Nutrition and Information Guide: Minerals Magnesium

About the mineral magnesium, nutritional information guide, uses, effects of deficiency or overdose, good sources of magnesium.

Magnesium

Use in the Body: Activates more enzymes in the body than any other mineral, acting as a primary agent in the utilization of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and several vitamins and minerals. Magnesium aids in the formation of bones and is an important part of the fluid between cells. It is necessary for the proper function of nerves and muscles, including the heart. It may also have something to do with regulating body temperature.

Deficiency May Lead to: Heat and circulatory diseases, weakening of capillaries, nervousness and muscle excitability (twitches, spasms), chronic diarrhea, and vomiting. May occur in alcoholics, diabetics, or those suffering kidney malfunction. Sources differ widely on the frequency of magnesium deficiency, but many say that the average American is slightly deficient in his diet.

Notes: An essential bulk element, magnesium is stored in the bones in combination with calcium and phosphorus and in the red blood cells, muscles, and soft tissues. The body's need for magnesium depends on its intake of protein, phosphorus, and vitamin D, since it assists in their utilization. Calcium competes with magnesium for absorption in the body; therefore its intake requires added magnesium. The alleged American deficiency of magnesium is blamed on our diet of refined sugar and flour. Magnesium may be beneficial in treating diabetes, alcoholism, mental illness, nervousness, diarrhea, kidney malfunction, and kidney stones.

Best Sources: Nuts, beans, peanut butter, whole grains, blackstrap molasses, dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and seafood.

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