Magnesium is a white metal, that is an essential element. The name of this element refers to the Greek district of Magnesia, that was known for its curative white salts (magnesia alba in Latin). Being used as a laxative and mineral bath salt for a long time, magnesium was isolated by the British chemist Sir Humphrey Davy in 1808. When there exists a magnesium deficiency, stress also occurs.
Magnesium is primarily found in bones and in the intracellular fluid, and a small amount is present in the extracellular fluid. This chemical element activates many enzyme systems, helps the sodium and potassium transport across cell membranes, affects nucleic acid and protein metabolism, it influences intracellular calcium levels through its effect on the parathyroid hormone secretion. It is contained by the drugs used to fight stress.
Stress is the factor that causes the magnesium depletion and it can be magnified by a lack of magnesium. When our life is constantly affected by stress—emotional, physical, mental—the hypervigilence of our organism and cells can be harmful to our health. A stressful period without sufficient magnesium can lead to a deficit that, if not corrected, can cause more stress and further health problems.
Magnesium supports our adrenals, which can be overworked by stress. A magnesium deficiency in the body is a significant problem for the body because of the many vitally important enzyme systems that are requiring magnesium, some of them being responsible for the energy production and storage. Thus, a lower magnesium level during stress can cause energy shortness that leads to listlessness and fatigue.
Under prolonged stressful conditions, the body loses more magnesium than usual through urine and sweat, adding to magnesium depletion and lowering our stress defenses mechanisms. Without enough magnesium, the nerve cells become excitable and over-reactive, causing the over-stressed person to be highly sensitive and nervous, even when it is away from the stressful environment.
Normal cells which are inactive (resting) contain 10,000 times more magnesium than calcium. If the amount of cellular magnesium falls, calcium flows into the cell when not required. An imbalance such as this puts the cell into a hyperactive state, causing unwanted muscle contraction and leading to painful cramping. In order to relax the muscles need a proper magnesium-calcium balance.
Stress affects cardiac health and since stress eliminates magnesium from our body, the low magnesium/high calcium levels can cause cells to change. High calcium makes bones stiff and hard, a good thing for our organism, but when it is improperly assimilated in the soft tissues a problem of calcification occurs. This stiffness in artery and heart cells can interfere in the proper function and can be an heart disease factor. Excess calcium on top of a low magnesium status is a very widespread problem. Calcium supplements can be good for bones in a healthy body, but cannot be properly assimilated in a low-magnesium body. Excess calcium in an unbalanced body can deplete magnesium from the body and make a low-magnesium body worse.
The interference between calcium and magnesium is explained by the fact that calcium, unlike the excess of magnesium that is eliminated by the body, builds up in the body and expells magnesium from the body.
When the magnesium stores are depleted by the stress to an abnormally low level, arterial spasms can occur. Since the arterial muscle cells can be relaxed or dilatated only by adequate magnesium levels, they constrict when the magnesium levels are low. If this occurs in the coronary arteries, chest pain can be depistated.
Half of the Americans do not get enough daily magnesium in their foods, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture research. For the preservation of the personal magnesium status, processed foods should be avoided, you must be educated on nutrition, stress should be eliminated as much as possible and the diet should be supplemented with magnesium.
One of the most absorbable forms of magnesium is magnesium citrate. It is available at most health food stores or vitamin shops in a powder form that can be mixed with hot or cold water.