Home Blog Under the MAGnifying Glass: Exploring the Wonders of Magnesium

Under the MAGnifying Glass: Exploring the Wonders of Magnesium

Under the MAGnifying Glass: Exploring the Wonders of Magnesium

In this article, we're examining magnesium – where it comes from, how it helps our body, why magnesium supplements are so valuable and the unique impact of ICL's high purity magnesium solutions.

In order for the human body to function – or any organism, for that matter – it needs to receive several key elements. One of these elements is magnesium (Mg), which is located in mineral deposits in the earth's crust. Magnesium is provided to us via the water we drink and the food we eat. Once magnesium enters our body, it is stored primarily in our bones but also in our muscle cells and blood.

Why is magnesium so important? First of all, magnesium actively helps the body perform hundreds of enzymatic functions that are essential to its survival. These include muscle relaxation, blood pressure regulation, bone strengthening and protein development. Magnesium is also crucial to our DNA and RNA stability, nervous system functions and our ability to generate energy. These functions are carried out by enzymes, which require magnesium as a cofactor to successfully complete their catalytic tasks. 

"Magnesium can be viewed as a 'balance keeper' among the 40 minerals that are imperative for human health", says Muki Cohen, Sales & Marketing Manager at ICL's Industrial Products (IP) Division. "Let's take magnesium's interaction with calcium within the muscle cell framework as an example. Magnesium, which is located inside the cells, helps keep the muscle relaxed and helps prevent calcification even when calcium levels are relatively high."  

Magnesium deficiency

The average adult human has approximately 25 grams of magnesium in his or her body, which is obtained primarily through water derived from natural resources and food originating from soil-based agriculture. Many common foods are excellent sources of magnesium – certain nuts and legumes, leafy vegetables, whole grains and animal-based protein. 

Although magnesium is easily available, approximately 50% of the population may suffer from magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency can occur due to lower intakes of water and foods with magnesium, or certain medical conditions. For example, regular consumption of desalinated water – which contain very little magnesium – may lead to magnesium deficiency. The same can be said of consumption of agricultural products grown via desalinated water irrigation, or a diet based on processed foods rather than natural produce. 

Magnesium deficiency can have serious implications. Immediate symptoms may include fatigue, constipation, appetite loss and muscle cramps. Possible long-term effects may include heart abnormalities, high blood pressure, memory loss, headaches on a regular basis and the aggravation of diabetic conditions. When it comes to low magnesium levels, aging and elderly populations are more at risk than younger populations. 

Magnesium supplements

The recommended daily intake of magnesium varies according to age and gender. According to the National Institute of Health, 420 mg is the recommended daily intake for men over the age of 30, and 320 mg is the recommended daily intake for women over 30.

In most cases, satisfactory magnesium levels can be achieved by making conscious daily diet decisions. That said, many people find it extremely helpful to increase their daily intake through oral supplements. Magnesium supplement tablets are available just about anywhere supplements are sold, and can be purchased in many compound formulations, including magnesium oxide, magnesium malate, magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate. 

There are several key parameters one has to take into consideration when choosing a magnesium supplement. For example, different magnesium supplement formulations are optimal for treating specific symptoms, while not fitting other conditions. Another important factor is magnesium absorption in the body – every formulation absorbs differently, and opinions vary as to which magnesium formulation has the best absorption characteristics. The amount of elemental magnesium bound to a specific compound, element or citric acid within the formulation is yet another factor worth considering.

Choosing the right form of magnesium supplement is not a clear-cut affair. Rather, it is an ongoing discussion, with many different opinions. While there is a consensus that different formulations fit different symptoms and conditions, comparing magnesium supplements in terms of overall effectiveness often leads to heated debates. 

ICL & Dead Sea magnesium

Since magnesium is designated for human consumption, purity is another key trait that carries extreme significance. Magnesium sourced from the earth and seawater has varying purity levels; when purity is high, the magnesium inside the different supplement formulations is considered safer and more impactful.  

Locating and sourcing high purity magnesium can be rather complicated. But certain reservoirs, which are known for their high concentration of natural minerals, happen to contain vast amounts of high purity magnesium chloride. One prominent example is the Dead Sea. 

ICL manufactures a wide range of magnesium solutions based on minerals sourced from Dead Sea brine, including high-quality magnesium chloride. This magnesium chloride serves as the basis for Dead Sea-based magnesium compounds for supplement tablets, which are highly coveted due to their high purity levels and low lead and heavy metal content. 

The Dead Sea's special characteristics are extremely advantageous in terms of high purity. Yet ICL's pursuit of excellence doesn't stop with location. It also includes the production process.     

"At ICL, we convert Dead Sea magnesium chloride into magnesium compounds via a high heat decomposition reactor process", says Muki Cohen. "By using this process instead of chemical precipitation, we are able to maintain the mineral's high purity characteristics and create a unique morphology that is optimized for the human body. Furthermore, this process is aligned with sustainable standards."

Magnesium matters

Today, Magnesium's natural positive impact on the human body is finally getting everyone's attention. Focused on bringing high purity solutions to individuals worldwide, ICL is utilizing its unique scientific know-how to expand its magnesium operations into novel areas such as cosmetics, skincare and agriculture. 

"There's very little limit to the good that high-purity magnesium can do in terms of health", says Cohen. "We are currently engaged in a multitude of research projects that will help pave the way for additional groundbreaking magnesium-based solutions. Our goal is to create positive ripple effects across numerous industries, including the incredibly diverse global mineral supplement industry. We are invested in magnesium and its health benefits, and look forward to the future." 

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