In a man of average constitution there is less than 30 grams of magnesium. However, this small amount is necessary for numerous functions of the organism. Magnesium supplies in most people are not enough, mainly because people mostly eat processed food which contains small amounts of this mineral. These supplies are rapidly consumed during periods of stress, during some diseases, intensive physical activities and when taking certain drugs.
Therefore, it is often necessary to take supplements with magnesium to maintain health. They contain various sources of this mineral: magnesium acetate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide or magnesium sulphate.
How does it work?
PREVENTION: recent studies confirm that magnesium is useful in preventing and treating heart diseases. It has been shown that mortality from a heart attack is lower in areas with hard water, which is rich in magnesium. Some scientists even say that death from infarction would be reduced by 19% if all people were drinking hard water. Magnesium appears to reduce blood pressure and help recover from a heart attack by slowing blood clotting, spreading arteries, and stabilizing potentially dangerous disorders of heart rhythm.
Initial results of some studies suggest that adequate magnesium intake could help prevent the development of Type II diabetes. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University determined magnesium levels in more than 1200 people who did not have diabetes and then, after six years, looked in which people this disease developed. It turned out that subjects with the lowest initial magnesium levels had 94% more chance of developing diabetes than those whose magnesium levels were the highest. Further studies are needed to confirm whether magnesium can prevent the occurrence of these diseases.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: magnesium relaxes the muscles and can be useful in sports injuries, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. It also appears to relieve PMS and menstrual cramps and to increase bone mineral density in women after the menopause.
In addition, magnesium extends the airways, which is also useful in asthma and bronchitis. For now, there is no consensus on the role of magnesium in preventing or treating migraine, but one study suggests that this mineral could enhance the action of sumatriptan, a drug often used in treating migraine.
How much magnesium is needed?
The recommended daily dose of magnesium is 300 mg for men and 270 mg for women. The recommended dose for adolescents is 300 mg; this dose is also recommended for the prevention or treatment of the disease.
IF YOU TAKE TOO LITTLE: even a mild deficiency can increase the risk of heart disease or diabetes. Severe deficiency can cause heart failure, fatigue, muscle cramps, irritability, nervousness and confusion.
IF YOU TAKE TOO MUCH: too much magnesium can cause nausea and diarrhea. If the organism fails to throw out too much of this mineral, muscle weakness, indifference, confusion and difficult breathing may occur.
Large doses reduce blood pressure and may cause dizziness. However, the magnesium overdose is rare, as the increased intake of this mineral is followed by reduced absorption, and the kidneys remove any eventual excess.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: To prevent heart disease: take 300 mg per day. For asthma, recovery after heart disease and heart rhythm disorders: the recommended dose is 300 mg.
For chronic fatigue: take 150 mg of (preferably) magnesium citrate, twice a day.
In diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure: take 300 mg per day.
USE GUIDELINES: absorption is the best when magnesium is taken with food. If you get diarrhea, lower your dose or try magnesium gluconate, which is milder for digestion.
Good sources of magnesium are whole grains, nuts, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables and shellfish.
IMPORTANT: people who suffer from kidney disease should consult with their physician before taking magnesium supplements.