What Does Magnesium Do in The Body?
Magnesium carbonate, also known as magnesite, is an organic magnesium salt. It’s made up of a magnesium molecule bound to three carbonate molecules, as denoted by its chemical formula MgCO3. Magnesium is an essential mineral that all cells in the human body need to function. It plays a role in over 600 biological reactions, including DNA synthesis, energy metabolism, synthesizing proteins, and more. Its role in energy metabolism is particularly notable, as every enzyme that uses or produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP) needs magnesium to function. ATP is the primary energy currency in the body, and enzymes must spend ATP to perform their chemical reactions.
Magnesium deficiencies are common worldwide, and an estimated 50% of the US population is deficient. The primary magnesium food sources include leafy green vegetables, beans, and nuts, which are noticeably lacking in typical western diets. Magnesium supplements can help alleviate any deficiencies and may provide other benefits.
Potential Benefits of Magnesium Carbonate
Magnesium Carbonate and Heartburn
Magnesium carbonate has unique properties that make it an effective antacid. It’s a common method for alleviating heartburn, acid reflux, or stomachaches caused by too much stomach acid. It works by reacting with the hydrochloric acid found in the stomach. It forms carbon dioxide and magnesium chloride to neutralize the excess acid causing the irritation.
Magnesium Carbonate and Migraines
Magnesium carbonate may provide relief from migraines. Several studies have noted the link between magnesium levels and migraine frequency. Taking magnesium supplements to address deficiencies may reduce the likelihood of migraines. Researchers believe this is because magnesium helps reduce inflammation, relax muscles, and regulate calcium ion channels to reduce the release of excitatory neurotransmitters. These effects are more noticeable in people who experience migraines with aura or premenstrual migraines.
Magnesium carbonate became a common additive to table salt in 1911 as it prevented clumping in humidity and allowed the salt to flow freely. The Morton Salt slogan, “When it rains, it pours,” is a direct reference to this property.
Athletes also use magnesium carbonate for its hygroscopic properties. It absorbs water (aka sweat) and helps keep hands dry while weightlifting, performing gymnastics, rock climbing, etc. It goes by the names of gym chalk, performance chalk, and lifting chalk.
Magnesium for Constipation
Magnesium has a long history of therapeutic use as a laxative dating back to the early 1800s. Magnesium salts also promote osmotic activity, which draws more water into the stool to soften it for easier passage and stimulates gastric motility.
Best Magnesium for Constipation
Almost all magnesium supplements can produce a laxative effect. However, magnesium hydroxide is the best option for relieving constipation.
Potential Side Effects of Magnesium Carbonate
Magnesium is an essential mineral in the body, and most individuals tolerate it well in supplement form. Some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea or diarrhea. Magnesium supplements may interact with certain medications. Individuals taking bisphosphonates and certain antibiotics should consult a physician before taking magnesium supplements. Individuals with reduced kidney function or kidney-related conditions should not take magnesium supplements.
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