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Magnesium
Recommended daily allowance: 400 mg (milligrams)

Symptoms of deficiency: Nausea, muscle weakness, irritability and electrical changes in the heart muscle, confusion and delirium.

Benefits: May help prevent heart attack. Eases PMS. Beneficial for high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, asthma and kidney stones.

Good food sources: Brown rice, avocados, spinach, haddock, oatmeal, baked potatoes, navy beans, lima beans, broccoli, yogurt, bananas, soybeans, bran, nuts.

Cautions: People with kidney or heart problems should check with their doctor before taking magnesium supplements.

Substance interactions: Decreases absorption of magnesium: vitamins A, E and K. Magnesium reduces absorption of ketoconazole and tetracycline. Vitamin D may raise magnesium level too high.

Signs of toxicity: Vomiting, extremely low blood pressure, extreme muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, heartbeat irregularity. Discontinue and consult doctor immediately.

* Very important for cell energy production. Influences calcium levels inside cells. Helps transport sodium and potassium across cell membranes. Aids bone growth.

* Helps transmit electrical impulses across nerves and muscles, which generates a neuromuscular contraction, causing your muscles to flex. Absence of magnesium will cause muscles to cramp.

* The body loses magnesium due to excessive calcium intake, stress, prescription asthma drugs, diuretics (water pills), digitalis and other cardiovascular medications, alcohol and caffeine. Diabetics lose magnesium through the kidneys.

* Several types of magnesium including gluconate, oxide, and chloride. Magnesium gluconate may be taken on an empty stomach; it is absorbed more quickly than the other forms; less may be taken due to better absorbability.

* May help in the treatment of alcoholism.

* Most diabetics are deficient in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium. These deficiencies may reflect a reduced ability to absorb and utilize nutrients.

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