Magnesium is an essential mineral for the good functioning of the human body. Bone skeleton contains half or more of the 25 g of magnesium that are in the body of a mature, about 1% being in body fluids, and the rest in the muscle and soft tissues.This mineral component is difficult to assimilate in the intestines and 60 to 70% of the magnesium in the diet is eliminated through the faeces. But these percentages change depending on the amount of magnesium contained in the food consumed.
In case of poor nutrition in magnesium, assimilate up to 75%. Since magnesium is a component of plant chlorophyll, it is found in every link of the food chain; thus, any unprocessed food contains any amount of magnesium, although these quantities are different. The richest sources of magnesium are whole grains, such as hazelnuts, grains, wheat germ, and uncropped cereals.
Grinding the wheat (removing the shell and layers of the embryo) removes up to 80% of the amount of magnesium.
Other sources are vegetables, spinach, soybean, molasses, wheat flour, shrimps, molluscs, crabs.
Also, in smaller quantities, magnesium is contained in the liver and beef. Hard water can serve as an additional source of magnesium and calcium, but their concentration in water varies greatly depending on the different areas. Conventional water usually contains very few mineral substances of this kind.
Functions of magnesium in the body
Magnesium participates, as a cofactor, in over 300 known enzymatic reactions, included in the spectrum of metabolic activity. Energy production, glucose metabolism, oxidation of fatty acids and activation of amino acids all require magnesium. Magnesium participates in protein biosynthesis (body protein formation), but also in the transmission of genetic information.
Concomitantly, magnesium is involved in the transmission of nerve signals, increases adaptability to cold, serves as a component of bone and dental enamel, and also participates in vasodilation.
– calcium can reduce the amount of magnesium absorbed, as they share the common intestinal transport system between them. The ratio of the amount of calcium to magnesium in the diet should be 2: 1;
– the high amount of fat in the diet can reduce the amount of magnesium absorbed, since fatty acids form together with magnesium soap-like salts that are not assimilated into the gastrointestinal tract;
– fibrous foods can affect the loss of mineral substances, including magnesium;
– supplementation of folic acid may increase the need for calcium because of the increased activity of enzymes that require magnesium for normal activity;
– iron can reduce the amount of magnesium assimilated in the intestines.
– calciferol (vitamin D) stimulates to some extent assimilation of magnesium in the intestines, but since this affects more calcium, additional calcium intake may cause relative magnesium deficiency;
– vitamin E deficiency may reduce magnesium levels in tissues;
– alcohol, potassium and caffeine increase magnesium loss through the kidneys;
– consuming large amounts of sugar causes an increase in the need for magnesium;
– high-protein diet requires additional magnesium, especially during new tissue constructions, children, those who practice sports, pregnant women and nursing mothers;
– magnesium is necessary for the normal activity of group B vitamins as it is a cofactor necessary for the formation of thiaminpirophosphate, which is formed in the body before tiamine and other B vitamins can be used;
– some diuretic preparations may help to remove magnesium through the kidneys. This category of medicines includes furosemide.