All human tissues contain small amounts of magnesium. The adult human body contains about 25 grams of this mineral. The greater part of this amount is present in bones in combination with phosphate and carbonate. Bone ashes contain less than 1% magnesium. About one -fifth of the total magnesium in the body is present in the soft tissues, where it is mainly bound to protein. Next to potassium, magnesium is the predominant metabolic cation in living cell. The bones seems to provide our reserve supply of this mineral in case of shortage elsewhere in the body.
Biochemists call magnesium the “call, alkaline, refreshing, sleep- promoting mineral.” Magnesium helps one keep calm and cool during the sweltering summer months. It aids in keeping nerves relaxed and normally balanced. It is necessary for all muscular activity. This mineral is an activator for most of the enzyme system involving carbohydrate, fat and protein in energy producing reactions. It is involved in the production of lecithin which prevents building up of cholesterol and consequent atherosclerosis. Magnesium promotes healthy cardiovascular system and aids in fighting depression. It helps prevent calcium deposits in kidneys and gallstones and also brings relief from the indigestion.
Magnesium is widely distributed in foods. It is a part of the chlorophyll in green vegetables. Other good sources of this mineral are nuts, Soya beans, alfalfa, apples, lemons, almonds whole grains, brown rice, sunflower seeds and seasame seeds.
The recommended dietary allowance for magnesium are 350 milligram per day for adult man, 300 milligram for women and 450 milligram during pregnancy and lactation. Deficiency can lead to kidney damage and kidney stones, muscle crams, arteriosclerosis, heart attack, epileptic seizures, nervous irritability, depression and confusion, impaired protein metabolism and premature wrinkles.
Chronic alcoholics often show a low plasma magnesium concentration and urinary output. They may therefore, required magnesium therapy especially in acute attack of delirium tremens. Magnesium has also and proved useful in ladder and in epileptic seizures. This mineral together with vitamin B6 or pyridoxine has also been found effective in the prevention and treatment of kidney stones. Magnesium can be taken in therapeutic doses up to 700 milligram a day.