The Silent Superhero

Published April 3, 2018, 12:05 AM

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By Dr. Kaycee Reyes

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What do laptops, steel, airplanes, cameras, plants, and our bodies have in common? Believe it or not, it all has magnesium. It is a hard, silver alkaline metal that is found mostly in the earth’s crust and mantle. It cannot be found in nature as it is, however; it can be only be found in combination with other elements such as Magnesium chloride that is naturally occurring in seawater; Magnesium carbonate or rock salt; and in plants, as part of the important process of chlorophyll.

This metal is so versatile that it can be found almost anywhere, even inside our bodies, we just don’t know it!

Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg and was identified by Joseph Black at Edinburgh in 1755. The first to isolate it was Sir Humphry Davy in London in 1808, but it was French scientist Antoine Bussy who first isolated magnesium in large quantities and further studied the element. As it has a lot of uses in today’s modern world, magnesium is extracted from magnesium-rich minerals like dolomite and carnallite. Seawater, however, is the most abundant in magnesium and is mostly drawn out from there. Not only does magnesium have countless uses in everyday things, it is also involved in a lot of processes in the human body! Did you know that magnesium ions are responsible for more than 300 biochemical processes in our body? Magnesium is the second most abundant element in the human cell. It is regarded as a macro-mineral, which means that the body needs it in large amounts to properly execute its function. The human body contains 25 grams of magnesium, with half of it found in the bones and the rest is found in soft tissues. With this amount it can perform and regulate a lot of bodily functions, including:

1.Charging enzymes that are responsible for breaking down glucose or fat, production of important proteins and antioxidants, controlling cholesterol levels, and DNA and RNA formation

2.Helping in energy production within the cells that is needed to perform cell reproduction and protein synthesis, among others

3.Protecting and repairing DNA damage, and also aids in RNA production

4.Keeping the balance of minerals calcium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium in the body

5.Helping in bone and tooth strength and development

6.Fighting against mood disorders as magnesium-deficiency has been studied to be correlated to magnesium deficiency

7.Aiding the heart by controlling blood pressure levels and keeping it low

8.Helps in respiratory problems such as asthma by relaxing muscles

According to the US RDA, adults require 420mg of magnesium/day for men, 320mg/day for women, and 360mg/day for pregnant women. Magnesium cannot be produced by the body; luckily, it is readily available in a lot of foods such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.

With the soil quality, food processing, and the change in diets of individuals through the years, however,  adults do not get enough magnesium, sometimes even below half the daily requirement. This is why being mindful of your diet or supplementation may be required to meet the magnesium requirements everyday.

The human body is amazing. As we discover new ways on how our body works, we find that nothing is insignificant; every vitamin, nutrient, tissue, and cell has an important role to play. Magnesium is definitely the silent superhero. Without it, it is impossible that we can enjoy life. If you constantly get muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, and irritable, it may be a sign of magnesium deficiency. Aside from changing your diet to healthier options, you may also want to consult your physician on the right amount and kind of food, as well as supplementation if you plan to do so. Always take care of your body, and your body will take care of you.

 
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