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Skeletal Health & Calcium Regulation
Bone tissue contains approximately 60% of the magnesium found in the body. One of the roles of magnesium citrate within the skeletal structure is to aid in regulating calcium within the bones and teeth. For example, magnesium is needed in order for calcium to be bound to tooth enamel. In addition to an influence on the hormonal processes involved in bone calcium metabolism, magnesium may increase the activity of vitamin D (which, among other things, aids calcium absorption). Although calcium is the most abundant skeletal mineral in the body and is the most known nutrient for maintaining bone density, in recent years the focus on the role of magnesium in bone health has dramatically increased. Many experts now believe that magnesium intake is at least as critical to skeletal health as calcium. Research has indicated that osteoporotic women have less bone magnesium – magnesium intake is a significant predictor of bone mineral content.
Muscular Health & Function
Magnesium is essential for the proper function of muscles, similar to calcium. In particular, magnesium is needed for the relaxation phase of muscle function, while the mineral calcium facilitates the contraction phase. Magnesium’s action as a muscle relaxant to a great extent relates to its ability to block smooth muscle uptake of calcium. Magnesium also affects muscular function through its influence on neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers of the nervous system. The properties of this mineral not only maintain normal function, but can also be preventive and/or therapeutic in the case of muscle dysfunction. To give an example of this, there was a study on pregnant women suffering with muscle cramps, 90% of the participants were symptom-free after one month of magnesium supplementation, compared to 33% of the control group. Especially important is the influence of magnesium on the smooth muscle tissue of the vascular system, which has many clinically proven benefits in cardiovascular health.
Magnesium is also critical to the metabolism of carbohydrates, and is needed for the both the synthesis and secretion of the hormone insulin (which facilitates the cellular metabolism of glucose in the blood). More often than not, diabetics are deficient in magnesium. There is strong justification to magnesium supplementation in diabetes, not only because it may improve glucose tolerance, but also because it may reduce the risk of developing diabetic complications such as cardiovascular disease and retinopathy. As a coenzyme, magnesium is also needed for DNA replication within cells.
Magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve certain pain-related disorders such as migraine and tension headaches and fibromyalgia (which manifests with symptoms such as joint and muscle aches and pains). In the case of migraines, most of the benefit from magnesium appears to be linked to its role in vascular muscle function, nerve-relaxation and proper mitral valve function. The heart’s mitral valve prevents backflow or leakage of oxygenated blood within the heart, and a prolapse of this valve leads to abnormalities in the pumping of blood as well as causing the release of compounds that precipatate and expansion of the cranial blood vessels. Migraines may be triggered by this vascular expansion; in fact, research suggests that there is twice the rate of mitral valve prolapse in migraine sufferers compared to non-sufferers. Chronic magnesium deficiency exists in 85% of those with mitral valve prolapse, and not surprisingly.
Nerve Health & Function
Magnesium will also work in tandem with calcium to ensure proper nerve impulse transmission. in part through an influence on neurotransmitters (chemical messengers of the nervous system). A lack of dietary magnesium is associated with latent tetany, this is a condition that manifests in muscle spasms, cramping, twitches or tremors as a result of hypersensitive nerves. Magnesium deficiency is also associated with lactic acid build-up, leading to an imbalance in the ratio between lactic acid and pyruvic acid. A high lactate to pyruvate ratio is linked to anxiety-related disorder.
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