Electrolytes and the Human Body

Magnesium is an electrolyte that is present in a relatively large amount in the organism and performs vital functions. It is the fourth most common cation in the human body, which amounts to about 25 g (DiNicolantonio et al., 2018). Its main functions are to regulate sodium, calcium, and potassium levels, ensure the integrity of cells and tissues participating in the generation and activation of ATP and synthesis of proteins, DNA, and RNA (DiNicolantonio et al., 2018). The human body stores this electrolyte in muscles, bones, and soft tissues. When there is a deficiency of this electrolyte, the organism retrieves it from the body parts in which it is stored. Consequently, a person can maintain an average magnesium level in serum while having a magnesium imbalance, called a subclinical deficiency (DiNicolantonio et al., 2018).

An individual with magnesium deficiency may experience various neurological symptoms and have a higher risk of chronic diseases. Clinical signs include tremors, spontaneous contraction of the muscles in the feet and hands, convulsive seizures, agitation, weakness, and depression (DiNicolantonio et al., 2018). Additionally, since magnesium deficiency causes the organism to obtain this electrolyte from bones and muscles, it increases the risk of fractures, osteoporosis, osteopenia, and cardiovascular diseases (DiNicolantonio et al., 2018). Magnesium deficiency can be treated by taking magnesium supplements, and the dosage should be adjusted so as to keep the magnesium serum level higher than 0.9 mmol/L (DiNicolantonio et al., 2018).

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Reference

DiNicolantonio, J. J., O’Keefe, J. H., & Wilson, W. (2018). Subclinical magnesium deficiency: A principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart, 5, e000668.

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