Magnesium plays a variety of important roles in helping to keep the body functioning smoothly and efficiently. Furthermore, because of magnesium’s close interrelationship with the ability of other minerals in the body to their job properly, any problem in the intake or metabolism of magnesium tends to have a snowballing effect. More likely than not, the damage is compounded, as manifested in impaired functioning for other essential minerals, too.
For example, magnesium interacts with Vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. All of these nutrients and many more depend on the presence of magnesium to insure their necessary contribution to optimal bodily health.
Magnesium facilitates neuromuscular transmission and activity, working in close conjunction with calcium to help regulate nerve and muscle tone. Magnesium complements the action of calcium. In normal muscle contraction, calcium acts as a stimulator while magnesium acts as a relaxant.
The ratio of calcium to magnesium in the blood is very important in keeping the muscles from working too hard from over-excitation. The magnesium/calcium ratio also has a significant bearing on cardiovascular functioning.
Magnesium is also important in maintaining bone health. Research has shown a clear association between a diet rich in magnesium and increased bone density. In addition, the magnesium stored in the bones can serve as a reservoir that the body can draw on when additional magnesium is needed elsewhere.
Another major function of magnesium is to facilitate the digestion, absorption, and utilization of food. Magnesium is necessary for more than 300 enzymes to do their part in protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism. Many common over-the-counter remedies for the treatment of occasional indigestion or diarrhea, therefore, contain magnesium.
Magnesium is important in learning and memory, too. Brain cells need a sufficient supply of magnesium to work properly, and when they are deprived of it, mental confusion is a likely result.