Alternative Medicine - - Editor’s Picks - BY JOHN BEN­SON

Mag­ne­sium is one of seven ma­jor min­er­als the body needs in rel­a­tively large amounts in or­der to func­tion op­ti­mally. (The oth­ers are cal­cium, potas­sium, sodium, chlo­ride, sul­fur, and phos­pho­rus.) It plays an im­por­tant role in cel­lu­lar health and is cru­cial for many bio­chem­i­cal pro­cesses. Other im­por­tant func­tions in­clude main­tain­ing healthy blood sugar lev­els and blood pres­sure. It also helps reg­u­late mus­cle and nerve func­tion. At the cel­lu­lar level, mag­ne­sium as­sists with pro­tein, bone, and even DNA for­ma­tions. re­spon­si­ble for the de­ple­tion of cal­cium in bones.

EX­ER­CISE. Elec­trolytes con­tain­ing mag­ne­sium are im­por­tant to the body while re­cov­er­ing from ex­er­cise. Mag­ne­sium de­fi­ciency is also as­so­ci­ated with ac­cu­mu­lat­ing lac­tic acid in mus­cles, which causes tight­ness and pain.

SLEEP. Mela­tonin reg­u­la­tion re­quires mag­ne­sium. This im­por­tant hor­mone helps the body en­ter and exit proper sleep cy­cles. Mag­ne­sium also has a calm­ing ef­fect on the brain and ner­vous sys­tem, and it helps reg­u­late proper brain ac­tiv­ity.

STRESS. A re­la­tion­ship be­tween mag­ne­sium and anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion ex­ists, which sug­gests that ad­e­quate mag­ne­sium in­take could curb mood swings and help stress sub­side. Mag­ne­sium sup­ports adrenal glands and is re­spon­si­ble for sero­tonin pro­duc­tion and func­tion. Mag­ne­sium is also es­sen­tial for me­tab­o­liz­ing cor­ti­sol, the main stress-re­lated hor­mone that is pro­duced by the adrenal gland.

CAR­DIO­VAS­CU­LAR HEALTH. Mag­ne­sium helps main­tain a proper heart rhythm. It en­cour­ages healthy blood pres­sure by widen­ing ar­ter­ies and thin­ning blood. Mag­ne­sium also helps aid potas­sium and cal­cium di­ges­tion.

BLOOD. Di­ets high in mag­ne­sium are as­so­ci­ated with lower lev­els of blood sugar. Mag­ne­sium helps reg­u­late blood sugar by prop­erly aid­ing in­sulin re­sponses.

DI­GES­TION. Di­etary fiber is an im­por­tant part of healthy di­ges­tion, and mag­ne­sium is an es­sen­tial part of di­etary fiber. Stud­ies show mag­ne­sium im­proves car­bo­hy­drate and pro­tein di­ges­tion.

IM­MU­NITY. Mag­ne­sium is es­sen­tial for nor­mal im­mune sys­tem func­tion. It de­creases the re­lease of chem­i­cals that ini­ti­ate in­flam­ma­tory re­ac­tions, and it helps main­tain proper cell func­tion.

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