Magnesium is an important mineral, and its presence in every cell of living beings is vital for many biological processes. The chemical symbol of magnesium is Mg and it is one of the most abundant elements in the human body. Generally, it is found in the form of ions in living cells, but its concentration can vary.
The amount of magnesium in an adult human body is about 24 grams; out of which, almost 50% can be found in human bones. The remaining 50% can be found in body cells and a small amount, approximately 1%, can be found in blood.
Causes of Magnesium Deficiency
- Magnesium is a crucial mineral nutrient for carrying out hundreds of biochemical activities inside the human body. In the human body, magnesium is mainly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and is carried to the cells by blood circulation. Therefore, a healthy intestine can ensure adequate absorption of magnesium. Hence, any kind of disorder in the intestine and digestive system can cause this deficiency.
- Another reason for this condition may be its poor intake. Many people are not aware of the importance of a balanced diet, and hence, may not include magnesium-rich foods in their diet. Some studies conducted in the US reveal that a large number of Americans do not include adequate amounts of magnesium in their daily diet.
- Excretion of large amounts of magnesium through urine can also be a reason behind its deficiency. If the kidneys are healthy, they can prevent excessive excretion of magnesium. But, sometimes diabetes and overconsumption of alcohol can also result in excessive loss of magnesium through urine.
- Certain medications can also cause this problem. Medicines used in the treatment of cancer, or antibiotics, and diuretics can cause this deficiency in some individuals. Examples of such medicines are Bumex, Edecrin, Lasix (diuretics), Gentamicin (antibiotics), etc. It can also occur due to parathyroid diseases. It is also caused by low levels of hydrochloric acid which reduce levels of useful intestinal bacteria that facilitate the absorption of magnesium.
Diseases Caused by Magnesium Deficiency
- Lack of magnesium in the human body can cause many diseases. Since it helps in calcium absorption, its deficiency may result in low level of calcium in blood. This in turn affects the bones, and can cause osteoporosis. Studies have shown that it may be an important factor causing postmenopausal osteoporosis. It can also result in the reduction of potassium levels in the human body.
- Loss of appetite, vomiting tendency, weakness, and fatigue are some of its symptoms. Low levels of magnesium in the human body can cause migraine, muscle cramps, allergies, abnormal heartbeat, fibromyalgia, coronary spasms, attention deficit disorder, etc.
- Magnesium is an important element that ensures proper lung function, and therefore, it can be effective in treating asthma. When the level of this element is low in the body, adrenaline secretion increases, thereby leading to anxiety.
Role of Magnesium in the Human Body
- Magnesium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. Blood pressure can be effectively controlled by consuming magnesium-rich foods. It is also good for those suffering from diabetes. Diabetes results in insufficient production of insulin required to convert starch into energy. Magnesium is an important element which facilitates carbohydrate metabolism, and hence, plays an important role in the treatment of diabetes. Allergies are caused when histamine level in the body increases. Magnesium plays an important role in the treatment of allergies as it reduces the level of histamine.
- Green vegetables, whole grains, peanuts and nuts, oysters, legumes, and soy milk are some foods that are rich in magnesium. Eating these foods in large amounts is beneficial for people suffering from this condition.
- According to scientists, almost 300 biochemical reactions require the presence of magnesium for their smooth operation. Hence, intake of sufficient amounts of magnesium is very important for a healthy and long life. People suffering from allergies, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases should include foods rich in magnesium in their daily diet.