Magnesium’s Chemical Composition and Related Properties

Magnesium has the atomic number 12 with 12 protons and approximately 12 neutrons inside its shell, surrounded by 12 electrons orbiting in three shells, with two valence electrons. 

  • The atomic weight of magnesium is 24.3050. 
  • Magnesium’s outer shell has only two electrons out of the ordinary eight, making it highly reactive. It cannot be found in nature as an independent compound. In seawater, for example, it is found as the salt Magnesium Chloride, comprised of one magnesium cation and two chloride anions. 
  • On the periodic table, magnesium is known as an alkaline earth metal. Other alkaline earth metals include calcium, beryllium, barium, strontium, and radium. Strontium and radium are radioactive metals, particularly dangerous to the body because their similarity to calcium and magnesium can lead to their uptake and absorption 

Magnesium in the Body: 

There are about 4-6 teaspoons of magnesium in the human body. (6) 

Magnesium is the second most abundant positively charged intracellular (inside the cells) ion in the body. Other positively charged cations found in the body include calcium, sodium, and potassium. Negatively charged anions include phosphate and chloride. 

Only 1% of totally body magnesium is found in the blood, the remainder is found in the bone and inside the cells of the muscles, heart and liver. 

The cells of a healthy heart contain ten times the amount of magnesium found in blood. (7) 

50-60% of body magnesium is incorporated into the crystal mineral lattice of bones and teeth. (8) 

Magnesium absorption occurs in the small intestine and begins as early as 1 hour after ingestion in the jejunum, but primarily occurs in the ileum, or “distal” intestine. (9) 

References for: What is Magnesium? / Forms of magnesium / Why we need it Part II-”Magnesium Facts and Information” / “Magnesium’s Chemical Composition and Related Properties” 

(6) Arnaud M. Update on the assessment of magnesium status. The British Journal Of Nutrition. June 2008; 99 Suppl 3:S24-S36. Available from: MEDLINE with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed February 3, 2010. 

(7) Gaby A. Magnesium: How an important mineral helps prevent heart attacks and relieve stress. New Canaan, CT: Keats 

Publishing; 1994. 

(8) World Health Organization. Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water: Public health significance. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2009. 

(9) Bohn T. Dietary Factors Influencing Magnesium Absorption in Humans. Current Nutrition & Food Science. 2008;4:53- 72.

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