Magnesium is an essential mineral that serves as an enzyme cofactor for over three hundred biochemical reactions in the body. The need for magnesium throughout the body is reflected in the fact that the adult human body contains a hefty 25 grams of magnesium, divided among the skeleton, muscle tissue, blood, and other areas.
Magnesium is found predominantly in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. However, the fiber, phytate or oxalate content of some of these otherwise wholesome foods makes it difficult for the body to absorb magnesium unless these foods are meticulously prepared in traditional ways that neutralize these problematic compounds. (They bind to minerals, making them less bioavailable.) Additionally, magnesium helps to balance calcium, and due to widespread calcium fortification and recommendations for high-dose calcium supplementation, many individuals may develop relative and absolute magnesium deficiencies. To help restore and maintain a healthy balance, these individuals may require more magnesium than they would typically get from whole foods alone.