What Regulates The Flow Of Water Through A Cell Membrane The Function of Magnesium in Our Life

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The Function of Magnesium in Our Life

Magnesium, an alkaline earth metal, is the ninth most abundant element in the universe by mass. It makes up about 2% of the Earth’s crust by mass and is the third most abundant element dissolved in seawater.

Magnesium is the 11th most abundant element by mass in the human body; its ions are necessary for all living cells. The free element (metal) is not found in nature. Formerly produced from magnesium salts, it is now mainly obtained by electrolysis of salt water and is used as an alloying agent to make aluminium-magnesium alloys, sometimes called “magnalium” or “magnelium”.

Magnesium balance is essential for the well-being of all organisms. Magnesium is a relatively abundant ion in the lithosphere and is highly bioavailable in the hydrosphere. This ready availability, combined with useful and highly unusual chemistry, may have led to its evolutionary utility as an ion for signaling, enzyme activation, and catalysis. However, the unusual nature of ionic magnesium has also led to a major challenge in using the ion in biological systems. Biological membranes are impermeable to Mg2+ (and other ions) so transport proteins must facilitate the flow of Mg2+, both into and out of cells and intracellular compartments.

Key functions of magnesium

  • Bone formation – About two-thirds of magnesium is found in the bones. Researchers have discovered that this bone magnesium has two very different roles in supporting health. Part of this magnesium contributes to the physical structure of the bones, it is part of the crystal lattice of the bone, its “scaffolding”, together with calcium and phosphorus. Another part of the magnesium is located on the surface of the bones and serves as a place to store magnesium that the body can use during periods of inadequate magnesium intake.
  • Relaxation of nerves and muscles – Magnesium and calcium work together to help regulate nerve and muscle tone. In many nerves, magnesium serves as a chemical guard; when there is enough magnesium nearby, calcium is blocked from entering the nerve cell and activating the nerve, and the nerve is kept in a state of relaxation. If magnesium in the diet is inadequate, the gate block can fail and the nerve can become over-activated. When certain nerve cells are overstimulated, they send too many messages to the muscles, causing them to contract excessively. This series of events helps explain why magnesium deficiency can cause muscle inflammation, tension, cramps, spasms and fatigue.
  • Other functions of magnesium – Many chemical reactions in the body involve the presence of enzymes, proteins that help catalyze chemical reactions. Since magnesium plays a role in more than 300 different enzymes, its physiological functions are very extensive and include (but are not limited to) involvement in protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, energy storage in muscle cells and proper gene function. Because the metabolic role of magnesium is so ubiquitous, it is difficult to identify a body system that would not be affected by magnesium deficiency. The digestive system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, nervous system, muscles, kidneys, liver and brain rely on magnesium to carry out their metabolic functions.

Sources of magnesium in food

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds, brazil nuts, ready-to-eat cereal bran (100%), flounder, quinoa, spinach, almonds, spinach, buckwheat flour, cashews, soybeans, pine nuts, mixed nuts, white beans, pole beans, walnuts, Black Beans, Bulgur, Oat Bran, Soy, Tuna, Artichokes, Peanuts, Lima Beans, Turnip Greens, Navy Beans, Tofu, Okra, Soy Drink, Black Peas, Hazelnuts, Oat Bran Muffin, Great Northern Beans, Oat Bran, Buckwheat semolina, brown rice, torch

The magnesium content of plants varies considerably depending on the amount of magnesium in the soil where the plants grow.

Much of the magnesium content of food is lost during processing – milling removes approximately 59% of magnesium from whole wheat.

Cooking food in water also causes magnesium to be leached during the cooking process.

  Recommended daily use

  • 0-6 months – 50 mg
  • 6-12 months – 70 mg
  • 1-10 years – 150-250 mg
  • 11-18 years – 300-400 mg
  • 18 years + – 300-400mg
  • pregnant / lactating women – + 150mg
  • Therapeutic range: 50mg – 2500mg+

Nutritional security

  • Deficiency (insufficient magnesium): Poor intake of magnesium in the diet is a common cause of deficiency, as well as problems of the gastrointestinal tract such as malabsorption, diarrhea and ulcerative colitis. Physical stresses such as trauma, cold stress, and surgery can also contribute to magnesium deficiency, as can kidney disease and alcoholism. Magnesium deficiency symptoms can affect many physiological processes since this mineral has such a wide variety of roles in the body. Common symptoms include changes in muscle and nerve function such as muscle weakness, spasms and tremors. Since the heart is a muscle, it can also experience compromised functioning concurrently with magnesium deficiency, which can result in arrhythmia, irregular contractions, and rapid heartbeat. Softening and weakening of bones can be the result of a deficiency because magnesium plays an important role in maintaining bone structure. Other symptoms of magnesium deficiency include unbalanced blood sugar, elevated fats in the bloodstream, elevated blood pressure, headaches, seizures, depression, nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite.
  • Toxicity (too much magnesium): Diarrhea is the most common symptom of poisoning associated with high magnesium intake. It is most commonly seen when magnesium is taken as a dietary supplement rather than from a food source. While diarrhea may occur at lower supplemental doses, magnesium doses associated with diarrhea range from 1,000 to 5,000 milligrams in research studies. In addition, generalized symptoms such as increased sleepiness or feeling weak can be attributed to magnesium toxicity.

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