Unlike the most commonly recognized minerals, sodium and calcium, magnesium is often overlooked in our everyday diets. This is not surprising as deficiency is well-documented in the scientific literature. Contributing to this deficiency is the steadily deteriorating quality of our soils, resulting in a lower magnesium concentration in even the highest magnesium foods.
Moreover, certain medications like proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), hormonal birth control, antihistamines, and other prescription medications can deplete magnesium levels in the body. These factors, coupled with impaired digestion and assimilation, are modern-day contributors to the widespread magnesium deficiency. For these reasons, diligently and proactively consuming enough magnesium daily is critical.
Magnesium, like other minerals, plays a significant role in cellular processes and is key for proper functioning of the nervous system. It also acts as a cofactor in mitochondrial energy production. To truly understand the importance of magnesium, it helps to understand the mechanisms behind the way magnesium works in the body. In this article, I’ll discuss the cellular processes magnesium is involved in that makes it such a crucial and necessary mineral.
General fatigue is ubiquitous in our modern society. There are so many underlying causes of lagging energy production that it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cause of fatigue. However, by including high levels of energy-producing nutrients in the diet, we can help support healthy energy levels.
While magnesium may commonly be known to have a relaxing or calming effect, it is also one of the compounds needed for proper energy production. The highest concentrations of intracellular magnesium are found in the mitochondria, the cell organelles that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of the body.
This isn’t surprising, as magnesium acts as a cofactor to the enzyme ATP synthase. This is the enzyme within mitochondria that uses adenosine diphosphate, magnesium, hydrogen phosphate, and hydrogen to produce ATP bound to magnesium.
The magnesium existing on both sides of the enzymatic reaction should be noted. Not only is magnesium needed for the synthesis of ATP, but it’s also bound to the final product to make ATP biologically active. It’s clear that magnesium is absolutely critical for the support of healthy energy production, right down to a molecular level.
Magnesium and Mood
The link between magnesium and mood has been documented in the scientific literature for almost a century.
Although magnesium should never be used as a substitute for medical intervention, biological studies on the function of magnesium show that it is vital for healthy serotonin production. Acting as a coenzyme, magnesium helps to convert tryptophan, an amino acid, into serotonin, the neurotransmitter that contributes to wellbeing and happiness.
Additionally, magnesium has been observed to act as a blocker to NMDA receptors, a type of glutamate receptor. This biological activity is similar to that of ketamine, a recently FDA-approved antidepressant.
Magnesium and Stress
The link between magnesium and stress levels has been well-established in research.
The stress response is characterized by rapid heart rate, changes in blood flow, and the release of catecholamines into the blood. Magnesium is released from cells into the blood to mediate the effects of stress. Although it plays a protective role initially, chronic stress can deplete magnesium levels and even lead to magnesium deficiency. Over time, low magnesium levels may decrease stress tolerance.
Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that magnesium levels may also influence the release of adrenaline. In magnesium deficient rats, scientists observed that the experimental animals had a more intense stress response to stressors, indicated by massive releases of adrenaline following stressful events.
This might be due to magnesium’s ability to modulate prolactin during stress. Prolactin is a multifaceted hormone that has been shown to inhibit the reactivity of the HPA axis, the central stress response system. Researchers believe that, by modulating prolactin immobilization into the blood, magnesium may have an additional impact on stress beyond its individual function.
Magnesium and the Nervous System
Minerals, like magnesium, are pivotal for the functioning of the nervous system. They give an electric charge between nerve synapses that allows for nerve impulse transmission, the mechanism by which almost all functions of the body run on. These minerals exist in a gap between synapses called the “synaptic cleft”.
The activity and availability of certain minerals in this synaptic cleft can impact nerve signals and the activity of neurotransmitters. In the case of magnesium, a high concentration blocks the activity of calcium in the synaptic cleft. By blocking the calcium channel needed for glutamate activity, an excitatory neurotransmitter that can cause oxidative stress and neuronal degeneration in the brain, magnesium can foster an environment of lower excitotoxicity. Additionally, magnesium interacts with GABA receptors, further combating excitotoxicity through potentiation of the calming inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA.
The plethora of scientific evidence bolsters the view that magnesium can support the health of the nervous system.
Being Proactive About Your Magnesium Intake
Considering the critical mechanisms that magnesium plays, it’s clear that magnesium intake is of utmost importance.
But, with soil depletion, various modern factors that impact magnesium absorption, and displacement of magnesium by prescription medications, it can be difficult to ensure adequate magnesium levels in the body.
As a result, proactive consumption of magnesium-rich foods is needed. Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocados, legumes, potatoes, and spinach are all good sources of magnesium.
However, especially in light of deteriorating soil, taking a magnesium supplement is a good practice to incorporate into your daily routine for ensuring adequate magnesium levels.
How Can I Find a Quality Magnesium Supplement?
When it comes to making the most of your magnesium supplement, you want to make sure you are looking for bioavailability and purity.
Minerals like magnesium are best absorbed by the body when they are chelated or bound to an amino acid. So, when looking to purchase a magnesium supplement the best magnesium supplement will be magnesium bound to a full-spectrum amino acid complex. Nutrigold’s magnesium is also independently tested to ensure its potency.
Additionally, purity is a crucial factor to keep in mind. The overall benefit of any supplement to the body is minimized by the presence of contaminants found in cheap, poorly produced supplements. Nutrigold’s supplements are all third-party lab tested for contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, solvents, heavy metals, and mold. This guarantees that the benefit of magnesium to the body won’t be overshadowed by pathogenic contaminants.
Magnesium Is Key for Supporting Many Processes in the Body
Magnesium’s pivotal function in so many bodily processes makes it a critical nutrient to proactively consume. By diligently including magnesium-rich foods and high quality, bioavailable magnesium supplements, you can give your body the nutrient needed to support healthy function of the body.