Optimal - The Blog

December 2, 2022

RBC Magnesium Reflects What is in the Pantry

We know that magnesium is magnificent and affects hundreds of metabolic functions in the body, but is it getting to where it needs to be? Measuring magnesium in the blood in general can provide an idea of what is available in the area, sort of like at your local store. 

However, measuring magnesium within the cell, e.g., the red blood cell (RBC), gives us an idea of what is actually in the pantry and ready to be used.

Both values are useful for assessing magnesium status, especially since a normal serum magnesium does not necessarily rule out insufficiency. Serum levels may be maintained within normal at the expense of releasing magnesium from the bone which can then deplete skeletal magnesium. On the other hand, serum levels can increase during excess breakdown of red blood cells where magnesium concentration is usually three times that of serum.

Remember, magnesium has very important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions besides its role in over 600 enzymes. An insufficiency can lead to high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, headaches, depression, sleep disturbances, muscle cramps, impaired glucose metabolism, kidney stones, and more.

Elevated levels of magnesium are uncommon but can occur with excess intake or insufficient excretion by the kidneys. High magnesium levels can be associated with hypotension, tachycardia, muscle weakness, and even cardiac arrest.

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Tag(s): Biomarkers

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