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Why Magnesium Is So Important

Calcium gets more headlines, but magnesium is more important. Bones contain 60%, muscle cells 26% and the rest is in fluids and soft tissue cells. It has a important role in protein formation, cellular replication, energy production for brain, liver, kidney and heart. Magnesium is the activator of the sodium-potassium pump (sodium out of cells and potassium in) which plays a big role in blood pressure stabilization. Did you know that magnesium is refered to as "nature's calcium channel blocker"? It is able to block calcium from entering heart muscle cells and vascular smooth muscles. Too much calcium in these areas can cause fatty plaque to harden, which is called atherosclerosis. This increases your chances of heart disease and a heart attack. The proper amount of daily magnesium can help lower blood pressure, better working heart and reduce vascular resistance. Supplementation might be the answer for you if you are not getting enough magnesium from your food.

People consume less magnesium then daily required (male 350mg and female 280mg) from food choices. The common fruit is low in magnesium:

Apple (medium) 9mg

Banana (medium) 31mg

Orange (large) 18mg

Strawberries (1 cup) 18mg

Raspberries (1 cup) 27mg

Blueberries (1 cup) 9mg

Meat is low in magnesium:

Chicken (3.5oz) 23mg

Beef ((3.5oz) 21mg

Pork (3.5oz) 28mg

Ways to get higher magnesium through food are snacks with raw almonds (1oz=80mg) or Brazil nuts (1oz=107mg) with coconut meat (1oz=25mg) and dried apricots (1oz=17mg).

Add wheat bran (1oz=174mg) or wheat germ (1oz=104mg) to your morning oatmeal. Substitute brown rice (1/2 cup=43mg) if you are a white rice eater.

Sprinkle Brewer's yeast (1oz=66mg) on top of vegetables for a cheesy taste.

Add shrimp (3.5oz=51mg) to that BBQ steak.

Certain health conditions use magnesium supplementation as an effective treatment:


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Congestive Heart Failure

High Blood Pressure

Diabetes and Hypoglycemia

Low HDL (good cholesterol) Levels




Kidney Stones


Hearing Loss

Premenstrual Syndrome

With lower levels of magnesium in the body, there is a higher susceptibility to cancer, insomnia, PMS, heart disease, high blood pressure and kidney stones. The signs of magnesium deficiency are fatigue, mental confusion, poor nerve conduction, muscle cramps, insomnia, weakness and poor muscle contractions. Counting nutrients is better than counting calories, if you are looking to be healthy and keeping your body in balance.


Murray, Michael T, N.D. Encylopedia of Nutritional Supplements: The Essential Guide for Improving Your Health Naturally. Three Rivers Press. New York: 1996.

Welton PK and Klag, Magnesium and blood pressure: Review of the epidemiologic and clinical trial experience. Am J Cardiol 63, 26G-30G, 1989.

Friedlander HS, Fatigue as a presenting symptom: Management in general practice. Curr Ther Res 4, 441-449, 1962.

Piesse JW, Nutritional factors in the premenstrual syndrome. Int Clin Nutr Rev 4, 54-81, 1984.

Hicks JT, Treatment of fatigue in general practice: A double blind study. Clin Med Jan, 85-90, 1964

Lindberg JS, et al., Magnesium bioavailability from magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide. J Am Coll Nutr 9, 48-55, 1990.

Altura BM, Ischemic heart disease and magnesium. Magnesium 7 57-67, 1988.

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