What is magnesium? Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal, the eighet most abundant mineral found in the earth´s crust. Because of its ready solubility in water, after sodium and chloride. In the human body, magnesium is the elevent most plentiful element by mass-measuring about two ounces. Most magnesium contained in the body is found in the skeleton and teeth-at least 60 to 65 percent of the total. Nearly the entire remaining amount resides in muscle tissues and cells, while only one percent is contained in our blood.
The importance of magnesium ions for all life itself, as well as for overall vibrant health, is hard to overstate. Magnesium is required to give the "spark of life" to metabolic functions involving the creation of energy and its transport (ATP, the body´s fundamental energy currency), and the creation of proteins - the nucleic acid chemistry of life - RNA and DNA, in all known living organisms. In plants, a magnesium ion is found at the center of every chlorophyll molecule, vital for the creation of energy form sunlight. Magnesium is an essential element for both animals and plants, involved in literally hundreds of enzymatic reactions affecting virtually all aspects of life.
Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well-functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellural magnesium sufficiency. Soft tissue containing the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body included the brain and the heart - two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency.
Magnesium works in concert with calcium to regulate electrical impulses in the cell - magnesium concentration inside healthy cells is ten thousand times greater than calcium, and there are crucial reasons for this safeguard. Cellular calcium channels allow that mineral to enter the cell only as long as needed to conduct an impulse; it is ushered out immediately by magnesium once its task is fulfilled. This vigilance is necessary to prevent calcium accumulation in the cell, which could cause dangerous hyper-excitability, calcification, cell dysfunction and even cell death. When excess calcium entres the cells because of insufficient magnesium, muscle contraction is sustained for too long, and we suffer, for example, twitches and tics in mild cases. When magnesium deficiency becomes chronic, we suffer the symptoms of heart disease such as angina pectoris, hypertension and arrhytmia, or the spasms and contractions characteristic of asthma, migraine headache or painful menstrual cramping.
Magnesium operates as a natural calcium channel blocker and is responsible for relaxation - counter to calcium´s contraction. Thus magnesium is pivotally important to the healthy functioning of our parasympathetic nervous system. It may be hard to believe, but our bodies were actually designed to operate for the most part in a calm, relaxed parasympathetic state, rather than in the heart-pounding, stress- and adrenaline-driven mode of sympathetic nervous system dominance that is nearly constant for many of us today, and which usses up great quantities of magnesium.
Magnesium is so important to so many vital body functions, and its deficiency is integrally involved in so many diseases, that more than one reasercher has dubbed magnesium a miracle in its ability to resolve or improve numerous disorders. The current list of disorders with direct and confirmed relationships to chronic and acute magnesium deficiency is long, and includes many diseases whose conventional medical treatment does not commonly address magnesium insufficiency (see below). Ongoing reasearchpromises to uncover further associations between magnesium deficiency and other illnesses.
Is magnesium deficiency endemic?
Unfortunately, it is difficult to reliably supply our bodies with sufficient magnesium, even from a good, balanced whole foods diet. First of all, modern agricultural methods favor the universal use of nPK fertilizers (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Both potassium and phosphorus are antagonists of magnesium in the soil, and on calcareous soils create a relative magnesium deficiency (the magnesium presents is bound and therefore unavailable to the crop). On sandy or loamy soils that are slightly acid, an actual magnesium deficiency often exists, as the magnesium leaches from the soil and is also unavailable to the crop. This leaching also occurs in response to acid rain. Magnesium, in fact, is one of the most depleted minerals in farm soils. To add insult to injury, new plant hybrids are continually introduced that have been bred to survive on these mineral-depleted soils. Of course, when mineral-depleted crops are eaten by animals or by us, they will sooner or later cause disease. Even though organically raised crops should be a better bet nutritionally, this isn´t always the case, and it pays in terms of your health to learn how your farmer replenishes the minerals on his fields.
"Do you know that most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which can not be remedied until depleted soils from which our food comes are brought back into proper mineral balance? The alarming fact is that foods (fruits, vegetables, grains) now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us-no matter how much of them we eat. .....TO BE CONTINUED....
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