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Magnesium is a chemical element essential to the basic nucleic acid chemistry of life, and consequently essential to all cells of all known living organisms. Magnesium is a vital component of a healthy human diet, usually referred to as a "macro mineral," which means that human diet must provide with hundreds of milligrams of magnesium each day. Magnesium cannot be synthesized by the body and it must be obtained from the diet in order to maintain optimum health. In human body, magnesium is found mostly in bones. 60% to 65% of all magnesium is located in the bone tissue. Muscles contain 25% of magnesium while the rest of it resides in other cell types and body fluids.

Health functions of magnesium

Magnesium is extremely important in building and strengthening the bones, maintaining healthy blood circulation and relaxing the nerves and muscles. Magnesium found in human bones, plays two important roles in human’s health. One portion of the magnesium in human bones helps give them their physical structure. The other portion of magnesium, found on the surface of the bone, acts as a storage site for magnesium which the body can draw upon in times of poor dietary supply.

In the nervous system, magnesium acts as a chemical blocker that keeps the nerve relaxed. If the diet doesn’t provide sufficient amounts of magnesium the nerves may become over-activated and cause contractions of the muscles and other unpleasant symptoms such as muscle tension, muscle soreness, muscle spasms, muscle cramps, and muscle weakness.

Over 300 different enzymes in the body require presence of magnesium in order to trigger chemical reactions in the body. This mineral is essential for the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. In other words, human cardiovascular system, digestive system, nervous system, muscles, kidneys, liver, hormone-secreting glands, and brain functions depend on magnesium.

Recommended daily allowance of magnesium

These are the recommended daily requirements of magnesium:Children need from 80 to 360 milligrams of magnesium daily, depending on their age.Adult females need 310 - 320 milligrams of magnesium daily.Pregnant women need 350 - 400 milligrams of magnesium daily.Breastfeeding women need 310 - 360 milligrams of magnesium daily.Adult males need 400 - 420 milligrams of magnesium daily.Food sources of magnesium

Swiss chard and spinach are one of the best natural sources of magnesium. Good sources also include mustard greens, summer squash, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, halibut, turnip greens, pumpkin seeds, peppermint, cucumber, green beans, celery, kale and a variety of seeds, including sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds.

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