Magnesium is often forgotten when we talk about vitamins and minerals, but it is largely important. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health; in fact about half of our body’s total magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside our cells and organs. Magnesium is critical because it is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.
It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, keeps bones strong*, as well as helping regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. In more functional terms, magnesium is beneficial for stress relief, staying regular, women’s health, energy, sleep, cardiovascular health and more.
The role of magnesium in our body’s metabolism is so diverse that it is difficult to find a body system that is not affected by magnesium deficiency. Our cardiovascular system, digestive system, nervous system, muscles, kidneys, liver, hormone-secreting glands, and brain all rely on magnesium for their metabolic function. Therefore, symptoms related to inadequate magnesium can include, low energy, muscle tension, headaches, irritability, inability to sleep, abnormal heart rhythms, anxiety/nervousness and more.
Eating a variety of whole grains, legumes, and vegetables especially dark-green, leafy vegetables every day will help provide recommended intakes of magnesium and maintain normal storage levels of this mineral. Other great sources of magnesium include, pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, soy beans, sesame seeds, black beans, sea veggies, flax seeds, buckwheat, kidney beans and more!
*Do note that for calcium to be absorbed, the body needs magnesium. Calcium at a cellular level provides energy and magnesium calms the cell, allowing absorption.