Magnesium Health Benefits
Magnesium is sometimes called the “anti-stress” or “calming” mineral because of the tranquilizing effect it has on muscles. Magnesium is capable of relaxing both skeletal muscles and the smooth muscles found in blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract.
Regulates nerve and muscle contractions
Without calcium, nerves could not send messages to the muscles, and muscles could not contract, and even many of the routine motor functions we take for granted could not be performed. But magnesium is equally necessary to contain the activity of muscles that are overstimulated and to prevent spasm.
This unique capability of magnesium can be critical in maintaining heart health. When an overabundance of calcium ions rush in, producing constricted blood vessels and a rise in blood pressure, the risk is minimized by the presence of magnesium, which has the opposite effect. Magnesium helps to dilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure and prevent coronary spasms that are linked to heart attacks.
In addition, besides acting on the muscles directly to prevent them from becoming too excited, magnesium can regulate nerve cells, in the same way. Because of its ability to relax nerves, magnesium has proven useful in the prevention and treatment of seizures.
Supports healthy bone structure
The magnesium contained in bone supports the healthy structure of the bone. Along with calcium and phosphorus, magnesium is part of the bone’s crystal lattice formation.
Key component of bone structure
The presence of magnesium in the bone contributes to the bone’s density. In adult females past age 35 and adult males past age 55, there is inevitably some loss of bone density due to demineralization. However, the inclusion of sufficient magnesium in the diet will help slow down the process and lessen the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.
If necessary, the magnesium kept in reserve on the surface of the bone can be drawn on when there is an insufficient supply elsewhere to meet the body’s needs. That way, even when the dietary intake of magnesium is inadequate, there is a safeguard mechanism in place to provide some degree of protection.
Stops dangerous blood clots
The regulation of blood clots is another area where magnesium counteracts the effects of calcium. While calcium facilitates the formation of blood clots, magnesium helps prevent them. Sometimes blood clots serve a useful purpose in stopping hemorrhaging due to serious injury, while other types of blood clots, like an arterial blood clot caused by the buildup of plaque, can be dangerous, even life threatening. Low levels of magnesium have been found in the blood and hearts of those who have had heart attacks.
Used in the treatment of a wide range of medical conditions
Magnesium therapy is frequently used in preventing and treating myocardial infarctions, as well as troublesome symptoms like angina, palpitations, and certain arrhythmias. Magnesium is also sometimes used to relieve the bronchoconstriction associated with asthma. Other conditions, where magnesium has been used in treatment, include kidney stones, depression and anxiety disorders, hyperactivity, and autism.
Since menstruation causes magnesium levels to be lower than usual, some of the symptoms associated with PMS and the menstrual period (cramps, irritability, fatigue, etc.) can often be relieved by taking magnesium supplements. Pregnant women who develop preeclampsia or eclampsia are typically treated with magnesium sulfate.
Component in over 300 different metabolic reactions
Magnesium also plays a very important role in facilitating enzyme activity. Magnesium serves as an enzyme “co-factor,” the catalyst without which enzymes would be unable to perform the wide range of complex chemical reactions that are vital to maintaining a healthy body. Glucose and fat breakdown, the creation of antioxidants, and DNA and RNA production are a few examples of the kinds of activities that the presence of magnesium makes possible.