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What’s the deal with Magnesium?

It’s clear magnesium (Mg) is important – it’s a cofactor to over 600 enzymatic processes within the body, and the second most abundant intracellular cation.  Mg is required for DNA, RNA, protein synthesis, and energy metabolism through its involvement in cell receptor processes.

Receptor Dysfunction
Every receptor needs Mg to function.  It is involved in the generation of cyclic-AMP and the activation of tyrosine kinase – both critical for receptor function. 

The Diabetes Example:
When Mg stores are low, more and more insulin is needed for proper glucose management leading to insulin resistance, and ultimately diabetes.

When Magnesium is low, dysfunction occurs.

Magnesium is found everywhere in the body – the skeleton, intracellular, and plasma.  In plasma, Mg (bound and ionized forms) is known to regulate a bunch of processes.

Hypomagnesemia is frequently encountered in much of the western world, which consumes processed-food diets. Chronic deficiencies in Mg can lead to a wide range of diseases due to impaired receptor function such as diabetes, or calcium disorders due to Mg effect on the calcium sensing receptor (CaSR).  We’ll explore the CaSR in part 2 of – What’s the Deal with Magnesium.

Magnesium (Mg) plays an important role in many enzymatic reactions, particularly those that involve cellular receptors.  The consequence of low stores of Mg leads to chronic receptor dysfunction and ultimately:

  • Insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Cytokine increases and inflammation
  • Hypertension and CVD
  • Advancement of chronic kidney disease
  • Progression of cancer
  • Calcium imbalances via Calcium Sensing Receptor (CaSR)

Research now proves the CaSR, present in the PTH gland, intestines, and kidneys, regulates BOTH calcium and Mg. 

In patients with hypomagnesemia, the CaSR will upregulate the production of PTH to absorb (& resorb from bone) more Mg and Ca.  Secondary hyperparathyroidism, as a consequence of low Mg, can occur.

Mg is required for the two hydroxylations and the PTH regulation of Vitamin D. 

Studies show that low stores of Mg are associated with Vitamin D deficiency and those failing to respond to Vitamin D3 supplementation.

Magnesium sufficiency is required for proper Vitamin D metabolism

Like many essential vitamins and nutrients in the diet, magnesium requires a certain condition to allow for maximum absorption. This condition depends highly on calcium, and more specifically the ratio of Mg to calcium.  Both Calcium and Mg are tightly regulated via the Calcium Sensing Receptor (CaSR) and has influence on the parathyroid gland for PTH secretion, intestines for absorption, and kidneys for excretion.  Both divalent cations and compete for absorption.

Western diets and processed foods are often high in calcium and low in Mg resulting in hypomagnesemia.  As the Ca/Mg ratio approaches 3.0, the incidence of diabetes increases as a result of receptor dysfunction. 

Optimum dietary Ca/Mg ratio is between 2.0 – 2.6


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