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Magnesium: The Master Mineral

Magnesium deficiency is one of the most overlooked health problems in today’s world. Lack of magnesium mimics a host of health problems such as atrial fibrillation, fibromyalgia, back pain and insomnia, and can be a major factor in mental health: anxiety, Alzheimer’s and depression.

One of the reasons that magnesium deficiency can be a contributing factor in such a variety of health issues is that this ‘Master Nutrient’ is utilized as an enzyme by a multitude of nutrients in many cellular processes. Magnesium is such an important nutrient that taking it by itself, in many cases, actually raises blood levels of calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

Unlike drugs, nutrients require a complex array of substances in order to work properly; one of the best examples of this phenomenon is calcium. Women in western countries have some of the highest rates of osteoporosis, despite having the highest calcium intakes in the world; while their Peruvian and Japanese sisters, who get far less calcium (but plenty of magnesium) have extremely low rates of osteoporosis.

It’s well known that magnesium is required for calcium to be absorbed in the intestinal tract, but it’s less known that magnesium helps calcium dissolve into solution in the bloodstream.

Natural calcium is an insoluble mineral that, when crushed, will sink to the bottom of a glass of water. It will also stay in the same crystalline form in the bloodstream without sufficient magnesium.

However, adding magnesium will keep the calcium in solution, which explains many studies showing that higher magnesium intake is an important measure in preventing not only osteoporosis but also kidney stones and heart disease as well.

While magnesium is vital for the utilization of calcium, it also plays unique roles in the uptake of potassium and the transformation of vitamin D. In the case of potassium, there are several studies showing that magnesium alone can improve low potassium levels.

Vitamin D, too, requires magnesium for several reasons. First, it’s needed to convert vitamin D into its active form in the bloodstream. You can be taking enough vitamin D, but if you are magnesium deficient, you may not be able to increase your blood levels.