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Cell functions, deficiencies, food sources, and types of supplements

Magnesium is an essential cofactor in many enzymatic reactions and performs various cellular physiological functions. This mineral is abundant in the Earth's crust, but it is often absent.

Its effect is opposite to that of calcium, and a deficiency of magnesium in the blood (called hypomagnesemia) can often lead to Chronic fatigueneuromuscular or cardiac and neurological disorders.

Magnesium in the Earth's crust and seawater

Magnesium is the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust. It is mainly found in mineral deposits, for example in the form of magnesite (magnesium carbonate (MgCO3)) and dolomite.

However, the most abundant source of bioavailable magnesium is the hydrosphere (i.e. oceans and rivers). In the world, the concentration of magnesium is 55 mmol per liter and, in the world, to prendre an extremely large concentration, the concentration is 198 mmol of magnesium in a liter of water and an increased dosage in the afternoon. the time.

Magnesium in plants and animals

Magnesium plays a vital role in plants and animals. In plants, magnesium is the central ion chlorophyllWhich allows plants to do this Photosynthesis(1).

Magnesium is the central component of chlorophyll
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In vertebrates, magnesium is the fourth most abundant cation. It is essential, especially inside our cells, where it is the second most abundant cation within cells after potassium.

Magnesium is an element Vital for many physiological functions. The bodies of most animals contain about 0.4 grams of magnesium per kilogram. In an average 70 kg adult with 20% body fat, total body magnesium is about 24 grams.(2). In comparison, our body contains about 1,000 grams of calcium, or 42 times more(3).

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Distribution of magnesium in the body and the difficulty of detecting its deficiency

Diagnosis A Magnesium deficiencythis means a Chronic hypomagnesemiaThis is difficult to prove, because there is a balance between the magnesium concentrations found in our different tissues.

In fact, 52% of the body's magnesium is concentrated in the bones, 27% in the muscles, and only 0.3% in the serum.(4).

Our serum (blood) magnesium concentration is balanced by the magnesium found in our bones or muscles.

Therefore, it is common for me to see in my consultations people who have a normal concentration of magnesium in the blood (who are within the reference range), but who may have a general lack of magnesium in the body and therefore clinical signs associated with hypomagnesemia.

Opposite effects of magnesium and calcium

If magnesium is involved, like calcium, in bone and joint health, its functions are sometimes in conflict with calcium.

This privacy is due to Differences between the two ionsWhen they dissolve in the aqueous environments of our bodies and are found under… Form of electrolytes.

In reality, The magnesium ion binds to water more strongly than calcium.

Thus, hydrated magnesium is covered by two layers of water molecules, while hydrated calcium cation has only one layer of water molecules.

Therefore, the magnesium cation is more difficult to dry, and its hydrated radius is about 400 times larger than its dried radius.

This difference is much greater than in calcium, which only differs 25-fold between its wet and dried states.(5).

This simple fact explains many of the properties of magnesium, and in particular its often opposite, antagonistic behavior with respect to calcium, despite the fact that these two ions present a similar chemical reactivity and double positive charge.

For example, it is almost impossible for magnesium to pass through narrow channels in biological membranes, while calcium, which can be easily stripped of its water layers, would be able to easily pass through these channels.(6).

Thus, even if magnesium and calcium have clear biochemical similarities, their roles in the cell are very different and sometimes even conflicting.

Calcium magnesium difference
Magnesium (top left) is surrounded by two layers of water molecules while calcium (top right) has only one layer. If these elements had to pass through a channel in a biological membrane, calcium could easily dehydrate and pass through the membrane, while magnesium, which is difficult to dehydrate, would not. Because of this difference, these two elements conflict in many of their functions.

Cellular functions of magnesium and clinical signs of hypomagnesemia


At the level of our cells, our energy is found in a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Our cells must constantly produce ATP so that they always have access to the energy molecule necessary for cellular processes.

ATP deficiency will limit cellular metabolism and will inevitably manifest as chronic fatigue. The ATP molecule contains three phosphate groups that carry negative charges. The magnesium ion Mg2+, which has a positive charge, will combine with the ATP molecule to give it stability.

Thus, ATP4- is generally found in its complex form (ATP-Mg)2-. Furthermore, the magnesium ion inside our cells is concentrated in our mitochondria, which are organelles (cellular compartments) responsible for producing ATP.

Since there is 10 times more magnesium in our mitochondria than in the rest of our cells, one clinical sign that can be attributed to a magnesium deficiency would be chronic fatigue or feelings of weakness.(7).

Fatigue resulting from magnesium deficiency
Chronic fatigue is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency
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Bone and joint health

The health of our joints and bones depends on our mineral status. The importance of calcium is known and taken into account, but you should also always remember to take vitamin D3 supplements, as this vitamin is necessary for the intestine to absorb calcium and stabilize it in the bones and joints.

However, properly treating joint problems, osteoporosis, or osteoporosis must rely on a much more complete nutritional strategy than calcium alone.

It will also be necessary to take into account this second mineral that is important for our bones and joints, which is magnesium. Don't forget the silica and also check the biosynthesis of collagen, the protein that makes up 30% of our bones.

Calcium antagonist: nervous relaxation

At the level of our neuron physiology, it is the entry of calcium that will allow the release of our neurotransmitters. Magnesium ions block certain types of calcium channels responsible for calcium entering nerve cells.

Therefore, good levels of magnesium are necessary to modulate nerve cell activity. Therefore, adequate magnesium intake, with good food choices or through nutritional supplements, will lead to nervous relaxation (reduced anxiety, agitation, and insomnia).

Calcium antagonist: muscle relaxation

Magnesium is an essential mineral for the relaxation of all muscles, skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle and smooth muscle. In fact, the contraction of our muscle cells takes place thanks to the release of calcium contained in a compartment called the endoplasmic reticulum.

Magnesium stimulates calcium absorption and thus helps put an end to muscle contraction. For this reason, magnesium deficiency often leads to problems with muscle tension or spasms.


Magnesium as an alkaline mineral is a natural antacid. It has been traditionally used extensively for this purpose.

Laxative effect

Magnesium is also traditionally used for its laxative effects. The most common laxative magnesium salt is magnesium oxide, the famous marine magnesium, followed by magnesium chloride.

Sources of magnesium in our diet

Magnesium, as the center of chlorophyll, is present in everyone vegetablesSuch as: spinach (78 mg/100 g). It is also found in whole grains. For example, whole grain bread contains 46 mg/100 grams and whole grain rice 42 mg/100 grams.

Seeds, nuts and beans are particularly rich in magnesium: pumpkin seeds (535 mg/100 g), flax seeds (392 mg/100 g), Brazil nuts (376 mg/100 g) and cocoa (499 mg/100 g). 100 grams).

This is why chocolate cravings are one of the signs of magnesium deficiency.

Today, we consume less vegetables, and the lack of green vegetables on our plates is the main reason for our magnesium deficiency.

You should also know that when you cook vegetables in water, the minerals they contain pass into the water through the phenomenon of leaching, so you should always take cooking broth in the form of soup, for example. Otherwise, steam cooking is preferred.

Types of magnesium

Depending on the types of magnesium used, the effects will be different and magnesium supplements will be chosen according to the patient's characteristics.

Marine magnesium

As we just saw, marine magnesium is magnesium oxide. In this form, magnesium will be very poorly absorbed and these offerings should be considered as natural laxatives and not a true magnesium supplement.

Magnesium chloride

Magnesium chloride has good bioavailability and is particularly good for detoxification (cleansing and eliminating toxins) by stimulating kidney function. It has a mild laxative effect that is useful for cleansing the body. Magnesium chloride is also used in magnesium oil for its relaxing massage action.

Magnesium carbonate

Magnesium carbonate has good bioavailability and absorption, and is the most alkaline form of all forms of magnesium due to the presence of carbonate.

Magnesium sulphate

Magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salts, is used orally only in liver cleansing protocols to dilate bile ducts. This form also has the ability to absorb through the skin, it is used in spas, institutes, bathrooms, bathtubs or foot baths.

The best magnesium in case of deficiency

Finally, magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate are the two most commonly used forms, as they provide the best bioavailability and very good absorption.

(Marks for translation) Magnesium in the earth's crust and seawater
Cell functions, deficiencies, food sources, and types of supplements

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