Our article this week is on the often overlooked importance of the mineral magnesium. The health and nutrition writer Anette Harbech Olesen has compiled a booklet packed with wonderful information on this essential mineral. The booklet includes details on the positive actions of magnesium in our body, the issues with good magnesium levels in our diets, the risks of magnesium deficiency, plus recipes and a great deal more valuable information.
This 21 page booklet is available to download for free below as a pdf, and makes excellent reading. Indeed this article is a little different as we provide some introductory information on magnesium, yet the focus for the reader is on the content of this booklet.
Magnesium – An Essential Mineral
Magnesium is an essential mineral that accounts for about 0.05% of the body’s total weight. Nearly 70% of the body’s supply is located in the bones, while 30% is found in cellular fluids and some soft tissue. Magnesium is involved in many essential metabolic processes. Inside the cell it activates enzymes necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids. It also regulates the acid/alkali balance in the body.
Magnesium helps promote the absorption and metabolism of other minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium. It also helps utilise the B complex vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E in the body. Magnesium must be obtained from our diet and optionally food supplements. Good levels of this mineral are essential at all stages of life but particularly as we age, if we suffer from prolonged stress, if we drink too much alcohol or caffeine, and of course if our diet is deficient in magnesium rich foods.
Unfortunately the levels of magnesium found in the typical modern diet in the UK are poor. And the levels of magnesium in relevant foods are significantly below the levels they were decades ago, due to modern and intensive farming and food preparation.
Magnesium can easily be depleted from our body, and we only hold limited reserves. The symptoms and resultant ailments from magnesium deficiency can be serious and are not uncommon.
Below are some of the key health facts on magnesium drawn from Anette’s booklet – and the pdf of the booklet is available for reading and download further below.
- Magnesium is involved in more than 300 different processes within our body;
- Magnesium is essential for a well functioning body and for our health and inner balance. Most importantly, magnesium is a crucial component for muscle activity and for the nervous system;
- However, it may be difficult to get enough magnesium through diet alone, particularly if you feel stressed, drink lots of coffee and eat processed food. Stress may drain your body of minerals including magnesium;
- Likewise, a lack of magnesium may be stressful for your body, which will then increase the production of stress hormones. These again will use up any magnesium reserves and rapidly consume new magnesium intake, thus causing a vicious circle of depletion;
- Unfortunately, a lack of magnesium may influence your health negatively since it is essential for the nervous system and all muscular activity. The generation of energy in our cells, as well as our memory, our heart and bones, are all dependent on suf¬ficient levels of magnesium;
- Relatively small reserves of magnesium are present in our bodies. The human body ideally contains just 21 – 28 grams of magnesium. However, our magnesium reserves are vulnerable to depletion – we can actually lose 25 % of them in just 25 days;
- The first signs of insufficient levels of magnesium in our bodies are unrest and cramps in the legs, a feeling of decreased memory, apathy, confusion, heart conditions and high blood pressure. Circulatory disturbances, loss of appetite, nausea, lethargy, depression, and insomnia can also be related to lack of magnesium;
- You can help manage good magnesium levels in your body with magnesium rich dishes and optionally appropriate supplements.
The Importance of Magnesium – PDF Booklet
Simply click on this link to download the booklet: The Importance of Magnesium
Good Magnesium Food Sources
Good natural sources of magnesium are fresh, green vegetables, raw un-milled wheat germ, soya beans, milk, whole grains, seafoods, figs, corn, apples and oil-rich seeds and nuts, especially almonds. Fish, garlic, tofu, peaches, apricots and lima beans are also good sources.
Food sources of magnesium are far better absorbed than inorganic sources. At Cytoplan we offer two types of Magnesium supplements which are Biofood Magnesium and Magnesium Citrate.
Cytoplan Biofood Magnesium is effectively an organic matrix form of magnesium, complete with natural amino acid carriers to ensure transport to sites of need within the body. Magnesium Citrate is the best of the non-food form forms of magnesium and also available as a food supplement. As a citrate it is readily absorbed into the bloodstream via the citric acid cycle.
We would always stress that everybody seeks suitable and qualified advice when looking at purchasing a food supplement – the right advice is very much based on each individual including information such as age, gender and pre-existing medical conditions. Be mindful if you are already be taking a multivitamins and mineral with magnesium in it.
Magnesium Permitted Health Claims
The current approved health claims (from EFSA the European Food Safety Authority) for Magnesium are:
- Magnesium can contribute to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue;
- Contributes to normal psychological functions;
- Contributes to electrolyte balance;
- Magnesium contributes to the maintenance of normal bone/teeth;
- Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism;
- Contributes to normal muscle function including the heart muscle;
- Contributes to normal nerve function;
- Contributes to normal protein synthesis;
- Magnesium contributes to normal cell division
Anette Harbech Olesen
Anette Harbech Olesen has studied diet and nutrition in Denmark as well as the USA. She blogs about food and health issues at www.madforlivet.com and has published a number of books in Danish on subjects such as healthy fats, cancer and food. Gluten-Free Secrets is Anettes ninth book and her first in English. The book is co-authored by Lone Bendtsen who has been baking gluten-free bread professionally for years and is currently managing an organic bakery in Denmark.
If you have any questions regarding this article, any of the health topics raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Amanda) by phone or email at any time. If you want to be alerted by email when a new post is published simply add your email address in the ‘Get The Latest Post By Email’ in the right-hand column.
With many thanks to Anette for her comprehensive booklet on magnesium. The English version of Gluten-Free Secrets has an anticipated release date of 25th September 2014. It will be available on the Cytoplan website on the following page: Gluten-Free Secrets Book.
Amanda Williams, Cytoplan Ltd
[email protected], 01684 310099
A footnote on Calcium Supplements:
Anette comments in her booklet on the relevance of getting appropriate levels of calcium in synergy with magnesium; and at suitable ratios (between the two minerals). We would concur with this information, however please note that recent research has raised concerns with calcium supplementation and the potential for cardio vascular problems, particularly for men. When looking at supplementing with calcium we would not recommend the common calcium carbonate supplements which are not soluble in the hcl acid of the stomach. High doses are therefore likely to increase the risk of kidney stones and arterial calcification.
Conversely calcium supplements from organic calcified seaweed have a porous and hydrolised surface area because of years in the ocean and this helps it to be very soluble in the hcl acid of the stomach; this permits uptake into food calcium metabolic pathways for optimum end organ fate.
Cytoplan Wholefood Organic Calcium is a natural multimineral seaweed product harvested off Ireland’s southwest coast. It is an organic wholefood supplement with no additives that yields 200mg elemental organic calcium per capsule plus 74 other trace minerals; it contains no additives.