More than 300 biochemical reactions in your body use magnesium. Half of the magnesium in your body is found in your bones, while the rest is in your organs and cells. Magnesium is a mineral found in green vegetables, some legumes, whole grains that are unrefined, and in nuts and seeds. Small amounts of magnesium can also be found in tap water, especially if you have "hard" water that naturally contains more minerals. Magnesium is responsible for a variety of body functions and is necessary for good health.
An important function of magnesium is keeping your bones healthy. Magnesium deficiency changes how your body metabolizes calcium and the hormones that regulate calcium, notes the Office of Dietary Supplements, ODS. Taking magnesium might help improve your bone mineral density and might play a role in preventing osteoporosis.
Magnesium might influence insulin response in your body and help control blood glucose levels through its role in carbohydrate metabolism. Increasing dietary magnesium might help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a study in the January 2004 issue of "Diabetes Care." The 18-year study followed the dietary intake of magnesium in 85,060 women and 42,872 men who did not have a family history of diabetes. The study found that the higher the magnesium intake, the lower the risk for acquiring type 2 diabetes.
Blood Pressure Regulation
Dietary intakes of foods rich in magnesium help regulate your blood pressure. A review of research data published in the April 2008 issue of "Nutrition in Clinical Practice" found that dietary intake of magnesium might help improve serum lipid profiles and reduce blood pressure.
Muscle Contraction and Relaxation
A major function of magnesium is its role in muscle relaxation and contraction. Your body uses magnesium to regulate muscle and nerve control. If you do not get enough dietary magnesium, you could experience muscle weakness, continued muscle contraction or twitching and fatigue.
Magnesium is responsible for the production and transport of energy by working as a co-factor with other enzymes to aid digestion and the absorption of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Magnesium also works with other enzymes in your body to synthesize protein. It helps your body create and transport energy by working with the enzyme adenosine triphosphate, ATP, which is the base energy storage molecule in your body.
- Office of Dietary Supplements; "Magnesium"; July 13, 2009
- "Diabetes Care"; "Magnesium Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men and Women"; R. Lopez-Ridura; January 2004
- "Nutrition in Clinical Practice"; "Magnesium in Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Metabolic Syndrome and Other Conditions"; C. Champagne; April 2008
- "Journal of Physiology"; "ATP Requirement of the Sodium-Dependent Magnesium Extrusion from Human Red Blood Cells"; Frenkel; July 1989
- Middle Path Medicine; "Magnesium, the Othre White Mineral"; Kathi Fennelly