[Calcium&Magnesium Episode 3] To those who took care of calcium but neglected magnesium | Dr. Esther Lyuh

[Calcium&Magnesium Episode 3] To those who took care of calcium but neglected magnesium | Dr. Esther Lyuh

Dec 14, 2022eunkyulPark

Magnesium is underrated

Magnesium is just as important as calcium.

An underestimated mineral that is just as important as calcium is magnesium. Magnesium is the mineral that gave life to our planet. This is because the leaves of plants photosynthesize through chlorophyll, and the key mineral that composes this chlorophyll is magnesium. Without magnesium, plants and animals would not be able to thrive as they do today.

Calcium-magnesium is a needle and thread, a mineral couple

Magnesium and calcium always move together like a thread following a needle. Calcium and magnesium are a mineral couple that act in opposite ways (antagonism), just like sodium and potassium.  For example, calcium induces the excitation of neurons, whereas magnesium induces inhibition. Calcium causes constipation, but magnesium causes diarrhea. Commonly known side effects of calcium are problems even if you eat a lot of calcium, but they also appear when you eat less magnesium, which inhibits the action of calcium.

So what is the most stable ratio of the two?

Arteriosclerosis and kidney stones, known side effects of calcium supplements, are also related to magnesium deficiency. Conversely, if you consume too much magnesium, you may develop a calcium deficiency even if you consume an adequate amount of calcium. After all, the right proportions are important. Calcium and magnesium are known to be most stable when present in a ratio of 2 to 1.  Actual concentrations in human blood are 2.2 to 2.6 mmol/L for calcium and 0.65 to 1.05 mmol/L for magnesium, which is twice as high as calcium. Most mineral formulations are also formulated with a 2-to-1 ratio of calcium and magnesium. The important thing is that the rest of the emphasis on calcium should not be deficient in magnesium.

Nickname Magnesium, what is his role...?

Magnesium acts as a coenzyme that helps more than 300 enzymes that control metabolism perform their functions. That's why it has many nicknames. It is also called a 'natural sedative' because it calms the nerves and a 'natural cholesterol lowering agent' because it lowers cholesterol levels.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency

A lack of magnesium can cause a variety of symptoms. Loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, numbness in limbs and muscle spasms appear, and premenstrual syndrome in women may worsen.  In severe cases, epileptic seizures, arrhythmias, and coronary artery spasms can be life-threatening. Frequent twitching of the eyelids or lower facial muscles, or frequent twitching of the limbs may be due to magnesium deficiency. In this case, magnesium supplements are a good remedy.

So what are the health benefits of magnesium?

So, what are the benefits of magnesium in the human body? A meta-analysis of 22 papers by the European Society of Clinical Nutrition (Eur J Clin Nutr) in 2012 found that magnesium lowered blood pressure levels by 2 to 4 mmHg. According to a 2010 study by the American Heart Association (Am heart J) over a 12-year period, people with magnesium blood levels of 0.88 mmol/L or higher had a 38% lower risk of sudden cardiac death than those with 0.75 mmol/L. A 2011 American Society of Clinical Nutrition (Am J Clin Nutr) study also observed 88,000 American female nurses for 26 years. In a 2012 meta-analysis of 7 papers and 240,000 people by the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, 100 mg of supplemental magnesium per day reduced stroke by 8%. In two meta-analyses (J Intern Med 2007, Arch Intern med 2007), 100 mg magnesium supplementation per day reduced the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 15-23%. In addition, in a study published in the J of Am Geriat Societ in 2005, 2,038 elderly people aged 70 to 79 showed improvement in bone density after prescribing magnesium.

But let's not jump to conclusions

However, these findings are all observational studies with low causal proof values. Randomized clinical studies are needed, but there are still few research results targeting magnesium. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude that magnesium intake can prevent adult diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Esther Lyuh, Doctor of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University

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