Magnesium and Immune Health

Magnesium plays an important role as a cofactor in over 600 enzyme related functions in our bodies. It’s well established affects include protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. It also contributes to the structural development of bone. What I am going to bring up is new data on the role magnesium may play with immune health, as investigated due to the COVID-19 issue.

Magnesium (Mg) has a major role in cellular function. I don’t want to make this a cellular physiology class but I will discuss several examples. In nerve tissue Mg binds to receptors on the cell wall which prevent overstimulation of a nerve fiber. Overstimulation of nerves causes early cell death and possibly leads to brain damage. In a similar way Mg affects how calcium is absorbed into our cells. In fact if you have low bone density or even osteoporosis you might need to take increase you intake of Mg not calcium to promote proper calcium absorption into bone tissue.

What about immune function though? More importantly what about COVID-19. Among other things, studies have found Mg as a co-factor for immunoglobulin synthesis and T helper–B cell adherence. Immunoglobulin’s are antibodies and T-Helper B cells secrete antibodies and macrophages to destroy ingested microbes. I highlight these two things because, with regards to COVID-19, antibodies, B cells and T cells have all been identified as the process we get immunity to this virus.

Several studies have found a correlation between nutritional deficiencies and COVID risk and mortality. We have been all over the Vitamin D studies but there is more. Mg deficiency is another finding in several papers. Since the mechanism of action of Mg on immune function is known these papers and others have recommended the use of Mg to prevent and treat COVID infections. Here are three, there are more.

How should we get Mg in our diet. Here is a table for you to ponder.

AmountRDI (based on 400 mg/day)
Pumpkin seeds0.25 cup (16 grams)46%
Spinach, boiled1 cup (180 grams)39%
Swiss chard, boiled1 cup (175 grams)38%
Black beans, cooked1 cup (172 grams)30%
Flaxseeds1 ounce (28 grams)27%
Beet greens, boiled1 cup (144 grams)24%
Almonds1 ounce (28 grams)20%
Cashews1 ounce (28 grams)20%
Dark chocolate1 ounce (28 grams)16%
Avocado1 medium (200 grams)15%
Tofu3.5 ounces (100 grams)13%

What from that table do you eat on a daily basis to get your daily allowance? My guess is nothing, daily anyway, or in amounts that equal a recommended daily amount. This is why we recommend taking daily supplements. Make sure your daily supplements have enough Mg in it, otherwise add to it.

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