Heart health requires magnesium. Not only is magnesium a major mineral required for heart function, it is also required for nerve function and acts as an aid in a significant number of enzyme reactions. This article will provide a closer look at magnesium, its sources and needs.
Magnesium: Location & Use
Bone is the repository for sixty percent of the body’s magnesium stores. The remainder circulates in the blood stream and works inside cells. Magnesium is used in more than 300 enzymes and within cells. Quite a few energy-yielding compounds require magnesium in order to function properly. The hormone insulin also requires magnesium. (5) (7) (8)
A magnesium deficiency creates an irregular heartbeat in humans. This may be accompanied by:
- muscle pain,
- seizures, and
The risk of cardiovascular disease is decreased by a sufficient intake of magnesium. This is a result of its ability to decrease blood pressure through dilating arteries and hindering heart rhythm abnormalities. Magnesium intake should be closely monitored with people who have cardiovascular disease, especially since they are often on diuretics that decrease magnesium levels. It is important to remember because our bodies readily store magnesium — a deficiency in this mineral develops slowly. (5) (7) (8)
Both hypertension and diabetes have been linked with decreased magnesium levels in the blood. It is unclear however, what the cause is for lower magnesium levels in diabetic or hypertensive people. Currently research is ongoing to determine magnesium’s role in the prevention and/or treatment of these diseases. (5) (7) (8)
The RDA for magnesium in adult women is about 310 milligrams per day and in men about 400 milligrams per day. This amount is determined by the amount the body needs in order to offset the losses incurred daily. On food and supplement labels, the Daily Value for magnesium is based on 400 milligrams. The average consumed by women is approximately 220 milligrams, whereas the average consumed by men is 320 milligrams daily. Accordingly, most adults need to improve their intake of magnesium-rich foods. (1) (2) (3) (4)
Refined grain products, common in most American diets is a very poor source of magnesium and magnesium supplements are not well-absorbed. Although animal products like meat and milk provide some magnesium, plant products are richer sources of magnesium. Some of these plant products include potatoes, squash, seeds, nuts, beans, and whole grains. (1) (2) (3) (4)
What is your favorite magnesium rich food? Do you have a recipe to share?