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Magnesium is an important mineral involved in a wide variety of body processes and functions. Not only is it essential for energy production and protein formation but it also helps maintain strong bones and a healthy heart. Magnesium also works with calcium and potassium to transmit nerve signals and facilitate muscle contraction.

Food sources
The mineral magnesium can be found in red meat, tofu, spinach, beans and pulses. Nuts, seeds and wholemeal bread are also good sources of magnesium.

Daily requirement
The European Commission RDA for magnesium is 300mg for both men and women. The UK daily requirement is slightly lower for women at 270mg. In the United States, the recommended daily intake of magnesium is 400mg for both men and women.

Deficiency
Failure to consume enough magnesium from your food is unlikely. However, magnesium deficiency can be caused by excessive vomiting, kidney disease, diuretic medication, alcohol abuse, and anything else that inhibits the absorption of nutrients.

A lack of magnesium in the body will cause levels of calcium to fall, and eventually result in an adverse effect on the circulatory system and the production of blood cells. A magnesium deficiency can be extremely serious, particularly if left untreated. Initial symptoms of weakness, loss of appetite and impaired speech can lead to anemia, heart problems, convulsions and even death.

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