The health benefits of magnesium

Role, food sources and deficiency

An essential mineral!

Magnesium is the 5th most present mineral in our body. It is a cofactor (non-protein chemical that assists with a biological chemical reaction) of more than 300 enzymes (protein catalyzing a biochemical reaction)! It is therefore an essential player in the regulation of several fundamental functions involved in the following health areas:

  • Bone health
  • Tonus & energy production
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Normal functioning of the nervous system

Dietary sources of magnesium

Our body is not able to produce magnesium and must therefore get it from our food. Seaweed is an excellent source of magnesium:

 

The other ingredients most known for their magnesium richness are:

 

A worldwide magnesium deficiency

The nutritional reference values for magnesium are shown in the table below:

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 75% of the world’s population suffers from magnesium deficiency. The main causes of the high prevalence of this deficiency are :

  • A processed diet: in general, “industrial food” lacks many essential elements, including magnesium.
  • Intensive agricultural practices that result in a magnesium deficit in the soil.
  • A stressful lifestyle that causes the body to lose magnesium (the vicious circle theory).
  • Increased needs in certain situations, especially for pregnant women, athletes and the elderly.

The first symptoms associated with a magnesium deficiency are the following:

  • Fasciculation (spontaneous and abnormal contraction of part of the muscle bundles of a muscle), in particular eyelid spasm
  • Contractures, cramps, tingling and numbness
  • Insomnia/fatigue
  • Anxiety/irritability/difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches/vertigo/nausea

Thus, a magnesium supplementation is often recommended at certain times of the life and the year to help our organism to fill this magnesium deficiency, allowing it to function at its best.