Natural Health

Bolster Your Health With Magnesium Oxide

By: Jennifer Newell
Published: Friday, 21 March 2008
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Magnesium oxide, also simply referred to as magnesia, is a mineral that is essential in human nutrition. Magnesium is involved in over 300 metabolic reactions and is necessary for every major biological process, including the production of energy and the synthesis of acids and proteins, the contraction of muscles, conduction of nerves, and regulation of vascular tone. It coincides with calcium in the body to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

On average, adult males should have an intake of approximately 300 to 350 milligrams per day, and females require only 200 to 250 milligrams. Foods containing a rich amount of magnesium include grains, nuts, and green vegetables, but standard amounts of the nutrient can be found in meats, starches, and milk. Through the consumption of these foods, magnesium is absorbed through the small intestine and the colon, and then delivered to the liver, bone, and cells.

Magnesium deficiency is quite common in people with alcoholism, hyperthyroidism, malabsorption syndromes, and some types of diabetes. Signs of the lack of magnesium in the body include anorexia, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, hypertension, muscle spasm, confusion, tremors and seizures, and loss of coordination. Supplements can remedy the cause of these symptoms.

Extra supplements of magnesium are also prescribed by doctors for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and eclampsia. Magnesium can be used as a short-term laxative or an antacid, and studies show that it has the potential to prevent osteoporosis and manage migraine headaches, reduce blood pressure, prevent kidney stones and strokes, as well as help with premenstrual syndrome, Type II diabetes, and hypertension.

Side effects of magnesium supplements are rare and few, most sources citing mild nausea and cramping in some cases. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid supplemental doses over 350 milligrams per day unless specifically prescribed by a doctor. It is also advised to take other supplements at least two hours before or after a magnesium pill, and late day doses on an empty stomach is discouraged.

Taken in proper doses for the relief of particular symptoms, few or no side effect should occur. However, it is important to note that magnesium oxide is not intended as a daily supplement for longer than two weeks, one week if using as a laxative.