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Functions of Magnesium in the Body

Functions of Magnesium in the Body

Where is Mg found in the body

Mg++ is the second-most abundant positively charged ion INSIDE the body's cells(potassium is #1)

–   Mg exists in the body as positive ions in solution or complexed with other tissues(E.g. bone) - not as a silvery-white metal

–   Only small Mg++ gradients(generally a factor of 2 or less) are reported across the plasma or intracellular membranes.

Mg amounts are highest in bones (65%), teeth, heart and brain

The many functions of Mg inside the body

Mg is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and amino acids, for the functions of muscles and nerves and for the formation of bones and teeth

regulate energy production, storage and utilization

Mg – Cell “Battery”/ATP Production

“Without magnesium there is no energy, no movement, no life.”

- Dr. Carol Dean, author “The Magnesium Miracle”

Most ATP molecules that regulate energy production, storage and utilization are bound to Mg to be able to function

–   Mg is required in the mitochondrial respiration cycle (during oxidative phosporylation and anaerobic metabolism of glucose) - to provide cellular energy and maintain the cell “battery”(effective electrochemical gradients across the cell membrane).

Alghamdi SMG, Cameron EC, Sutton RAL,:Magnesium deficiency - pathophysiologic and clinical overview, Am J Kidney Dis 24:737, 1994

–   Mg-enhanced efficiency of energy-burning cycle during exercise does not lead to lactic acid production and buildup

–   Mg replenishment is an important in the treatment of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia


Mg regulates calcium

Adequate Mg is essential for calcium absorption and metabolism

Mg - Regulates Calcium

–   Mg is natures calcium channel blocker – by preventing too much calcium entering into cells causing their death , which is linked to symptoms in heart disease, asthma, headaches

–   Mg converts Vitamin D into its active form to assist calcium absorption

Mg - Activates Vitamin D

–    Mg keeps calcium dissolved in blood - prevents kidney stones, and calcium deposits in other soft tissues in the body where they should not be (E.g. in joints, arteries, brain)

Mg Prevents soft tissue calcification

–    Mg affects calcium utilization in bones and teeth – those who understand the Mg-Ca partnership realize that Western diets supply more than adequate calcium for healthy/strong bone and teeth, and that it is actually a relative Mg-deficiency that is causing osteoporosis and calcium-deficient teeth.

Mg is a natural muscle relaxant

Mg - Muscle Relaxant


Mg maintains calcium levels in cell cytoplasm for muscle control

Mg - Regulates Calcium

–   Mg dilates blood vessels

Magnesium relaxes blood vessels in the fingers to treat Raynaud's syndrome.

Mg levels correlate with the ability to avoid HBP


Mg helps to transmit nerve signals

Mg –Calms Nerves

–   Mg stabilizes abnormal nerve excitation and blood vessel spasms - by preventing excessive calcium build-up inside cells, and via its role in providing cellular energy


Mg is one of the bodys major alkalizing minerals

Mg - Alkalizing Agent


Mg is involved in detoxification of the body

E.g. pesticides, heavy metals

Mg - Detoxifies Heavy Metals/Other toxins


Mg is an important neuro-protectant


Mg is required for protein synthesis

E.g. muscle-building;

Mg needed to maintain hormonal balance

Crucial to maintaining health

Mg –Hormonal balance

–   Mg is needed for cholesterol synthesis  - this “mother”of all hormones, produced in the adrenal cortex, is a prerequisite for hormones:

✔ALDOSTERONE - regulates the balance of salt and water in the body.

DHEA - prohormone for all steroid hormones. E.g. PROGESTERONE, Testosterone;

–    CORTISOL - Stress hormone; Mg is the ultimate stress management nutrient;




â–² Mg is necessary for production, function and transport of INSULIN - thus preventing INSULIN-resistance /Type 2 diabetes


▲ Without magnesium, INSULIN can not open the cell pathways that allow glucose to enter a cell

â–²  Normal healthy processing of blood sugar requires a proper balance of calcium and magnesium inside cells - an excess of calcium promotes INSULIN-resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes and implicated in cancer;

- SEROTONIN - Mg levels affect mood/emotions


–   Magnesium status controls uptake and release of many hormones, nutrients and neurotransmitters - concludes recent research in France and several other European countries. It accomplishes this via its role in maintaining a healthy cell membrane potential (Cell “battery”level).


–    Mg is crucial to the transmission of:

▲  Hormones: E.g. INSULIN, thyroid hormones, estrogens, Testosterone, DHEA;


▲  Neurotransmitters: E.g. DOPAMINE, catecholamines, SEROTONIN, GABA;


Mg needed to activate 300+ enzymes

Mg - 300+ Enzymes


Some examples of these enzymes are for:

✔ New bone growth

✔ Conversion of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids into prostaglandins-localized cell messengers extremely necessary for maintaining;

✔ Activation of Thiamine(Vitamin B1) - Mg is required for the binding of thiamine to thiamine-using enzymes within the cell;

✔ Control of digestion, absorption, and for the utilization of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates

Mg has roles with DNA

Most Mg inside the cell nucleus is closely connected with nucleic acids and mononucleotides (structural units of RNA and DNA).

–   Mg helps maintain structural integrity of DNA - involved in both synthesis and degradation of this nucleic acid


✔  Binding ribosomes to RNA

✔ Synthesis of adenine nucleotides (part of the “rungs”in the DNA double helix);


Mg has a role in preventing expression of obesity genes

Cholesterol metabolism

–   Lowering LDL cholesterol - a sufficiency of Mg limits cholesterol to its beneficial functions, such as hormone production and membrane integrity.

–   Raising HDL cholesterol - French scientists discovered that Mg-deficient animal had reduced activity of the enzyme LCAT (Lecithin-cholesterol-acyl-transferase) that changes LDL into HDL cholesterol. Mg is a necessary cofactor for LCAT in animals and humans.

–   Mg-deficiency allows uncontrolled cholesterol production - Mg, as part of Mg-ATP complex, deactivates the rate-limiting enzyme HMG-CoA-reductase, which is required in the initial step of the cholesterol production process, to convert HMG-CoA to a mevalonate (a fatty acid derivative). With sufficient Mg, this enzyme and therefore the crucial first step towards producing cholesterol is inhibited.

–   A Mg deficiency allows a higher cholesterol production - and its deleterious consequences as part of atherosclerotic plaque

–   Cholesterol for steroid hormone and vitamin D production can be initiated via other pathways - inactivated HMG-CoA-reductase can be reactivated by other enzymes using other minerals (some of these enzymes also use Mg).

–   Mg also lowers blood triglycerides

Dramatic results of Mg supplementation in 18 human studies

Total Cholesterol ▼ 6-23%

LDL cholesterol ▼ 10-18%

Triglycerides ▼ 10-42%

HDL ▲  4-11%

–   6 other studies had negative results, but in each, their methodology was flawed -

• 3 used a crossover design suitable for testing drugs, but not nutrients

• 1 used subjects with familial hypercholesterolemia - a genetic condition not responsive to Mg

• 2 studies were with Type I diabetics, which increases loss of Mg in urine


Mg involved in signaling between cells

Mg is needed for production of intracellular second messengers. These are molecules that relay and amplify signals from receptors on the cell surface to target molecules inside the cell E.g. cAMP


Magnesium for Metabolism

Mg is important for metabolism of Ca, K, P, Zn, Cu, Fe, Na, Pb, Cd, HCl, ACETYLCHOLINE, and NITRIC OXIDE (NO)

–    Mg determines body's potassium levels - If Mg is insufficient potassium will be lost in the urine


Mg - Cellular and food metabolism

–   Mg maintains the permeability, flexibility and stability of membranes -by wearing its different “hats”:


(1) Affecting >300 enzymes

(2) Aiding ion transport across cell membranes

(3) Being involvedin fatty acid and phospholipid metabolism, it's easy to realize that Mg deficiency would lead to a weakening of the cell membrane, thereby setting the stage for infection of the cell.


Cell membrane integrity / Prevent Infection of Cell

Mg required for production of body's major antioxidant

Mg - Antioxidant Glutathione synthesis


Mg is anti-inflammatory

Mg - Anti-Inflammatory


Some references

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