Saturday, May 18, 2024

Check if you are deficient in zinc, magnesium

Everyone needs zinc, which is essential for enzymes that do everything from manufacturing DNA to healing wounds. It is a crucial component of a strong immune system and it fights the common cold. Yet a surprising number of people don’t get enough of this vital nutrient.

Because your body does not produce zinc, it depends on external source for its supply.

Zinc plays a critical role in hundreds of body processes – from cell growth to sexual maturation and immunity – and is even important for taste and smell.

Necessary for the proper functioning of immune system, zinc helps to protect the body against colds, flu, conjuctivitis and other infections. Taken in pill form, zinc may aid in treating more serious illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus…

Magnesium prevents chronic diseases

Although little heralded, magnesium may be one of the most important minerals for good health. Studies suggest that, besides enhancing some 300 enzyme- related processes in the body, magnesium may help to prevent or combat many chronic diseases.

The average person’s body contains just 28 grams of magnesium, but this small amount is vital to a number of bodily functions. Many people do not have adequate stores of magnesium, often because they consume processed foods, which contain very little of this mineral. And magnesium levels are easily depleted by stress, by certain diseases or medications, and by intense physical activity. For this reason, nutritional supplements may be necessary for optimal health. They are available in several forms, including magnesium aspartate, magnesium carbonate, magnesium diglycinate, magnesium gluconate, and magnesium oxide. Magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) is a well known laxative.

Magnesium is involved in energy production, nerve function, muscle relaxation, and bone and tooth formation. In conjunction with calcium and potassium, magnesium regulates heart rhythm; it also plays a role in the production and use of insulin.

Recent research indicates that magnesium helps to prevent and treat heart disease. Studies show that the risk of dying from a heart attack is lower in areas with ‘ hard’ water, which contains high levels of magnesium. Some researchers speculate that, if everyone drank hard water, the number of deaths from heart attacks might decline by 19%. Magnesium appears to lower blood pressure, and has also been found to aid recovery after a heart attack by inhibiting blood clots, widening arteries and normalising dangerous arrhythmia

Preliminary studies suggest that an adequate intake of magnesium may prevent non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes.  Because magnesium relaxes muscles, it’s useful for sports injuries and fibromyalgia. It also seems to ease PMS ( premenstrual syndrome) and menstrual cramps, and may increase bone density in postmenopausal women, helping to prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis. In addition magnesium expands the airways, which is helpful in treating asthma and bronchitis. Studies are inconclusive about magnesium’s role in   preventing or treating migraines, but one study suggests that it may enhance the effect of sumatriptan, a prescription drug used for migraines.


  • Reduces spasms and cramps. 
  • Helps to protect against heart disease and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
  • Lowers high blood pleasure.
  • May reduce the severity of asthma attacks
  • Improves symptoms of PMS
  • Helps to prevent the complications of diabetes

The RDI for magnesium is 320 mg for men and 270 mg for women daily.

If you get too little – even moderate deficiencies can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Severe deficiencies can result in irregular heartbeat, fatigue, muscle spasm, irritability, nervousness and confusion.

Dosage – to prevent heart disease, take 400 mg. For arrhythmias, congestive heart failure and asthma. Take 400 mg twice a day. For fibromyalgia, take 150 mg of magnesium with 600 mg of malic acid twice a day. For high BP, try 500 mg a day. For diabetes, take 500 mg daily

Good food sources of magnesium are whole grains, nuts, apple, papaya, dates, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables and shellfish.

Facts & tips:

If you’re taking a magnesium supplement, be sure to take a calcium supplement as well in 1:2 ratio.

Research shows that magnesium diglycinate is the form most readily absorbed by the body. Magnesium oxide may be the least expensive but it’s also the most poorly absorbed.


People with kidney disease should consult their physicians before taking magnesium.

(CLN Murthy did his M.Tech chemical engineering in NIT Warangal and worked as Scientist in the field of Modelling & Simulation in CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad and retired)

Narasimha Murthy Chaturvedula
Narasimha Murthy Chaturvedula
CLN Murthy did his M. Tech chemical engineering in NIT Warangal and worked as Scientist in the field of Modelling & Simulation in CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad and retired.


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