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Magnesium is an essential mineral that acts as a cofactor for over 300 vital metabolic reactions in the body. The metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids to produce cellular energy requires numerous magnesium dependent chemical reactions. Along with energy production at the cellular level magnesium also plays a role in muscle relaxation, nerve transmission, nucleic acid and antioxidant enzyme synthesis, calcium utilization and bone structure, and normal heart rhythms.
Magnesium can be found in several foods including nuts, whole grains, vegetables, seaweeds and fruits. Unfortunately many people may not be consuming adequate daily amounts of fruits and vegetables and therefore may develop mineral imbalances over time. Other dietary and lifestyle factors that may contribute to a magnesium imbalance in the body include prolonged stress and consuming large amounts of coffee, soda, salt or alcohol which causes the kidneys to excrete excess amounts of magnesium in the urine. Signs of a magnesium imbalance in the body may include agitation, irritability, sleep disorders, restless and cramping legs, muscle spasms, poor nail growth and constipation.