The pain in the joints caused due to inflammation and swelling can be symptom of arthritis. Arthritis is a disorder of the joints which makes it difficult for the affected person to move around. Arthritis is of many types and the most common ones are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis usually occur aged people as the wear and tear of cartilage with age is the main cause for this condition. The rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disease which occurs when the immune system of the body starts to attack its own cells and tissues.
There are other factors which can trigger the condition for arthritis like abnormality in the metabolism, injury caused to the tissues in the joints, expression of some hereditary genes and bacterial and viral infections. The symptoms of most forms of arthritis include pain, stiffness, soreness and redness around the joints.
What is the role of magnesium in health?
Magnesium is an abundant element present in the body. It is an extremely important mineral and is required to carry out many important functions within the body.
It regulates the activity of enzymes within the cells of the body, the energy production, synthesis of RNA and DNA, and maintaining the balance of minerals within the body.
All these functions of magnesium are very important because they enable many bio-chemical processes to take place, maintain the energy in the body, and regulate the synthesis of new proteins in the cells to maintain a healthy cell life. It also helps in the transport and absorption of calcium and structural development of bones.
Magnesium is naturally present in many food items, available as supplements, and in some medicines like antacids and laxatives. It is present in green leafy vegetables like spinach and legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Mineral and bottled waters also provide the body its magnesium.
Hence it is very important to take magnesium as it is required to maintain the structure and function of bones, for the function of nerves and muscles, and also to reduce the amount of acidity in the stomach.
4 Benefits of Magnesium In Arthritis
Magnesium plays an important role in the functioning of the muscles. It helps in maintaining the structure of the bones and makes them strong. Hence magnesium deficiency can impact many biological processes at both cellular and molecular levels.
1. Magnesium acts as an anti-oxidant
Magnesium deficiency has been linked with the development of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can be caused by environmental factors and lifestyle.
This increase in oxidative stress leads to the progression of many diseases like arthritis. This is because oxidative stress causes tissue damage which causes inflammation in the joints and leads to arthritis.
To prevent oxidative stress to occur, anti-oxidants are used. Magnesium is considered to be an efficient anti-oxidant as it takes part in many enzymatic reactions, metabolism of energy, protein synthesis, and almost all hormonal reactions.
What does this mean?
This means that intake of appropriate amount of magnesium is necessary for preventing the progression of tissue damage and bone disorders like arthritis.
2. Magnesium is essential for calcium absorption
A deficiency in magnesium can also prevent the absorption of calcium. Calcium is necessary for the development of bones and reduces damage to the bones.
However when there is a decrease in magnesium in the body, calcium does not get absorbed and gets collected in soft tissues. This causes arthritis.
However increasing your uptake of calcium will not solve the problem. As long as there is not enough magnesium in the body, calcium will not be utilised properly.
An excess in the amount of calcium and a deficiency in magnesium also causes arthritis. Hence it is important to maintain a balance between magnesium and calcium uptake.
What does this mean?
This means that absorption of calcium is essential to prevent the progression of arthritis and to maintain the absorption of calcium by the body, it is necessary to have appropriate amounts of magnesium in the body. This is how magnesium plays a role in preventing and treating arthritis.
3. Magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties
Magnesium has anti-inflammatory properties.
According to research conducted, it has been reported that an increase in the concentration of magnesium decrease inflammation whereas when there is a deficiency in magnesium, it activates inflammatory response.
What does this mean?
This means that magnesium deficiency leads to an activation of inflammatory responses in arthritis. This becomes a hindrance for people as it leads to arthritis.
4. Magnesium can help counteract the side effects of painkillers
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which are used in arthritis to treat inflammation and pain have various side effects like heartburn and gastrointestinal ulcers.
Hence a study published in Annals of medicine investigated the effectiveness of magnesium in reducing the side effects and it was reported that magnesium supplementation reduces the side effects caused by painkillers.
Another study published in Nigerian Journal of physiological sciences evaluated the mechanism of action of magnesium in preventing the gastric ulcers in rat models.
It was reported that magnesium has anti-ulcerogenic properties by increasing the number of mucosal cells (release enzymes that prevent ulcers) and decreasing the number of parietal cells (release acid and results in ulcers).
What does this mean?
This means that magnesium is effective in reducing the side effects such as gastrointestinal ulcers and heartburn caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (painkillers) and hence can be used clinically.
Will magnesium supplementation help in arthritis?
Magnesium is extremely good for health and facilitates many biological and biochemical processes that occur in the body. Hence it is necessary to maintain the magnesium content in the body.
However by just taking magnesium supplementation, you will not get the required amount of magnesium. Taking natural dietary sources of magnesium is also very essential to get the maximum benefit.
How to include magnesium in your diet
The magnesium ion can be found in numerous food items like wheat, soya, peas, etc. the most common form in which it is found in food includes magnesium lactate, magnesium citrate and magnesium gluconate . These contents can be checked in the list of ingredients of a product on the label.
It has been reported by health specialists that refined food items like white sugar and white flour can be deficient in magnesium ions. The process used for refining these products tends to remove many important nutrients like magnesium from these items. Thus, most doctors recommend that people consume unrefined food which has a rich content of magnesium in them.
Some of the good sources for magnesium include nuts like almonds, brazil nuts and hazelnuts. Moreover, the chlorophyll (the pigment which imparts green color to leaves) containing vegetables are an excellent sources for magnesium .
Other sources include Epsom salt which is most commonly used in the form of a bath salt. This salt contains an increased content of magnesium ion in the form of magnesium sulfate. These salt crystals are used in hot bath and the magnesium is absorbed through the skin into the body. it helps in relieving pain and inflammation caused especially due to condition like arthritis .
Dosage of Magnesium For Arthritis
The magnesium ion present in food items can be taken as per requirement. However, if taken for as treatment for any medical conditions, it is always advised to consult a doctor for the recommended dosage according to the deficiency in an individual.
For adults the dosage is 300-400mg of magnesium per day. The requirement for magnesium increases during the periods of pregnancy and breast-feeding, after surgery, illnesses, and athletic training.
Although magnesium is highly beneficial for the body in several medical conditions, there are certain precautions one should take while taking it. It is not easy to have an overdose of magnesium in the diet, however, people who take supplements of magnesium can tend to take excess amount which can at times lead to vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac arrest, respiratory paralysis and in extreme cases death.
People who have kidney or heart problem are advised to consult a doctor for the amount of magnesium they should take because magnesium can affect kidney function. If the person is taking medications like antibiotic, it is recommended for that person to avoid taking magnesium at the same time as it tends to reduce the rate of absorption of some antibiotics like tetracycline.
In case the patient is on medication for diabetes, he/she should consult the doctor before taking any form of magnesium as it increases the absorptions of the medicines like glipizide and Glucotrol which control the blood sugar level.
There are number of medicines with which magnesium ion can react and interfere with their action. Thus, the person should consult the doctor before taking any form of magnesium with these medicines. The doctor might prefer the dosages so no side-effect is experienced.
In the end..
Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions which are faced by aging people around the world. the conventional drugs used for its treatment tend to be very strong and leave lasting side-effects on the body.
Magnesium is one such component which is found in many food items and has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties. It reduces the inflammation caused at the joints and eases the pain, soreness and redness around the joint to great extent.
In addition to this, it also regulates the calcium level in the body which helps in maintain bone and joint health.