Magnesium, a macromineral, is responsible for more than 300 biochemical processes within the human body. This article will discuss the role played by magnesium in the body. The article will discuss the recommended daily allowances (RDAs), the best foods to consume, as well as the negative consequences of having excessive or inadequate amounts.


Magnesium first came to the attention of Henry Wicker (a farmer from Epsom) in 1618. He realized that the water that was in one of the wells that his cows used contained ‘Epsom Salts’ (a bitter tasting salt which had a relaxing effect on the human body). Joseph Black, a chemist, was the first to recognize magnesium as an element. He demonstrated that the chemical compound magnesium sulfurate was ‘Epsom Salts. In 1808, the chemist Sir Humphry Davy followed up on Black’s work and isolated magnesium from the magnesium compound Sulphate.


Magnesium plays a role in a variety of chemical reactions. Because of this it plays a multitude of roles in our bodies. Magnesium supports metabolism of all macronutrients (carbohydrates as well as protein and fats in the diet) as well as micronutrients such as potassium, calcium and phosphorus. It also relaxes the muscles and nerves, encourages good circulation and promotes the growth of healthy bones.


Men require greater amounts of magnesium than women, do, however the RDA for both genders rises as you get older. Children aged 0-6 months require 30 milligrams (mg)magnesium glycinate  every day. this requirement increases to 240mg per day for children 9-13 years. Adults require more magnesium than that. Men should consume between 400mg to 420mg of magnesium each day, and women should consume between 350mg and 360mg. Women who are expecting or nursing may require more magnesium and may require up to 400mg daily depending on their age.


Magnesium is mainly found in plants, such as the green leafy vegetables, legumes seeds and nuts. Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest sources of magnesium, with 539 mg per 100g. However, almonds (279mg per 100g) as well as brazil nuts (229mg per 100g) and spinach (87mg per 100g) also contain high levels of this essential nutrient.


Magnesium overload symptoms typically develop when you consume more than 1000mg of magnesium a day. These levels are extremely difficult to get through diet alone, and most often an overdose can be attributed to the consumption of too much supplements. In the event of an overdose it can cause nausea, diarrhea as well as stomach cramps and vomiting.


The vast majority of magnesium deficiencies result from poor diet. But other causes such as alcohol abuse as well as kidney disease, diabetes and vomiting could also deplete the mineral from your body and result in a deficiency. Magnesium deficiency may have multiple effects on the body, as it plays various functions. The most common deficiency symptoms include low blood levels of nutrient, muscle cramps, a poor appetite and a rapid heartbeat.

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