Magnesium and calcium are both electrically active minerals. Each atom of the minerals can donate two electrons and have a 2+ positive electric charge. Sodium and potassium can donate one electron and have a 1+ positive charge. This energy provides molecules within our cells or on the exterior surface power to perform chemical reactions - or to prevent them from happening.
Ion channels that cross the cell membrane can be opened in various ways, and selectively allow only certain chemicals to enter the cell, such as calcium. Magnesium from the inside of the cell helps to keep the ion channel closed. With inadequate supplies of magnesium in the cell, the ion channels can't be kept closed as well. If too much calcium and other stimulating chemicals enter the cell then the cell can become overactivated to the point of cell death.
To have adequate supplies of magnesium within cells, any extra has to be held in an electrically inactive form. Protein transport chemicals or molecules of ATP can hold atoms of magnesium. ATP is the molecule that provides cells with energy from the mitochondria burning glucose for energy with Citric Acid Cycle, which requires magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and other nutrients (more on that in the next section).
Poor intestinal absorption of magnesium can be a problem that leads to deficiency. People with kidney problems may lose excessive amounts of magnesium and might benefit from a 400 mg supplement three times per day. Taking excessive magnesium in one dose is not helpful as the electrically active mineral causes relaxation of smooth muscle cells and rapid watery loose bowel movements can occur and possibly for the next 24 hours. Epsom salt baths or foot-soaks can be a topical way to get magnesium and sulfate.
For food and supplement sources see the post: To have optimal Magnesium needs Protein and Phospholipids too.
Magnesium is an electrically active mineral with complex metabolism, linked with vitamin D and Parathyroid Hormone. The blood level of magnesium will also be effected by and may effect the blood levels of potassium and calcium. Since magnesium is electrically active the body has to store extra supplies on transport chemicals. Magnesium is primarily found within cells, and most is bound to proteins or phospholipids (such as adenosine triphosphate, ATP) rather than as free ions. The level of magnesium found within blood plasma or other extracellular fluid is kept within a narrow range, along with the levels of potassium, calcium, and other electrolytes.
Just taking a supplement doesn’t always get magnesium to the problem area of the body. As a supplement, not all forms of magnesium can cross the blood brain barrier to help with migraines or other brain injuries.(1) Also more people than is realized may have poor intestinal absorption of magnesium so any dietary source may not be very helpful - because it isn't getting into the blood stream. Magnesium sulfate and magnesium chloride have been found helpful for being able to cross the blood brain barrier and protect the brain (1), and both can be used topically in lotions, sprays, or in a bath or foot-soak. This bypasses problems with poor absorption in the digestive system as the magnesium in a hydrated form can be absorbed through skin pores. The Epsom Salt, magnesium sulfate, may be better absorbed topically than the magnesium chloride, though many individuals find both helpful.(3) The sulfate is also beneficial for extracellular structure and cartilage and joint tissue.
For more information and the Reference List, see: To have optimal Magnesium needs Protein and Phospholipids too.
Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
Magnesium is a trace mineral essential for 80% of body function, (muscular contractions, energy production, removal of infected or precancerous cells, etc). It is used in over 300 enzymes required for metabolism and other chemical reactions in the body such as synthesis of DNA or proteins. (1)
Jennifer Depew, R.D.
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