Children & magnesium
Today’s farming and agricultural practices have led to a decline in the magnesium content of foods. Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and cacao and fussy eating habits, food allergies or food intolerance's can mean a child isn’t obtaining the recommended intake of magnesium each day.
Magnesium, on its own, is poorly absorbed so is often found ‘bonded’ to an organic or inorganic substrate. Organic forms of magnesium, including magnesium amino acid chelate and magnesium citrate, are highly bioavailable and well absorbed forms of magnesium.
When magnesium is bound to an amino acid, the amino acid helps to transport the magnesium across the intestinal wall to be absorbed and digested. When magnesium is bound to citrate (citric acid) it becomes highly soluble and bioavailable, ensuring that the body is able to absorb and utilise the magnesium. Magnesium citrate also has the added benefit of being able to be absorbed in a very wide pH range in the digestive tract, compared to other forms of magnesium that need a very low pH range to be absorbed. Magnesium is an essential nutrient involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body and is required for:
Magnesium supports energy production in children and is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats to produce energy. Between the age of three years old and middle adolescence, the body uses approximately 1%-2% of energy requirements for growth alone. Both magnesium and citrate from magnesium citrate are involved in energy production with citrate forming part of the Kreb's cycle, producing energy for every cell in the body.
Nervous system health
Magnesium supports healthy nervous system and brain function in children and is required for nerve conduction and modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis supporting a healthy stress response in the body.
Magnesium supports muscle health and muscle contraction function in children. Around 50-60% of all magnesium in the body is found in the skeleton, with the remainder found in soft tissue, primarily muscle. It’s estimated that between 25%-40% of normally developing children experience muscle discomfort, particularly in the legs during periods of rapid growth. This occurs as long bones grow and skeletal alignment is altered, requiring the muscles to grow, stretch and accommodate these bodily changes, putting extra force on muscle fibres. Adequate levels of magnesium can assist with cellular functioning and the relaxation of smooth muscle during periods of rapid growth.
Magnesium assists healthy bone development and growth and supports bone mineralisation in children. Up to 60% of total body magnesium stores reside in bone, which serves as a reservoir of magnesium, which can be released from bone to maintain extracellular concentrations when magnesium intake is low.
In a study of 63 healthy children aged 4 to 8 years, an isotope study of magnesium absorption measured bone mineral content in each of the subjects. Results showed the amount of magnesium consumed and absorbed were key predictors of the level of bone in children, even more so than calcium (Abrams, 2014).
Magnesium supports healthy teeth in children due to its role in the formation of hard tooth enamel.