The adult human body contains approximately 20-30 g of magnesium with about 60% located in bone and 1,200 g of calcium, about 99% of which is present in the skeleton. Bone is constantly turning over, a continuous process of formation and resorption. In children and adolescents, the rate of formation of bone mineral predominates over the rate of resorption. In later life, resorption predominates over formation. Therefore, in normal aging, there is a gradual loss of bone. Osteoporosis, a condition of reduced bone mineral density that can increase risk of fractures, affects a large proportion of the elderly in developed countries. Caucasian and Asian women typically have low peak bone densities, and therefore, are at the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis. It is generally accepted that obtaining enough dietary calcium throughout life can significantly decrease the risk of developing osteoporosis. Among other factors, such as regular exercise, gender and race, calcium supplementation during childhood and adolescence appears to be a prerequisite for maintaining adequate bone density later in life. But even elderly osteoporotic patients can benefit significantly from dietary supplementation with those minerals important for bone function and structure, calcium and magnesium.
Magnesium is a mineral with a fundamentally important physiological function in the body. However, typical diets in the U.S. and other industrialized countries often provide less than adequate amounts of magnesium. Magnesium plays an essential role in a wide range of fundamental cellular reactions. More than 300 enzymes require magnesium as a cofactor. Complexed with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main carrier of metabolic energy in the body, magnesium is essential for all biosynthetic processes: glycolysis, formation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), energy-dependent membrane transport, transmission of genetic code for protein synthesis, and muscle function. Magnesium is also involved in maintaining already normal heart function and blood pressure.