Magnesium is a mineral crucial to the proper function of your muscles, kidneys and heart. It is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Only 1 percent of your bodily magnesium is in your bloodstream, while a majority is stored in your cells and bones. Maintaining a balanced amount of magnesium in your diet might help prevent muscle cramping and spasms.
Magnesium directly interacts with your muscle tissue through a process called ion transportation. When magnesium contacts your cell membranes, it bonds with specific receptor sites that open up the cell membrane and allow other mineral ions to enter, such as calcium and potassium. These ions help regulate muscle contractions and might ease muscle tension.
The Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University reports that magnesium might have certain drug interactions that can affect your muscle tension. In combination with certain muscle-relaxing drugs used in anesthesia, magnesium might enhance their effects. Magnesium might also reduce the efficacy of the tranquilizer chlorpromazine. Speak to your doctor before taking magnesium as a muscle relaxant or in combination with any drug designed for that purpose.
It is unlikely that you have magnesium deficiency, even if your diet is lacking in the mineral. However, certain types of illnesses, such as intestinal viruses that lead to vomiting and diarrhea, might cause a temporary magnesium deficiency in your system. One side effect of significant magnesium deficiency is muscle cramping. In this case, taking supplemental magnesium might act as a muscle relaxant.
The recommended daily intake value for magnesium is 420 mg per day for men over the age of 30 and 320 mg for women over the age of 30. Girls between the ages of 14 and 18 might need slightly more magnesium per day. Meeting your daily needs through your diet will help regulate your muscle tension and prevent cramping. Spinach and other green vegetables are a good source of magnesium, as are almonds, cashews, soybeans, fortified cereals and potatoes.