Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body but is possibly the most important for the functioning of the cells. Throughout the day, our body uses magnesium to perform hundreds of processes that are essential to health and wellbeing. However, it is not only the cells that need magnesium; our bones and joints require the mineral for various functions too.
This mineral is required for the formation of the outside shell and inner matrix of bones. Magnesium is also required for the creation of the hormone calcitonin, which is used to keep calcium inside the bones and preserve their structure and strength. This process prevents calcium from being deposited elsewhere in the body, such as the joints, tendons and cartilage.
In addition, our skeletons store magnesium for use in the rest of the body. One such function is to facilitate the health benefits of vitamin D. All of the enzymes that metabolise vitamin D need magnesium in order to work effectively. This facilitates bone growth in children and bone density during adulthood. A magnesium deficiency can compromise bone structure and lead to brittle skeletal support.
Osteoporosis is a disease that results in too little bone – either through loss or inadequate production. This means that the skeleton becomes weak and bone breakages occur easily, sometimes through minor falls and bumps. Osteoporosis translates to “porous bone” and was given this name because the bones look like a sparse honeycomb when viewed under a microscope. These brittle bones are most likely to occur in the hips, spine and wrists.
The body should constantly be absorbing and replacing bone tissue. However, with osteoporosis, new bone formation doesn’t keep up with old bone removal. Osteoporotic bones have extremely low density and contain abnormal tissue structure. This ailment is quite common in elderly people and experts estimate that one in two women, or one in four men, over the age of 50 will break a bone at some stage due to osteoporosis.
Most patients will have no idea that their bone density has decreased until they have a minor fall and fracture or break a bone. Treatment for osteoporosis includes medicine, a balanced diet and exercise, but magnesium supplementation can be used in addition to these remedies in order to prevent bone loss and promote the production of calcium, which improves bone formation and strength.
Cartilage and the joints also require magnesium for optimal performance and health. These structures usually undergo much wear and tear throughout life, so magnesium is required for their preservation. Millions of South Africans deal with chronic joint pain, such as arthritis, on a daily basis; experts predict that half of all citizens could be dealing with some form of joint ailment.
Magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties that are effective in minimising swelling and pain associated with osteoarthritis and other joint diseases. This makes it an effective mineral for the treatment of the painful symptoms associated with arthritis. It does so by moving blood sugar into the surrounding muscles and reducing the protein markers in the body that cause inflammation.
In a recent study published by the British National Library of Medicine, it was shown that low magnesium intake can result in joint pain. Over 2500 participants were observed during the study. It concluded that magnesium mediates bone and muscle metabolism, inflammation and pain signals. Therefore, a deficiency of magnesium results in worse joint pain and degraded functioning of the knees, elbows, wrists and fingers.
This essential mineral plays a large role in hundreds of bodily functions, but its involvement in bone production, maintenance and repair make it important for wellbeing. When its benefits for joints are also taken into account, all adults and elderly people should be taking magnesium supplements to maintain their health and mobility. Try our Mag 2 powder as a delicious daily supplement. Simply add it to food, smoothies or a glass of cold water and get your health back.