Magnesium is a mineral that is required for the proper growth and formation of human bones, muscle tissues, and enzymes. It is used to convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into energy. It is involved in the transmission of nervous system impulses, assist in the uptake of calcium and potassium. Higher intake of magnesium has also been linked to lung function, according to a study published recently in England. Researchers found that adults consuming an average of 380 milligrams of magnesium per day exhibited increased lung function, and benefits were consistent regardless of whether or not the subjects smoked.
The body’s relative balance of magnesium and calcium has a profound impact on health as these two minerals must work smoothly together to insure proper muscle control. Calcium is involved in stimulating muscle contraction, and magnesium is required to allow the muscles to relax. Both an excess intake of calcium or a magnesium deficiency can result in poor muscle coordination, irritability and nervousness. Magnesium also helps to prevent depression, muscle weakness and twitching, heart disorders, and high blood pressure.
In the U.S. the Recommended Daily Allowance for magnesium is 400 mg. per day. Foods high in magnesium include fish, dairy products, lean meat, whole grains, seeds, and vegetables. Consumption of large amounts of zinc and vitamin D increase the body’s requirement for magnesium as does alcohol, fats, proteins, and diuretics. The body’s uptake of magnesium can also be inhibited by consuming foods high in oxalic acid, such as spinach, cocoa and tea.