Are you near a AA battery? If so, pick it up and feel its weight. That’s roughly how much of the mineral magnesium you have in your body – about 25 grams, or a little less than an ounce. Magnesium has many health benefits, and plays a vital role in many bodily functions, yet it gets almost no press compared to its more famous buddies, iron and calcium.
While magnesium abounds in nature – it’s the seventh most common element on earth, by weight – we aren’t getting nearly enough of it to achieve and maintain optimal health. Somewhere between 10-30% of people worldwide – and around 50% of Americans – appear to be deficient. Magnesium deficiency is so common and widespread that it’s been called a public health crisis.
And compounding the problem is the fact that it’s hard to accurately measure magnesium levels in the body. Tests look at serum magnesium (in the blood) and not intracellular magnesium (the concentration of magnesium within cells, where it’s needed). It’s a little like trying to figure out the financial health of a bank by counting the money in the Brinks vans going to and from the building. There’s some relationship, but it’s far from the whole story.
But what exactly does magnesium do in your body? What are the health benefits of magnesium? And why are so many of us deficient these days? Read on to find out!Learn More (PDF)