Magnesium is a silvery-white, alkaline-earth metal essential to all cellular life on Earth.
ven the most nutrition-savvy readers are bound to learn something new from these 9 interesting facts about magnesium!
Magnesium has an ancient healing history
The name magnesium comes from Magnetes, an ancient Greek tribe that inhabited the area where magnesium carbonate was first found and used as a laxative to treat a range of illnesses.
When the medicinal properties of the magnesium-rich water from the Epsom Spring in England were discovered in the 1600s, the town of Epsom rapidly became a popular health resort and spa. People even drank the salty water to 'purify the blood’.
Magnesium is the 8th most abundant element in the universe
Abundant throughout the universe, magnesium is also found in the earth and the sea, as well as in plants, animals, and humans.
It makes up two per cent of Earth's crust, but there is far more magnesium to be found in the deeper layers of our planet. In fact, 13 per cent of Earth’s total mass consists of magnesium, which is more than enough to make another planet with the mass of Mars!
With a 0.13 per cent concentration, magnesium is the third-most abundant mineral dissolved in seawater. Not only is there a magnesium ion in each chlorophyll molecule of every green plant, but your body also contains around 4-6 teaspoons of magnesium.
Magnesium doesn’t naturally exist on its own
While magnesium can be found all over the planet, it does not exist in nature independently from other elements, such as carbon, calcium and oxygen. The magnesium in the ocean, for example, exists naturally as the compound magnesium chloride, while there are magnesium carbonate deposits in the earth and magnesium sulphate in springs like the one in Epsom.
Plant anatomist and physiologist Nehemiah Grew isolated and patented the magnesium sulphate from Epsom Spring in 1695. However, it wasn’t until 1755 that magnesium was recognised as a unique element as a result of experiments conducted by chemist and physicist Joseph Black.
It has proven indispensable to the aviation and aerospace industries
Isolating magnesium has helped us fly and travel to space
In 1808, Sir Humphry Davy ran an electrical current through magnesium oxide to produce pure magnesium. Although Davy was the first scientist to isolate magnesium successfully, he could only produce a minimal quantity.
In 1831, Antoine Bussy became the first chemist to create a significant amount of pure magnesium, but it wasn’t until 1909 that Robert Bunsen’s electrolysis method made the industrial production of magnesium possible.
At one third the density of aluminium, magnesium is the lightest structural metal on the planet. As such, it has proven indispensable to the aviation and aerospace industries, where it is extensively used as an alloy for optimal strength and lightness
Magnesium ions are found in every cell of the body
Responsible for activating hundreds of biochemical reactions performed by enzymes, magnesium ions are found in every cell of your body. Around 60% of your body's magnesium is in your bones, while your muscles are home to 39%, and the remaining 1% inhabits soft tissues, blood and other fluids.
When dissolved in your bodily fluids, magnesium is an electrolyte. After sodium, it’s the second most abundant positively charged electrolyte found in your cells.
Magnesium is vital to every system in the body
Magnesium’s many functions include supporting the immune system, regulating blood pressure, and helping your muscles contract and relax to move your body. It also supports the nervous system by blocking the activity of the more stimulating neurotransmitters and binding to calming receptors for a more peaceful, resting state.
With low levels linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety, magnesium is essential for the production of serotonin and plays a critical role in mood, brain function, memory, and learning.
It also plays a role in building new proteins from amino acids, helps create and repair DNA and RNA to maintain genes, and helps convert food into energy. Magnesium also regulates calcium and vitamin D levels, making it essential for healthy bones.
Plants need magnesium too!
Present in the chlorophyll molecule of every green plant, magnesium is crucial to photosynthesis, the process of extracting energy from sunlight. Richard Willstatter won the Nobel prize in 1915 for describing the structure of this green plant pigment and identifying magnesium as the central element.
Magnesium deficiency is common
While fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and whole grains are excellent sources of magnesium, the Standard American Diet only provides about 50% of the recommended daily intake. Depending on age, gender, and activity level, adults should take in between 310–420 mg of magnesium each day.
Symptoms of low magnesium include muscle cramps, headaches, and chronic pain, and deficiency is linked to chronic inflammation, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, sleep problems, and metabolic syndrome.
We also need to get enough magnesium to produce enough melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone
Magnesium is vital for healthy sleep
In addition to healthy sleep habits, we also need to get enough magnesium to produce enough melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone. Almonds, cashews, legumes, and spinach are some of the most magnesium-rich foods, so be sure to include these in your diet – especially in the evening because magnesium calms the nervous system and prepares your mind and body for a restful sleep.
Relax Into Sleep contains magnesium bound to an amino acid called glycine, which has its own anti-inflammatory and sleep-promoting qualities and supports magnesium absorption. This scientifically formulated sleep supplement also contains valerian, passionflower, and lemon balm, which are traditional sleep aids used in Western herbal medicine.
Better sleep is the tip of the iceberg!
Shown to fight inflammation, lower blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, support sleep, and improve exercise performance, a daily supplement is an efficient and easy way to increase your magnesium intake, sleep better, and enjoy the many health benefits.