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Magnesium; what you need to know

Few people give thought to what happens inside the body, deep down at the cellular level. We have trillions of cells performing many jobs and we take most for granted. Like breathing, they simply happen.

Most of our cells are so small that we can’t see them with the naked eye, but despite their size, each performs many complex biochemical reactions every millisecond—reactions that are made possible only with the right nutrients, cofactors, and plenty of oxygen.

When you consider magnesium is the fourth most common mineral in the human body — after calcium, sodium, and potassium—it seems ensuring healthy magnesium levels would be a dietary priority. However, if you don’t realize the importance of something, it tends to disappear from view.

Approximately 24-35 grams of magnesium are stored in the human body: 60% is located in the bones, 39% in the muscles and soft tissues, and 1% in the extracellular fluid.

Most people are surprised to hear that magnesium plays a pivotal role as a cofactor in over 300 bodily functions. In fact, name a physiological process and most likely magnesium is intricately involved. It’s often referred to as “the spark of life.” Yet it’s estimated that almost half of Canadians are not getting enough with diet alone.

You likely weren’t aware that magnesium is essential for regulating cellular and organ function. It is absorbed through the small intestine, mainly the jejunum, through passive diffusion and the active transport process. It is needed to create cellular energy, which enables you to accomplish everything on your daily to-do list.

Magnesium is a co-factor in activating enzymes that affect our metabolic rate. Metabolism is unique to each individual—some people have a fast metabolism while others are slow. These enzymes help to regulate this process as it varies from person to person.

Other enzymes are found in DNA and contribute to making and protecting proteins, which are instrumental in repairing DNA. Magnesium helps to regulate the delicate balance between sodium and potassium ions within the cells, thereby regulating our internal electrical signals, and it also helps to maintain proper calcium levels.

And this is only scratching the surface. Yes, magnesium is a mighty important mineral and consuming it daily contributes to a happier, healthier and more balanced body.

More Insight: Check out this article on the top 10 best foods for a healthy liver.

Author: Alex Hurst is a staff writer for HUM@Nmedia, the brand parent for Silver Magazine.