A mineral involved in many processes in the body including nerve signaling, the building of healthy bones, and normal muscle contraction. Magnesium is contained in all unprocessed foods. High concentrations of magnesium are found in nuts, unmilled grains and legumes such as peas and beans. Magnesium deficiency can occur due to inadequate intake or impaired intestinal absorption of magnesium. It is often associated with low calcium (hypocalcemia) and low potassium (hypokalemia). Deficiency of magnesium causes increased irritability of the nervous system with tetany (spasms of the hands and feet, muscular twitching and cramps, spasm of the larynx, etc.). According to the National Academy of Sciences, the Recommended Dietary Allowances of magnesium are 420 milligrams per day for men and 320 milligrams per day for women. The upper limit of magnesium as supplements is 350 milligrams daily, in addition to the magnesium from food and water. Persons with impaired kidney function should be especially careful about their magnesium intake because they can accumulate magnesium, a dangerous situation.
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An alkaline earth element, atomic no. 12, atomic wt. 24.3050, that oxidizes to magnesia; a bioelement, many salts have clinical applications. [Mod. L. fr. G. Magnesia, a region in Thessaly]
- m. aluminum silicate an antacid. SYN: aluminum m. silicate.
- m. bacteriopheophytinate bacteriochlorophyll.
- m. benzoate has been used in gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
- m. carbonate used in gastric and intestinal acidity and as a laxative.
- m. chloride has been used as a laxative.
- m. citrate a laxative; usually administered as an effervescent flavored beverage.
- effervescent m. citrate m. carbonate, citric acid, sodium bicarbonate, and sugar, moistened with alcohol, passed through a sieve, and dried to a coarse granular powder; used as a laxative.
- effervescent m. sulfate effervescent Epsom salt; m. sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, tartaric acid, and citric acid, moistened, passed through a sieve, and dried to a coarse granular powder; a purgative.
- m. oxide used as an antacid and laxative. SYN: calcined magnesia, magnesia.
- m. peroxide decomposes in water to hydrogen peroxide; used as an ingredient in dentifrices and in antiseptic dusting powder.
- m. phytinates chlorophyll a and b. See entries under chlorophyll.
- m. salicylate a sodium-free salicylate derivative with anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic actions; used for relief of mild to moderate pain.
- m. stearate a compound of m. with variable proportions of stearic and palmitic acid s; used in the preparation of tablets, as a lubricant, and as an ingredient in some baby powders.
- m. sulfate active ingredient of most natural laxative waters; used as a promptly acting cathartic in certain poisonings, in the treatment of increased intracranial pressure and edema, as an anticonvulsant in eclampsia (when administered intravenously), and as an anti-inflammatory (when applied locally). SYN: Epsom salts.
- tribasic m. phosphate tertiary m. phosphate, it is used as an antacid but it does not produce systemic alkalization; 1 g is equivalent in neutralizing power to about 0.46 g of sodium bicarbonate.
- m. trisilicate a compound of m. oxide and silicon dioxide with varying proportions of water; occurs in nature as meerschaum, pararepiolite, and repiolite; a gastric antacid.

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mag·ne·sium mag-'nē-zē-əm, -zhəm n a silver-white light malleable ductile metallic element that occurs abundantly in nature (as in bones and seeds and in the form of chlorophyll in the green parts of plants) and is used in metallurgical and chemical processes, in photography, in signaling, and in the manufacture of pyrotechnics because of the intense white light it produces on burning, and in construction esp. in the form of light alloys symbol Mg see ELEMENT (table)

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a metallic element essential to life. The body of an average adult contains about 25 g of magnesium, concentrated mostly in the bones. Magnesium is necessary for the proper functioning of muscle and nervous tissue. It is required as a cofactor for approximately 90 enzymes. A good source of magnesium is green leafy vegetables. Symbol: Mg.

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mag·ne·si·um (Mg) (mag-neґze-əm) [L.] a light, silvery, metallic element; atomic number 12, atomic weight 24.312, specific gravity 1.74. Its salts are essential in nutrition, being required for the activity of many enzymes, especially those concerned with oxidative phosphorylation. It is a component of both intra- and extracellular fluids and is excreted in the urine and feces. The serum level is approximately 2 mEq/liter. Deficiency causes irritability of the nervous system with tetany, vasodilation, convulsions, tremors, depression, and psychotic behavior. Excessive amounts can be toxic; see hypermagnesemia.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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