How Calcium and Magnesium Work in Your Body

Calcium (chemical symbol Ca) and magnesium (chemical symbol Mg) are macronutrients, what most of us know as minerals.

Minerals can be compared to the spark plugs in your car. They “spark” the chemical reactions in your body that make it function. If one of the spark plugs in your car doesn’t work, you may be able to start your car but you will feel that it’s lacking power and you will hear and feel it misfiring. If two spark plugs aren’t working, chances are it won’t start at all.

If you can relate that to your body, when you have to drag your body out of bed, want to sleep at all odd times or you’re just plain lacking energy, your body is "misfiring" and most likely because it needs one or more minerals. Of course, your body also needs protein and vitamins, fats and water but the minerals “spark” off the energy production.

Calcium and magnesium alone are responsible for more than 300 chemical reactions in your body. That’s right, three hundred! Don’t ask me to list them all. That’s impossible, but you get the picture.

Calcium, being the fifth most common element in your body, is essential to life and accounts for two to three pounds of your total body weight. To understand how your body stores and uses calcium, think of your skeleton as a "bank" for your body’s minerals. You make withdrawals or deposits during your lifetime. If your body doesn’t get enough deposits of calcium, it will "borrow" it from the skeletal stores (your bones!). Over time, that leads to bone loss. You have to be continuously "re-depositing" back into your bones. That’s why you need to make regular deposits of calcium into your body – to replace what’s been used, otherwise you will end up with porous bones that break easily because they’re brittle, what is known as osteoporosis (osteo=bones, porosis-porous), and nerve problems, including heart and mood problems and suffer from some or other disease. (Dis-ease merely means lack of ease and this can be anything from feeling some discomfort to the extreme of death.)

In growing children and teenagers, the bones may not develop fully if they keep withdrawing calcium and not "re-depositing", with the result that they enter adulthood with brittle bones. In young girls, this can lead to malformation of the pelvic bones, which can lead to an inability to bear and/or deliver babies or bones that just plain crumble, severe PMS symptoms and, in both sexes, severe mood challenges, hyperactivity and other behavioral problems. The worse the deficiency, the more serious the problem.

Having adequate calcium helps your body shut down at night and relax, which allows for better sleep and is vitally important as that’s the time your body repairs itself. When you’re supposed to be in action, adequate calcium will help your energy levels during the day when working or exercising. It also helps reduce or eliminate PMS symptoms, relieves muscle spasms and pain, is a natural tranquilizer, helps prevent osteoporosis, improves heart and nerve function, helps maintain calmness, and many more….

Eating a well-balanced diet is the key to the solution. Most people know that dairy products are a good source of calcium but many have no idea that plants offer a rich source of calcium too. The following is a partial list, so you can see the wealth of calcium to be found in many foods: most fruit, vegetables, seeds, flax seeds, oats, kale, kelp, oranges, papaya, sesame seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, most beans, Brazil nuts, celery, broccoli, tahini to name some.

Magnesium is another abundant mineral in your body. It is required for a multitude of functions. You need it for the proper growth, formation and function of your bones, muscles and nerves. In fact, magnesium and calcium even control how your muscles contract. Magnesium helps prevent some heart disorders, high blood pressure and improves lung function. Your body also uses magnesium to help convert food into energy and helps your body absorb calcium and potassium.

In fact, calcium cannot be absorbed without it. Your body will draw magnesium from organs, bones and tissues to help “balance” the calcium, thus creating deficiencies, which can lead to calcium stone formation or deposits in your joints.This important mineral helps your brain function normally and helps prevent depression. Magnesium is essential for controlling your insulin levels, making it a very important factor in providing the energy your body needs to operate and help relieve fatigue.

Magnesium is sometimes injected into patients’ veins in emergency situations such as an acute heart attack or acute asthma attack. It is also given to asthma sufferers to relax the muscles along the airway to their lungs, which allows them to breathe easier.

Some foods high in magnesium include fish, dairy products, lean meat, whole grains, seeds, and vegetables, raw salad greens, raw broccoli, nuts, halibut, pumpkin and squash seeds, cooked spinach, plantains, plus more.

You probably noticed that there are several foods that are both calcium- and magnesium-rich and, in fact, they’re also rich in potassium and other vital minerals. Potassium is another very important mineral that your body needs for it to function properly.

There’s nothing like a smooth, well-oiled engine (body).

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