Magnesium and Its Role in Metabolism

Magnesium is the great “The stress-fighting energy stabilizer.” Functionally, it stabilizes the phosphate in Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) which affects all tissues due to ubiquitous energy demands.

Magnesium is directly involved with all muscle and nerve action.  It provides a cofactor for carbohydrate and protein metabolism.  Magnesium increases the absorption of calcium, activates vitamin D, aids in parathyroid function (reducing bone breakdown), and helps the hormone calcitonin to increased calcium absorption.  In addition, it is key to the production of the important endogenous antioxidant glutathione.

Magnesium 101

  1. Magnesium is the 4th most abundant positively charged mineral in the human body with half contained in the bones and the remainder found in soft tissues.  The highest concentration is found in the skeletal muscles followed by the liver, heart and pancreas.
  2. It is a key element in cellular metabolism, whereby the higher the metabolic rate of the cell, the higher its magnesium requirement.
  3. Magnesium is involved with many vital enzyme systems throughout the body, where its positive charge stimulates enzyme reactions – over 300 in all and even stabilizes DNA and RNA.
    • It has an important role in glutathione synthesis where glutathione exists in both reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) states. Glutathione is important as it is used in metabolic and biochemical reactions such as DNA synthesis and repair, protein synthesis, prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid transport and enzyme activation.
    • Magnesium regulators include the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, whereby increased metabolic activity increases the need for magnesium to keep pace.
      • A faster thyroid and adrenal gland requires more magnesium.  When the adrenal glands are working overtime, they can trigger increased magnesium excretion; whereby increased magnesium intake will help slow down this hyperactivity.
      • Increased parathyroid activity amplifies the intestinal absorption of calcium causing the kidneys to resorb it.  When the parathyroid gland becomes overactive it causes a relative magnesium deficiency and if the parathyroid is underactive a magnesium deficiency also results.  The magnesium regulation is based on a balance of thyroid and parathyroid opposition.
    • Magnesium is known to protect against emotional stress which depletes it; as does alcohol consumption, over-training, pregnancy, breast-feeding, certain medications and frequent infections.
  4. Good food sources of magnesium include whole grains, nuts, legumes, molasses and brewer’s yeast.  Magnesium is a constituent of green chlorophyll so leafy green vegetables may be good a source depending on your BioCorrect Nutrition™ Analysis results.

The Calcium and Magnesium Relationship

The balance between calcium and magnesium controls the release of many hormones.  As an example; excess calcium forces magnesium levels to decrease, which increases insulin production and causes hypoglycemia.  Alternatively, when magnesium is in excess; calcium levels fall leading to hyperglycemia.  Blood sugar regulation is not just about sugar intake.

  1. Medications: many medications can interfere with calcium absorption including drugs that combat convulsion such as phenobarbital, antacids containing aluminum hydroxide, and cortisone.
  2. Foods: Rhubarb, spinach, chard, greens, grains and cereals can adversely affect one’s calcium absorption because they contain oxalic and phytic acids which bind calcium in the digestive tract which decreases absorption.
  3. Disease: malabsorption diseases causing diarrhea can impair calcium absorption, as can gastrointestinal surgeries, kidney disease, diabetes and alcoholism.

Magnesium Synergists

Minerals: Calcium, chromium, potassium, manganese, zinc
Vitamins: A, B3, B1, B2, C and E are all synergistic to calcium if not taken in excess.

Note: A little too much of these nutrients can have an antagonistic effect on each other and this will differ between individuals.

Magnesium Antagonists

Minerals: Calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, manganese, cadmium, and lead.
Vitamins: B1, B6, B10, B12, D, C and E

Note: Vitamin D increases calcium retention which increases magnesium bioavailability.

Effects, Symptoms and Diseases from Magnesium Deficiencies

  1. A cardinal sign of alcoholism.
  2. Hyper-aldosteronism or too much salt retaining aldosterone.
  3. Hypercalcemia, hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis, renal disease, side effect of medications.
  4. Symptoms and conditions can include muscular twitching and cramping (a muscle cell contracts when calcium enters the muscle cell. The appearance of calcium causes magnesium to build up in the cell until the concentration of magnesium is high enough to push calcium from the cell, allowing the muscles to relax.
    • If the magnesium concentration is inadequate, some calcium will remain in the cell causing the muscle to remain in a slightly contracted state leading to muscle cramps with the slightest exertion.
      • This happens often in athletes where the hands and feet are particularly prone to cramps at night.
    • Other symptoms include insomnia, depression, constipation, arrhythmias, irritability, hypertension, refractory hypokalemia, diabetes type II, cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction, convulsions, poor growth, short temper, anxiety, hyper-irritability, inability to concentrate, apathy, hyperactive children, increased perspiration and foul body odor, hyper-reflexia, excessive soft tissue calcium buildup causing arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, ligamentous brittleness, gallstones, calcium phosphate, kidney stones (agonizing), bladder tension so that it cannot relax completely leading to frequent urination, constipation due to muscular constriction causing poor peristalsis, toxic shock syndrome triggered by tampons, insomnia, epilepsy, seizure disorders, PMS, and much more, which all respond by increasing magnesium and B6 intake.
    • Associated diseases and symptoms may include atherosclerosis, arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome, diabetes, lipid disorders, arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarction, eclampsia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hormonal imbalances, immune regulation, and blood sugar disorders.

Magnesium, Sodium and Potassium

  1. Magnesium affects the balance between the extracellular and intracellular fluids by influencing sodium and potassium.
    • Potassium normalization within the cell is dependent upon magnesium, as potassium drawn into cells and sodium is pumped out when enough magnesium is present.  Magnesium deficiency can therefore lead to increased sodium and fluid retention causing edema.

Note: Magnesium is synergistic with protein formation and folic acid utilization which increases the increases the need for magnesium.

Effects, Symptoms and Diseases of Magnesium Excess

  1. Addison Disease (reduced aldosterone)
  2. Hypothyroidism
  3. Renal failure
  4. Medications
  5. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
  6. Osteoporosis (hair), osteopenia

As you look at the interaction of magnesium with other minerals and vitamins, you may be starting to see that one must think outside the conventional wisdom, “You are what you eat.”  It’s really all about the patterns of all nutrients retained, and not so much a singular element out of order which can be addressed by adding a single supplement.

The BioCorrect Nutrition™ Analysis is a medically-proven, clinical laboratory test that measures 36 key minerals and toxic metals in a person’s hair to determine which minerals are in excess and which are deficient. With those test results; a personalized food and supplement plan can be designed to safely biocorrect each person’s unique biochemistry into metabolic balance by eliminating the excesses and building up the deficiencies.

Stop the Guesswork… It’s In Your BNA!

Suggested Reading:
1. Tefft, GH. Your Personal Life. Westlake Village, CA: Angel Mind, 2006
2. Tefft, GH. For Your Body Only: Discover the Diet You Were Born to Eat. Dragon Door Publications, 2003
3. Watts, D.L. “Commonly Asked Questions About Hair Mineral Analysis.” US: Trace Elements, 1999
4. Watts, D.L. Trace Elements and Other Essential Nutrients. T.E.I., 1995.

These statements have not been directly evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease as a substitution for standard medical care.

2018-08-07T19:51:07+00:00By |Metabolism, Minerals and Disease|

About the Author:

Dr. Greg Tefft, Board Certified Naturopath (A.N.M.A.), Doctorate in Chiropractics (L.A.C.C./S.C.U.) and Triple-Crown Natural Mr. America is “America’s Leader in Personalized Nutrition.” Dr. Tefft is a best-selling author, pioneered the lab-guided, personalized nutrition system at Malibu Health and Rehab in the 80’s and 90’s, member of the 1984 Olympic Team Sports Medicine Staff, and is the co-founder and Chief Science Officer (CSO) of BioCorrect Nutrition.

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