Updated: Oct 24, 2018
This is the first in a series of posts detailing everything you need to know about magnesium: what it does, where it come from, why it is in different forms, and how you can best incorporate it into your life!
Today we're focusing on the whole foods origins of magnesium!
Why do we need magnesium?
Magnesium is a critical mineral in our bodies that is "a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It contributes to the structural development of bone and is required for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium also plays a role in the active transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes, a process that is important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm." (Rude 2010/2012).
Due to the integrated nature of this mineral into a multitude of functions within our bodies, deficiencies can present in a number of ways. It tends to present in the initial stages as loss of appetite, fatigue, and weakness. As it develops, more serious symptoms such as muscles contractions/cramps and numbness/tingling in extremities can occur. A common sensation know as "restless leg syndrome", which is a feeling of discomfort in the legs when they are sedentary (such as when you go to sleep or sit for extended periods of time), can be caused by magnesium deficiency.