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Magnesium

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Magnesium information, FAQ and product listing page. This page contains everything you need to know about magnesium.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium plays vital roles dealing with the structure and function of our bodies. Our bodies contain approximately 25 grams of magnesium. Out of these 25 grams, over 60% of the magnesium located in our bodies is located in the skeleton, with 27% found in muscles, 6-7% found in other cells, with the remaining percentage located outside of our cells. (1)

Magnesium is a part of more than 300 critical metabolic reactions to the body. The mast major functions that it participates in are located below. (2)

Energy production
Numerous magnesium-dependent chemical reactions are required for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats in our body. Magnesium is a required element by the ATP synthesizing protein in mitochondria. ATP, or adenosine triophosphate, is the single molecule that provides the most energy for all metabolic processes. (also see Creatine Monohydrate)

Synthesis of essential molecules
A number of steps during the nucleic acid (DNA/RNA) and protein synthesis process require magnesium. Many enzymes required in the synthesis of carbohydrates and lips require magnesium to operate. Additionally, an important antioxidant glutathione requires magnesium for its synthesis.

Ion transport
For ions like potassium and calcium to cross cell members, magnesium is required. Through its function in ion transportation systems, magnesium is affecting the conduction of nerve impulses, a regular heart rhythm, and muscle contractions.

Cell migration
Both magnesium and calcium levels located within the fluid surrounding cells affect migration of a variety of differing cell types. This may play an important role in healing wounds.

Additionally, magnesium is a factor in the structure of bones, cell membranes, and chromosomes. (3)

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What foods contain magnesium?

As magnesium is a part of chlorophyll, the green pigment that exists in plants, you can find magnesium in green leafy vegetables – they’re rich in them. You can also find a healthy dosage of magnesium in unrefined grains, nuts, and meats. Other foods contain magnesium, but at much lower levels – such as refined foods, bananas, and frozen okra. Water can also contain magnesium, but the levels vary – harder water usually has a higher concentration.

Some of the foods that contain the most of magnesium can be found in the table below. They are accompanied by their content in milligrams (MG).

Food Serving Magnesium(mg)
100% Bran Cereal (e.g., All Bran) ½ cup 93.1
Oat bran ½ cup dry 96.0
Shredded wheat 2 biscuits 61.0
Brown rice 1 cup cooked 86.0
Almonds 1 ounce (23 almonds) 78.0
Hazelnuts 1 ounce (21 hazelnuts) 46.0
Peanuts 1 ounce 48.0
Lima beans ½ cup cooked 63.0
Spinach, frozen, chopped ½ cup cooked 78.0
Swiss chard ½ cup cooked 75.0
Okra, frozen ½ cup cooked 47.0
Molasses, blackstrap 1 tablespoon 48.0
Banana 1 medium 32.0
Milk 1% fat 8 fluid ounces 34.0

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What is the suggested daily intake of magnesium?

In the United States, the RDA or recommended daily allowance for magnesium can be seen in the chart below. These figures were increased in 1997. They are not based on the amount of magnesium required to prevent chronic diseases or to achieve optimum health, they are simply amounts of the nutrient required by our bodies.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Magnesium
Life Stage Age Males: mg/day Females: mg/day
Infants 0-6 months 30 (AI) 30 (AI)
Infants 7-12 months 75 (AI) 75 (AI)
Children 1-3 years 80 80
Children 4-8 years 130 130
Children 9-13 years 240 240
Adolescents 14-18 years 410 360
Adults 19 years + 400 320
Pregnancy 18 years - - 350
Pregnancy 19 years + - 360
Breast-feeding 18 years - - 360
Breast-feeding 19 years + - 320

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What are the signs of magnesium deficiency?

Because magnesium is abundant in both plant and animal foods, and the kidneys are able to limit excretion of magnesium when supplies run low, deficiency is quite rare. For that that are not healthy and do not intake enough magnesium in a normal, healthy diet, some side effects can consist of neurological and muscular symptoms such as tremors and muscle spasms. In addition, signs of deficiency can include a loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and personality changes. (5)

Those that are experiencing the following conditions increase the risk of deficiency, these include: gastrointestinal disorders, renal disorders, alcoholism, or old age. Studies have shown that elderly individuals tend to have low dietary intakes of magnesium. Coupled with the fact that the body’s absorption of magnesium tends to decrease with age, the elderly are at a much higher risk factor for deficiency than anybody else. (4)

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Who can benefit from using magnesium supplements?

Everybody can benefit from magnesium -- it helps both treat and prevent many common diseases. Health problems and diseases that can be prevented by magnesium intake include hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Health problems that can help be treated by magnesium include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, endothelial dysfunction, diabetes, osteoporis, migraine headaches, and asthma.

Specific benefits to bodybuilders & athletes:

  • Promotes strong bones & skeletal system
  • Participates in metabolism, providing energy

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Does magnesium have any side effects?

Adverse side effects have not been observed by people taking magnesium following the guidelines set forth in the RDAs. However, excess magnesium usage mayn lead to diarrhea, hypotension, lethargy, confusion, muscle weakening, and difficulty breathing. A severe case of toxicity of magnesium can result in cardiac arrest. (3)

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