06.07.19 Nik Tokovic 4 Minute Read
Of all the elements of the periodic table it would appear that Magnesium is consistently the most talked about, the most appreciated, but at the same time it is the most overlooked. The result is that today more than two thirds of the population are only just consuming a third of their dietary Magnesium requirements.
The essential role that Magnesium plays in the wellbeing of man has been known for over 50 years, but it has been the last few decades that have shed greater light on the critical role that Magnesium plays in the biological processes that regulate every beat of our heart and even influence our every thought.
Magnesium is a cofactor in hundreds of different enzymatic reactions that regulate many diverse biochemical processes within the human body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation (12)(13). Magnesium is required for energy production, oxidative phosphorylation, and glycolysis. It is essential in the structural development of bones 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 (13).
What is my recommended daily magnesium requirements? Are your intake levels adequate?
The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) is 400mg for adult men and 310mg for women with slight variances made for different age groups. The RDA was first developed in 1940 as a minimum requirement in order to avoid many chronic diseases. Although the RDA has been revisited and revised a number of times, more recent studies have shown that the RDA may in fact be too low for individuals who are suffering from a number of now common disorders.
The common assertion that Magnesium deficiency is rare in America and the rest of the developed world is in direct conflict with the finding that the vast majority of Americans do not consume adequate dietary magnesium. Analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005 - 2006 found that the majority of Americans do not consume adequate dietary Magnesium (15).
The most common and readily used method for determining Magnesium status is carried out by testing serum Magnesium levels. Unfortunately this method of testing will not give an accurate status as there is little correlation between serum levels and total body Magnesium levels. The reason for this is regardless of magnesium levels in specific tissues such as muscles and bones, serum levels are tightly controlled by the body, most likely due to the many critical functions that Magnesium plays in the human body.
A 2002 three-stage study carried out by the ARS Grand forks Human Nutrition Research Center produced some interesting results. 10 postmenopausal women were placed on a controlled diet. During the first stage the volunteers were given a diet adequate in magnesium for 35 days. During stage two of the trials they were given a diet containing less than half their Dietary Magnesium requirements for 93 days. And during the third and final stage of the study the same volunteers were put on a diet containing adequate Magnesium for 49 days. At the end of each phase of the study the participants were subjected to a number of different tests including exercise, physiological, and biological tests. The study concluded that during the low-magnesium-status stage of the study that the participants used more oxygen and experienced an increased heart rate during physical activity. This means that during the low Magnesium stage of the study the participants required more energy and oxygen to carry out physical tasks.
Another study at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center found an association between typical low Magnesium diets and irregular heartbeats. In this study 22 postmenopausal women aged 47 - 78 years participated. The study was carried out over two stages, each lasting 81 days. At each stage participants were randomly given a controlled conventional diet that contained 130mg Magnesium per day, or a diet that exceeded the 320mg RDA. Participants were not informed whether they were on the lower or higher Magnesium diets.
At the conclusion of each phase of the study blood and urine tests were taken. In addition Electrocardiograms were taken at the end of each phase to measure the participants heart rhythms.
Unsurprisingly the participants on 130mg of Magnesium per day showed depletion in their serum, red blood cells, and urine. They also showed increases in heartbeat to abnormal areas of the heart, which indicates increased myocardial irritability.
The conclusion of the study indicated that 130mg of Magnesium is obviously inadequateand that people who live in soft water areas, people on diuretics, or people who are predisposed to Magnesium loss for any number of reasons may benefit from Magnesium supplementation.
This finding ties in with studies that have found that where people living in "hard" water areas especially where the water contains more Magnesium were found to have a lower risk of developing heart disease.
Nik Tokovic is the founder and CEO of Edge Electrolytes.