What is Magnesium (Mg)?
Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral element found in seawater. One of 7 major electrolytes needed in our body to sustain life, without it we perish. The human body contains approximately 1 oz of magnesium existing mostly in the soft tissues, muscles and most of it stored in the bones with 1% in the blood.
Magnesium is responsible for hundreds of bio-chemical reactions and required by every cell in the human body for producing energy and complex proteins known as Enzymes. Listed below are 14 major magnesium functions outlined by Dr. Carolyn Dean M.D. N.P. in her book, 'The Magnesium Miracle', excellent book and a must read.
A co-factor for the enzyme ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is the main source of energy in our cells, this is likely the most important function of magnesium.
A membrane stabilizing agent. Stabilization decreases excitation of nerves and contraction of muscle cell membranes.
Required for the structural integrity of numerous body proteins. 3,751 magnesium receptor sites have been found on human proteins.
Required for the structural integrity of nucleic acids. Consequently, magnesium is a requirement for RNA and DNA production.
A co-factor for the enzyme guanosine triphosphatase. GTP has many functions that trigger taste, smell, perception of light, protein biosynthesis, cell division, and many more.
A co-factor for the enzyme phospholipase C. PLC creates signal transduction pathways.
A co-factor for the enzyme adenylate cyclase. This enzyme allows the effects of hormones like glucagon ( ) and adrenaline () into cells because hormones themselves can not pass thru cell membranes.
A co-factor for the enzyme guanylate cyclase. This enzyme allows calcium to enter the cells, transmits messages across cell membranes, functions as a hormone signal, it signals relaxation in smooth muscles which regulates vascular and airway tone, insulation secretion and peristalsis.
Required co-factor for the activity of hundreds of enzymes, approximately700-800 enzyme systems.
A direct regulator of the ion channels, most notably of the other key electrolytes, calcium, sodium, and potassium. Magnesium is involved in potassium transport. Magnesium and potassium depletion cause similar damaging effect on the heart and it's impossible to overcome potassium deficiency without replacing magnesium. Magnesium guards the ion channels that allow calcium to enter and leave the cells, allowing the exact amount of calcium required to cause muscle or nerve cell to contract and then flushing that extra calcium out to prevent excessive contraction, it is also a natural calcium channel blocker.
An important intracellular signaling molecule itself. The role of cell signaling can not be underestimated. Intracellular communication allows the cells of the body to function at all.
A modulator of oxidative phosphorylation. This function releases energy allowing the formation of ATP, which is energy for trillions of cells in the human body.
Involved in nerve conduction. Keeping calcium in check so as not to allow toxic levels excite the nerves to the point of cell death.
Involved in muscle function. This function includes oxygen uptake, electrolyte balance and energy production. Magnesium allows calcium to cause muscle contraction and then pushes calcium out of the muscle cells to allow the relaxation phase. Muscle cells stimulated by too much calcium can go into uncontrollable spasm, resulting in tissue damage such as occurs in a heart attack.