Around 15 percent of Germans suffer from a magnesium deficiency, as several studies have shown. The vital mineral plays a major role in many metabolic processes. If the body lacks magnesium, this is reflected in many symptoms throughout the body. Conversely, our health benefits when the magnesium depots in our body are filled. Magnesium can help with a cold, among other things.
When does a magnesium deficiency start?
Physicians understand magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) as the concentration of magnesium in the blood being too low. If the diet does not cover the magnesium requirement, the body falls back on depots in the bones and muscles. Only when these stores are used up does a magnesium deficiency show up in the blood values. Normally, an adult human should have between 0.7 and 1.0 mmol of magnesium per liter of blood. A level of less than 0.65 mmol per liter of blood is considered a deficiency.
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral. Like its counterpart calcium, it is one of the electrolytes – together both regulate the excitability of muscle and nerve cells and control the entire muscular system of the body. Magnesium is also involved in energy metabolism and the immune system.
While calcium ensures muscle tension, the muscle needs magnesium to relax. An adult human body contains about 26 grams of the mineral. A large part of it (about 60 percent) is stored in the bones. 39 percent is localized in the skeletal muscles and one percent in the blood.
What are the roles of magnesium in the body?
The vital mineral is involved in many important metabolic processes: More than 300 enzymes depend on magnesium to fulfill their functions.
- regulates muscle contraction and relaxation
- Stabilizes the cardiovascular system: It ensures that blood vessels can dilate so that blood pressure does not rise too much. Together with the antagonist calcium, magnesium regulates the function of the heart muscle (tension and relaxation)
- promotes intestinal movement (peristalsis)
- strengthens the immune system
- Together with calcium, it ensures strong bones and teeth.
- plays an important role in the repair and formation of genetic material
- dampens the release of stress hormones
- If there is a magnesium deficiency in the body, health problems such as cardiac arrhythmias, exhaustion, tremors, and inner restlessness can arise.
Magnesium Requirements – How Much Per Day?
Since the human body cannot produce magnesium itself, you should ensure that you get enough from your diet: an adult should consume between 300 and 400 milligrams of magnesium per day. The requirement depends on the state of health, age, and physical activity. However, the body does not absorb the same amount of the mineral that was put in the body, only about a third of it. The rest is excreted in stool and urine.
Know your needs – avoid magnesium deficiency
The magnesium requirement differs depending on the physical condition and lifestyle. With a bad cold or flu, for example, the body uses up its stores faster, and the risk of a magnesium deficiency increases. Also, have an increased need:
- pregnant women
- breastfeeding women
- people in stressful situations
- People suffering from chronic diseases (diabetes mellitus, intestinal diseases, heart diseases)
Does magnesium help with a cold?
During a cold, the daily need for magnesium increases. In addition, the mineral has also proven itself as a home remedy for cold and flu-like infections. Drinking magnesium citrate powder mixed in a cup of water helps relieve symptoms. The mineral supports the immune system and prevents headaches. Your doctor can tell you how much magnesium to take when you have a cold.