Magnesium: properties and deficiency

Magnesium is a mineral commonly used in naturopathy.

It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is important for health.

About 50% of the total magnesium in the body is found in the bones.

The other half is found mainly inside the cells of the organs and body tissues.
Only 1% of magnesium is in the blood, but the body strives to maintain a constant blood level.
Magnesium is required for more than 300 biochemical reactions.
This substance helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps the heart rhythm constant, supports the immune system and strengthens bones.
In addition, magnesium serves to regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure and is known to be involved in energetic metabolism and protein synthesis.
This mineral salt is absorbed from food in the small intestine and excreted in the urine.


Where is magnesium contained?

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are a good source of magnesium because the inside of the chlorophyll molecules contains magnesium.
Some legumes (beans and peas) are good sources, as are nuts, seeds, and unrefined whole grains. In general, refined grains have a low magnesium content: when white flour is refined and processed, germs and bran rich in this mineral are removed.
Bread made from wholemeal flour contains more magnesium than bread made from refined white flour. Tap water can be a source of magnesium, but the amount varies: the water that contains more minerals is the “hard” water.
Eating plenty of legumes, nuts, whole grains and vegetables helps to meet the daily requirement of magnesium.

Food sources
The ten foods that contain the most magnesium are:

  • Brown algae
  • Almonds
  • Cashew nuts
  • Molasses
  • Buckwheat
  • Brazil nuts
  • Dulse
  • Hazelnuts
  • Millet
  • Pecans

To maintain high magnesium levels, it is better to avoid:

– black tea or regular and decaffeinated coffee
– cooked foods
– alcohol – non-organic products that use pesticides and herbicides to remove
magnesium from the soil – refined sugar, corn syrup and artificial sweeteners
– continued stress

– ordinary table salt, better replace
with Himalayan salt – tap water containing sodium fluoride, better use
a water filter – any type of refined food, including non-fermented soy products


When can a magnesium deficiency be present?

Although surveys show that many Americans do not consume the required minimum amount of magnesium, symptoms of magnesium deficiency are rare in the United States.
Nevertheless, there is concern that many people do not have enough magnesium in the body because there is no adequate intake.
The state of health of the digestive system and kidneys significantly affects magnesium levels.
Magnesium is absorbed in the intestine and then passes through the blood to the cells and tissues.
Gastrointestinal disorders that cause malabsorption, such as Crohn’s disease, can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb magnesium.

These disturbances can empty the memory and in extreme cases cause deficiency symptoms.
Healthy kidneys are able to limit the excretion of magnesium in the urine.
Excessive loss of magnesium through urine can be the side effect of some medications and can also occur with diabetes and alcohol abuse.
The first signs of magnesium deficiency are: loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and weakness, while with greater loss, numbness, ant tingling, muscle contractions and cramps, as well as seizures, personality changes, cardiac arrhythmias and coronary spasms may occur.
High-grade magnesium deficiency can lead to low calcium levels in the blood (hypocalcemia) and is also associated with low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia).

Anxiety and magnesium

During great stress and tension, the body consumes a higher amount of magnesium than usual. If there is not enough magnesium, it can cause anxiety.
Therefore, in such times, a supplement is indicated to solve the anxiety.

Who needs magnesium supplements?

Magnesium supplementation may be indicated if a specific health problem causes excessive loss of this mineral or limits its intake.
Some medications can cause a deficiency, including diuretics, antibiotics, and antineoplastic drugs.

Some examples are:

  • Diuretics: furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide
  • Antibiotics: gentamicin and amphotericin
  • Antineoplastic drugs: cisplatin

People who benefit from magnesium supplements include:

– Diabetics, because of the loss of magnesium through the urine, which is bound to hyperglycemia.
– People suffering from alcoholism, in whom low levels of magnesium are found in 30-60% of cases.
– People with chronic malabsorption problems, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease, may lose magnesium through diarrhea.
– People with low blood levels of potassium and calcium.
– Elderly people, in whom absorption is reduced and renal excretion of the mineral is also increased due to some medications.
– People with problems with teeth, nails and hair. Magnesium promotes the health of these parts of the body.

Magnesium-containing supplements can be found in pharmacies or drugstores.

Daily requirement of magnesium:

Children from 1-3 years: 40-80 mg per day Children from 4-8 years: 130 mg per day Children from 9-13 years: 240 mg per day Boys from 14-18 years: 410 mg a day Girls from 14-18 years: 360 mg per day Pregnant women aged 14-18 years: 400 mg per day Breastfeeding mothers from 14-18 years: 360 mg per day.

Men from 19-30 years: 400 mg per day Women from 19-30 years: 310 mg per day Men over 31 years: 420 mg per day Women over 31 years: 320 mg per day Pregnant women from 19-30 years: 350 mg per day Pregnant women over 31 years: 360 mg per day Breastfeeding mothers from 19-30 years: 310 mg per day.

Breastfeeding women over 31 years: 320 mg per day

Properties of magnesium

Magnesium is used for:

– Asthma
Various studies show that magnesium absorbed endovenously and by inhalation via a nebulizer can provide benefits in the treatment of acute asthma attacks in children aged 6-18 years, as well as in adults; however, there is no evidence that oral intake of magnesium can control the symptoms of asthma.
Low magnesium levels can increase the risk of developing asthma. A clinical trial of a population of over 2,500 children between the ages of 11 and 19 has shown that low dietary intake of magnesium may be associated with asthma risk. The same was found in over 2,600 adults between the ages of 18 and 70.

– Depression
Insufficient magnesium levels seem to lower serotonin levels. A 2008 study showed that magnesium acts like tricyclic antidepressants in treating depression in diabetics.

– Diabetes
People suffering from type 2 diabetes often have low levels of magnesium in their blood. A large clinical trial of over 2,000 people has shown that a greater intake of magnesium through the diet can help protect against the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Some studies suggest that taking magnesium supplements may help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or prediabetes.

– Fibromyalgia A small clinical trial, limited to 24 people with fibromyalgia, has shown that taking tablets containing malic acid and magnesium relieves fibromyalgia
pain when taken at least over 2 months.
Other studies suggest a combination of calcium and magnesium.

– Noise-induced hearing loss A study suggests that taking magnesium can prevent noise-induced temporary or permanent hearing loss.

– Arrhythmia and heart failure
Magnesium is essential for heart health. Studies point to a possible link between a lower risk of coronary heart disease in men and a higher intake of magnesium.
Magnesium helps maintain a normal heart rhythm and is sometimes given in the hospital through the vein to reduce the possibility of atrial fibrillation and cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat).

People with congestive heart failure (CHF) are at risk of developing cardiac arrhythmia; for this reason, the doctor may recommend supplementing with magnesium. A study has shown that taking magnesium orotate for one year reduces symptoms and the survival rate of people with CHF is higher compared to a placebo group.

Magnesium and calcium work together in a precise ratio to ensure proper heart function.
Other studies have shown the role of magnesium in treating individuals with a previous heart attack. Some have reported a lower mortality rate, as well as fewer arrhythmias and an improvement in blood pressure, but other research has found an increased risk of sudden death or another heart attack, or the need for bypass surgery in the year after the heart attack.

– High blood pressure A healthy and balanced daily diet, where fruits and vegetables are preferred, is associated with lower blood pressure
Many of these foods are rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium. A large clinical trial of over 8,500 women has shown that a greater intake of magnesium in the diet can reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
Some studies suggest that taking magnesium supplements may contribute to lower blood pressure, although not all studies agree.

– Migraine
Some studies point out that taking magnesium-based supplements for migraines helps to shorten the duration of the attack and thus reduce the amount of medication needed. People who suffer from migraines tend to have low magnesium levels.
Some experts also point to a combination of magnesium and vitamin B.
2 (riboflavin).
Magnesium intake is also very useful in women who are prone to migraine in connection with menstruation.

– Osteoporosis
The intake of too little calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and other micronutrients can play an important role in the development of osteoporosis. To prevent this, it is essential to take in an adequate amount of these elements, follow a balanced diet and light physical activity throughout life.

– Preeclampsia and eclampsia Preeclampsia
is characterized by a sudden increase in blood pressure in the last trimester of pregnancy. Women with preeclampsia can develop seizures — a condition called eclampsia. Magnesium administered through the vein in the hospital is the preferred treatment to prevent or treat these seizures and prevent the complications of preeclampsia.

– Premenstrual syndrome
Scientific studies suggest that magnesium supplements may help relieve symptoms associated with menstrual pain, such as abdominal swelling, insomnia, swollen legs, weight gain, and chest tension. The studies show a good interaction between magnesium and vitamin B

– Restless leg syndrome A small clinical study in only 10 patients has shown that magnesium improves insomnia, which is related to restless leg
(a condition characterized by unpleasant sensations in the legs that worsen with inactivity, rest, or sitting and lying down).

How should magnesium be used?

Eating whole grains, legumes and vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) daily helps to absorb an adequate amount of magnesium and maintain a normal supply in the body.
Magnesium comes in the form of tablets, capsules and granules, which are useful in case of deficiency. However, if blood levels are lowered, it must be administered intravenously.

Because people with kidney disease may not be able to excrete excess amounts of magnesium, they should not take magnesium supplements unless prescribed by the doctor.
The magnesium contained in oral supplements is associated with another substance, a salt, which determines bioavailability and absorption: for example, we find magnesium oxide, sulphate and carbonate.
Often you can see magnesium supplements in the pharmacy along with those of potassium.
Anyone who has lost a lot of mineral salts through sweating or due to illness needs both.

Possible interactions:

The use of magnesium must be carried out under strict medical supervision if one of the following agents is taken at the same time:

– aminoglycosides to avoid neuromuscular weakness and paralysis.

– Antibiotics: Taking magnesium supplements can reduce the absorption of quinolone antibiotics, tetracyclines and nitrofurantoin. Magnesium should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after taking these medications. Quinolone antibiotics and tetracyclines are:

  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Tetracycline
  • Doxycycline

– Calcium antagonists in high blood pressure: Magnesium may increase the risk of side effects (for example, dizziness, nausea and water retention) in pregnant women. Examples of calcium channel blockers are:

  • Amlodipine
  • Diltiazem
  • Felodipine
  • Verapamil

Diabetes medications: Taking magnesium, which is found in some antacids, for example, can increase the absorption of other medications taken to control blood sugar levels.

– Digoxin (Lenoxin): Low blood magnesium levels can increase the side effects of digoxin, such as nausea and palpitations. Likewise, digoxin can lead to increased renal magnesium excretion.

– Diuretics such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide can lower magnesium levels.

–Hormone replacement therapy.

– levothyroxine (Euthyrox), a medication used for hypothyroidism (hypothyroidism).

– Alendronic acid (Fosamax): Magnesium interferes with the absorption of medications used for osteoporosis, including alendronic acid. Magnesium or magnesium-containing antacids should be taken 1 hour before or 2 hours after.

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