the magic of magnesium...

Along with sodium, potassium and calcium, magnesium is one of the four macrominerals essential to all life. A study in the 1960s by American physician Dr Palma Formica tested the effects of magnesium and potassium supplements on 100 people suffering from fatigue. The study included 84 women and 16 men, all of whom were given extra magnesium and potassium for five to six weeks. 

The findings were astounding: 87 of the volunteers improved, even those who had been suffering from fatigue for more than two years. The subjects became cheerful, alert and energetic, and some even recorded getting by on six hours sleep a night when they had struggled to feel rested on twelve hours sleep before they started taking the supplements.

Magnesium is thought to combat fatigue because it helps release energy in the body. It also plays a role in the production of melatonin, which helps to regulate sleep; this production is disturbed when levels of magnesium are insufficient.

The mineral calcium contracts muscles where as magnesium relaxes them, so when magnesium levels in the body are low more calcium can flow into the vascular muscle cells which makes them contract. This contraction causes tighter blood vessels and thus higher blood pressure. Severe magnesium deficiency in the heart causes its muscles to go into spasm, and there is evidence that some heart attacks are in fact caused not by obstruction but by cramping of the coronary arteries, which cuts off oxygen supply to the heart. Good levels of magnesium can prevent these effects, as magnesium is thought to dilate blood vessels and relax heart muscles.

Magnesium also helps to make platelets (the tiny blood cells that form clots) less sticky and so prevents blood clots from forming.

The Bone Builder
Around 57% of the magnesium in the body is found in the bones. Magnesium is necessary for bone formation, and many people diagnosed with osteoporosis are found to be suffering from magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is essential for calcium metabolism and depositing calcium where it is required as well as for converting vitamin D to an active form in the body.

The Anti-Stress Mineral
Magnesium is often called the anti-stress mineral because of its role in relaxing skeletal muscles and the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and blood vessels. To fulfill these and other functions properly, magnesium must be balanced in the body with calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium chloride.

A Detoxification Aid
As magnesium is a crucial factor in the natural self-cleansing and detoxification responses of the body, many detox programmes recommend a warm bath with a handful of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate), infact many commercially prepared bath salts contain magnesium sulphate as one of their main ingredients. 

Epsom salts in your bath have a relaxing effect on your body because magnesium sulphate, which is absorbed through the skin, is necessary for the production of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter that may increase feelings of relaxation and well-being.

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