All human tissues contain small amounts of magnesium. The Adult human body contains about 25 gms. of this mineral. The greater part of this amount is present in bones in combination with phosphate and carbonate. Bone ashes contain less than one per cent magnesium. About one-fifty of the total magnesium in the body is present in the soft tissues, where it is mainly bound to protein. Next to potassium, magnesium is the predominant metallic action in living cells. The bones seem to provide a reserve supply of this mineral in case of shortage elsewhere in the body.
Biochemists call magnesium the " cool, alkaline, refreshing, sleep-promoting mineral".Magnesium helps one keep calm and cool during the sweltering summer months. It aids in keeping nerves relaxed and normally balanced. It is necessary for all muscular activity. This mineral is in activator for most of the enzyme system involving carbohydrate, fat and protein in energy-producing reactions. It is involved in the production of lecithin which prevents building up of cholesterol and consequent atheros-clerosis. Magnesium promotes a healthier cardiovascular system and aids in fighting depression. It helps prevent calcium deposits in kidneys and gallstones and also brings relief from indigestion.
Magnesium is widely distributed in foods. It is a part of the chlorophyll in green vegetables. Other good sources of this mineral are nuts, soyabeans, alfalfa, apples, figs, lemons, peaches, almonds, whole grains, brown rice, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. The recommended dietary allowances for magnesium are 350 mg. per day for adult man, 300 mg. for women and 450 mg. during pregnancy and lactation. Deficiency can lead to kidney damage and kidney stones, muscle cramps, arteriosclerosis, heart attack, epileptic seizures, nervous irritability, marked depression and confusion, impaired protein metabolism and premature wrinkles.
Chronic alcoholics often show a low plasma magnesium concentration and a high urinary output.They may, therefore, require magnesium therapy especially in an acute attack of delirium tremens. Magnesium has also proved useful in bladder and urinary problems and in epileptic seizure. This mineral together with vitamin B6 or pyridoxine has also been found effective in the prevention and treatment of kidney stones. Magnesium can be taken in therapeutic doses upto 700 mg. a day.