The images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, unless otherwise noted. Join tens of thousands of doctors, health professionals and patients who receive our newsletters. Magnesium plays an important role in over 300 enzymatic reactions within the body including the metabolism of food and synthesis of fatty acids and proteins.
This MNT Knowledge Center feature is part of a collection of articles on the health benefits of key vitamins and minerals.
Magnesium supplements are available from stores, but it is always best to obtain any vitamin or mineral through food. Magnesium is important for bone formation as it helps with the assimilation of calcium into bone, and plays a role in activating vitamin D in the kidneys (vitamin D is also essential for healthy bones).
Optimal magnesium intake is associated with greater bone density and improved bone crystal formation, as well as a lower risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, so it is no wonder magnesium status has an effect on diabetes.
Several studies have confirmed the inverse relationship between magnesium intake and the risk of diabetes. Researchers were also able to show that low magnesium levels resulted in impaired insulin secretion and lower insulin sensitivity. Magnesium is needed for the health of muscles, including the heart, and for the transmission of electrical signals in the body.
Rapid post-heart attack administration of magnesium reduces the risk of mortality, and magnesium is sometimes used as part of the treatment for congestive heart failure in order to lessen the risk of arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm). Research suggests that people experiencing premenstrual syndrome may be able to alleviate symptoms such as bloating, insomnia, leg swelling, weight gain, and breast tenderness by ensuring adequate intake of magnesium.
On the next page we examine recommended magnesium intake, foods that are high in magnesium and we discuss the possible health risks associated with consuming too much magnesium. Power of magnesium - a macromineral that may improve heart health and stop diabetes, Christin L.
Magnesium fact sheet for health professionals, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, reviewed 4 November 2013, accessed 4 December 2014. Magnesium Intake Is Inversely Associated With Coronary Artery Calcification, Adela Hruby, PHD, MPH et al., JACC Cardiovasc Imaging, January 2015, abstract. Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:MLAMegan Ware RDN LD.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please see our contact page. Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

We take a look at fish oils, in particular what they are, the potential health benefits of including them in your diet and the best sources of fish oils. The number of calories people should eat each day depends on several factors, including their age, size, height, sex, lifestyle, and overall general health. Find out all about vitamin d and how it at helps enhance the absorption of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. If we combine those two quotes, we have the makings of a clinical disaster in individuals who drink alcohol heavily, take diuretics, exercise and sweat excessively, are elderly with low dietary intakes, have gastrointestinal disorders causing subclinical or clinical malabsorption and the large number of people out there who suffer from insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) that are at risk for low intracellular magnesium levels. Serum (blood) levels are a very poor marker for intracellular magnesium levels whereas red blood cell magnesium content is a better indicator171. Deficiency: Magnesium deficiency is a significant problem in insulin resistance, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, the use of some medications and osteoporosis. Intracellular magnesium: 49% of magnesium is found inside the cells of other tissues (intracellular magnesium). Cereals and legumes are poor sources of magnesium: The amount of magnesium in grains and legumes may look impressive on paper, but the bioavailable (absorbable and useful) amount of magnesium is very poor due to the fact that minerals like magnesium are bound to phytates. Myalgia, muscle spasms, tremors, cardiac arrhythmia (palpitations), lethargy, depression and decreased appetite (anorexia), muscle weakness, apathy, neuromuscular weakness. Magnesium deficiency is a recognized risk factor for ischaemic heart disease, hypertension and arrhythmia - especially if associated with coronary vasospasm and nigh muscle cramps. Insulin has a significant effect on intracellular magnesium stores as shown in numerous clinical studies looking at insulin and non-insulin dependent subjects129. As discussed above in diabetic states, there is a significantly low magnesium intracellular level affecting anywhere from 25% to 38% of diabetics putting them at great risk from cardiovascular events like an arrhythmia, increased triglyceride levels and atherosclerosis163. Magnesium has a vital role in activating tyrosine kinase which in turn transfers a phosphate molecule to the insulin receptor allowing the activation of this receptor and the subsequent signalling cascade to be triggered enabling all the functions of this receptor.
Tyrosine kinase is simply an enzyme that transfers a phosphate group to a protein in a cell from adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Low intracellular magnesium levels will result in defective tyrosine kinase activation and reduced insulin receptor activation and signalling. Calcium flooding into a blood vessel endothelial cell, will trigger off a signalling cascade that will lead to increased vascular tone (increased blood pressure)174. With low intakes or magnesium or insulin resistance or both, extracellular (blood) and intracellular levels of magnesium will be compromised (see below). Suboptimally low extracellular levels of magnesium will allow the calcium channels to stay open allowing an influx of calcium into cells. As mentioned above, suboptimal intakes of magnesium will result in unopposed influx of calcium leading to increasing intracellular calcium levels. High intracellular calcium levels result in numerous deleterious effects as shown in this following graphic175.

It is interesting to note that magnesium provides critical cell membrane stability to cellular and subcellular (organelle) structures. The mechanism of smooth muscle contraction around airways (bronchoconstriction) has a similar mechanism to what is shown above with regard to increasing intracellular calcium levels. Many studies have shown strong correlations between low intracellular magnesium levels and bronchial reactivity181, 182.
It is interesting to note how effective magnesium is in the treatment of both depression and migraine headaches.
Comparative head-to-head studies of intravenous or oral magnesium against tricyclic antidepressants that are known to be effective in the treatment of migraines, found an equivocal efficacy in the management of migraine headaches184, 185,186. It is interesting to note once again that low magnesium levels decrease brain serotonin levels and that it is also a known fact that antidepressants have the effect of raising brain magnesium levels186.
Attribution by linking (outside of the internet credit with url) to the according element page. It provides an in-depth look at recommended intake of magnesium, its effects on health health, foods high in magnesium and any potential health risks of consuming magnesium. Since magnesium plays an important role in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, it is no wonder magnesium status has an effect on diabetes.
Adequate magnesium intake has been associated with a lower risk of atherosclerosis and hypertension.
This will increase vascular tone if this happens in the blood vessels and thus increase blood pressure.
Having an optimal level of magnesium, allows this mineral to act as a calcium channel blocker. Elemental magnesium burns with a bright, white flame and a temperature of more than 3000 K. Magnesium deficiency, especially prevalent in older populations, is linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, coronary heart disease and osteoporosis. However, when intracellular magnesium levels are low, there is an increase in cell membrane permeability putting all cells involved at jeopardy for damage183. The addition of niacin to magnesium is definitely worth a try if a non-drug approach is what an individual is after or simply to test the effectiveness of this combination with very low potential for side-effects187.

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