Magnesium is one of the more diversely used minerals in your body. It plays a role in ion transport, which impacts your muscle function. Without enough magnesium in your body, you can suffer from symptoms that may include hand tremors.
You have about 25 grams of magnesium in your body. According to Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, magnesium is involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in your body, most of which are part of the metabolism of energy from food. Magnesium is also a structural component in bones and cell membranes, with about 60 percent of the magnesium in your body located in your skeleton. Magnesium also plays a key role in cell signaling, which helps regulate various glands and processes.
Muscles and Magnesium
One of magnesium’s key functions is its role in ion transport. Magnesium is necessary for active transport of ions — electrically charged particles — across cell membranes. One of these ions, potassium, is directly involved in the membrane potential, the system that regulates nerve signals, muscle contractions and heart function. Without magnesium to transport potassium ions across cell membranes, the whole system is disrupted. This can result in neurological and muscular symptoms, such as convulsions and muscle spasms, which can manifest as hand tremors.
A magnesium deficiency — also known as hypomagnesium — can occur for various reasons; it is not always due to a nutritional deficit. According to the National Institutes of Health, causes can include alcoholism, medications and a loss of fluid due to excessive urination, sweating or diarrhea. It can also occur because of absorption problems, such as celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Other symptoms of low magnesium include fatigue, muscle weakness, numbness, appetite loss and personality changes.
Amounts and Sources
To help prevent a magnesium deficiency from malnutrition, you should get enough magnesium in your diet. Adult males between age 19 and 30 need 420 milligrams of magnesium daily, while women need 310 milligrams. Men over age 31 need 420 milligrams and women need 320 milligrams daily. Magnesium is most abundant in green vegetables, since magnesium is a component in the green pigment chlorophyll. Whole grains and nuts are also rich in magnesium, while milk and meats contain moderate levels.