It is vital to make sure that your body receives the proper amount of minerals and nutrients every day. This is especially important as you age. One of these important minerals is magnesium. If your body is lacking magnesium or you become deficient there are common disorders that can occur, especially as you become older.
Why Magnesium is Important
Magnesium is an essential mineral for the body’s nutrition. It helps to maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps the heartbeat at a steady pace, supports a healthy immune system, and helps bones to remain strong. Magnesium also helps aid in the production of energy and protein and to help regulate blood glucose levels. Without magnesium the body could not have the chemical reactions that produce energy. This means that it is essential for both energy and metabolism production.
The Role it Plays in The Body
The normal adult body will contain around 25 g of magnesium. About 50 – 60 % of this is present in the bones and the rest is in soft tissues. There is less than 1% of total magnesium within the blood serum. Normal serum levels have concentrations that range between .075 and .095 millimoles.
Magnesium is necessary for the formation of teeth and bone. It is also necessary for normal nerve and muscle function. Many enzymes within the body depend on this in order to function normally.
Magnesium plays a vital role with supporting and maintaining the body’s bone health. Magnesium helps to stimulate calcitonin, which helps to regulate the amount of calcium within building bone. By taking the proper amount of magnesium you will have a greater bone mass.
If you struggle with sleeping, it can help improve your sleep cycle. Magnesium is necessary for melatonin to function properly and to facilitate sleep.
The feel good hormone serotonin also needs magnesium in order to help maintain a balanced mood and proper nervous system function.
Magnesium helps to boost levels of free testosterone within men. Free testosterone is responsible for a man’s sexual traits.
The recommended daily dose of magnesium for men ages 31 years and older is 420 mg.
Women that are nearing the age of menopause or are already there may benefit from magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to help with depression, anxiety, PMS symptoms, and headaches. Many of these are symptoms that women can experience during menopause.
The recommended daily dose of magnesium for women ages 31 years and older is 320 mg.
Metabolism and Aging
As you age your magnesium intake can be affected by one of three ways: dietary, the body, and lifestyle choices. The average diet of an elderly individual usually consists of more carbohydrates and less proteins and fats than when they were younger. When you ingest low amounts of protein this is often associated with negative magnesium balance.
Research shows that long-term magnesium deficiency can accelerate the aging of human cells. This can initiate chronic and age-related diseases such as osteoporosis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. As you age the body’s ability to absorb and store magnesium decreases.
A deficiency in magnesium if left unresolved, will cause the organs to age, which can increase your risk for developing different diseases.
Common Disorders that Can Occur
It can be difficult to identify and determine disorders from the signs and symptoms solely due to magnesium depletion. Usually, a magnesium balance issue is linked closely to that of calcium and potassium regulation. Thusly, an issue with magnesium levels within the body can manifest in multiple and sometimes subtle ways.
Hypomagnesemia is a disorder that occurs when the magnesium concentration is below the normal range. This can result in disturbances in nearly all organ systems within the body. It can also potentially cause fatal complications.
Hypocalcemia is among one of the most common forms of severe hypomagnesemia.
Hypokalemia has been reported to occur within more than half of diagnosed cases of hypomagnesemia. This is when the magnesium deficiency exacerbates potassium wasting by increasing distal potassium secretion. Thus not only being caused due to a decline in magnesium levels, but usually an increase in distal sodium delivery or elevated aldosterone levels.
Magnesium homeostasis can occur in instances of depletion. Bone is the principle extracellular reservoir that can help with magnesium loss. Unfortunately, bone does not actively release magnesium into the extracellular compartment. This then leaves the body vulnerable to slight changes in magnesium levels and the body is left reliant upon the kidneys to help maintain proper levels. Thus putting extra work and load on the kidneys.
Other disorders that can occur due to a depletion of magnesium are:
- Cardiac abnormalities
- Neuromuscular abnormalities
- Secondary electric abnormalities
Chronic low magnesium has been associated with the following chronic diseases:
- Coronary heart disease
There is still ongoing research in the role that magnesium plays with preventing and managing disorders such as mentioned above. While not all doctors recommend taking magnesium supplements, making sure to keep a diet with leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and other foods high in magnesium will help to keep your levels from depletion.