magnesium can help prevent depression, dizziness, muscle weakness and twitching, and can help with PMS too.
Magnesium deficiency may be a cause of hypertension, cardiac arrest, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome. Some factors that may increase the need for Magnesium in the body include consumption of alcohol, the presence of fluoride, high levels of zinc and Vitamin D. (And yes, both Vitamin D and Magnesium are needed for Calcium absorption.)
Magnesium is found in plenty of foods, such as dairy, fish, meat and seafood as well as apples, avocados, bananas, brown rice, cantaloupe, green leafy veggies, lima beans, black-eyed peas, soybeans, tofu and whole grains.
Eating a diet rich in these whole foods will help ensure you maintain healthy Magnesium levels. Magnesium can also be supplemented via herbs such as alfalfa, chamomile, hops, horsetail, lemongrass, licorice, nettle, oat straw, raspberry leaf, sage and yellow dock.
I am a Wellness Coach and volunteer for the Down Town Merchants Association of Lakewood Alive.