Importance of magnesium in the body:
– Necessary to support the functioning of 700–800 enzyme systems
– Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy molecules are made in the mitochondria via the Krebs cycle. Six of the eight steps in that cycle depend on magnesium.
– Magnesium deficiency is emerging as a key factor in chronic disease
Most of the body’s magnesium is stored in bone (55–60%) and the intracellular compartments of muscle (20%) and soft tissues (20%).
Only around 1% of total body magnesium is in the extracellular fluid. So a blood test for magnesium poorly reflects total body status.
To maintain proper magnesium levels requires a balanced diet that may include green vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, as well as some meats and seafood.
If we consider the declining nutrient content of the soil and increasingly poor diets high in refined carbs, sugar and convenience-foods, most of the developed world has become deficient in magnesium compared to 50 years ago.
Most foods grown today are deficient in magnesium, as well as other minerals. Therefore getting enough may not simply be a matter of eating magnesium-rich foods.
Magnesium is ‘farmed-out’ of the soil, and is therefore in less quantities in the plant-based foods. Herbicides, like glyphosate also act as chelators, effectively blocking the uptake and utilization of minerals in so many foods grown today. As a result, it can be quite difficult to find magnesium-rich foods. Cooking and processing further depletes magnesium.
Excess caffeine, alcohol, excess calcium, excess sugar and refined carbohydrates, menopause, aging, prescription drugs, lack of or excess Vitamin D, and a compromised digestive system can all interfere with the absorption and distribution of magnesium.
If you supplement with magnesium, you need to consider calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as well, since these all work synergistically together. Excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead to heart problems and other conditions.
Lack of balance between these four nutrients is one of the reasons why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, and why some people experience vitamin D toxicity.
Research on the Paleolithic or caveman diet has shown that the ratio of calcium to magnesium in the diet that our bodies evolved to eat is 1-to-1. It is estimated that many people tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1. Such a high ratio is likely to compromise one’s health.
One way to improve your magnesium level is to take regular Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can absorb into your body through your skin. Magnesium oil can also be used for topical application and absorption.
Seriously consider your own regular diet and determine for yourself if you think you are consuming sufficient magnesium, and not having too much calcium. Also don’t forget your vitamin D and K2 levels. You may also want to talk to your doctor about it, if you have a doctor who understands the subject sufficiently.
Energy ATP and Magnesium
ATP, or Adenosine triphosphate, is the fuel or energy our mitochondrial cells produce, and it has three main functions:
1. transporting substances between cell membranes, including sodium, calcium and potassium
2. synthesis of chemical compounds, including protein and cholesterol
3. an energy source for mechanical work, like muscle use
As ATP is critical for life our body can produce it using several methods:
– anaerobic catabolism of glucose that converts a molecule of glucose into two molecules of pyruvic acid and two molecules of ATP
– 26 out of 30 molecules of ATP generated from glucose are produced through oxidative phosphorylation. In oxidative phosphorylation, ATP is produced when electrons flow from chemicals known as NADH or FADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and flavin adenine dinucleotide respectively) to oxygen
– Beta oxidation which converts lipids into energy. Part of this process produces ATP
– Aerobic respiration which uses glucose to produce ATP. It produces 17 times more ATP than anaerobic respiration
What is the primary co-factor for every ATP dependent reaction in our body? Answer is magnesium.
So make sure adequate magnesium is part of your nutritional program.