From breathing problems to nervous agitation, many children in the US suffer from ailments for which there are no easily discernible causes. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that 8.3 million children suffer from respiratory allergies. And as many as 1 in 10 kids wrestle with some sort of anxiety disorder, according to the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health. There may be a unifying factor behind all these maladies – a lack of magnesium.
Magnesium is recognized for being calcium’s partner in building strong bones. But that’s only one of the functions performed by magnesium, which is involved in more than 300 metabolic processes.
Most bodily energy production runs through a molecule called ATP in a complex arrangement of chemical pathways. This system requires magnesium to run smoothly.
Besides helping produce the energy muscles need to move, magnesium is also a part of the mechanism that allows them to contract and relax. In fact, this mineral is one of the first nutrients recommended by practitioners to people who suffer from frequent muscle cramps. This effect extends to the muscle cells within arterial walls, making magnesium crucial to proper circulation and blood pressure control.
Nerves also rely on magnesium, which helps receptors on the surface of brain cells operate correctly. In addition, magnesium helps regulate inflammation, is a cofactor in more than 100 enzymes involved in blood sugar regulation and may even promote wound healing.
Many foods contain useful amounts of magnesium, especially beans, seeds, nuts and leafy greens – foods that a lot of children (and adults, for that matter) don’t like to eat. As a result, “dietary surveys of people in the United States consistently show that intakes of magnesium are lower than recommended amounts,” according to the National Institute of Health.
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